News letter 7th June

Message from Rev John Izzard

Edging out of lockdown is bringing with it mixed emotions of both excitement and apprehension. On the one hand, families and friends are now able to meet up – but within the limited number and of course the need to be socially distanced. The joy of reunion is so evident! On the other hand, the continued uncertainty of venturing out and moving back into a new normality and new reality brings with it a sense of anxiety. This is completely understandable. I am sure that many of us might identify with this. It’s reassuring to know that you are not alone! 

In the Gospel of John, chapter 14 and verses 15-17: Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit comes as our comforter, to draw alongside us and be with us whatever situation we may be facing. As we explored last week at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit brings so much more. He promises to equip us, to empower us, to enable us and to refresh us. As we celebrate Trinity Sunday today, I pray that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, will richly bless you all.  Rev John Izzard

  A Prayer 
I hand over to your care Lord my soul and body, my prayers and my hopes
 My health and my work, my life and my death,
My parents and my family, my friends and my neighbours,
My country and all men, women and children, today and always.

Giving   We encourage you to consider setting up a standing order while we can’t meet. (email Graham for details on Alternatively you may wish to put an offering aside each week and add it all as a lump sum all in one go when we eventually meet again. Feel free to use this prayer while you do so:
‘Father, we thank you for all your goodness to us. Please accept this contribution as part of my worship. Guide those who administer it in order that it can be used for Your purposes. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done. Amen’

Pray for our YOUNG PEOPLE
Sunday: That the young people may connect with God in a new and powerful way 
Monday: The RS2 group that meet each week that they would continue to find community despite these times 
Tuesday: For those struggling with school work that they would trust that God has a plan for them and this season wouldn’t hold them back from this
Wednesday: Weekly mentoring – for those who find it hard at home 
Thursday: For the parents of our Rock Solid groups – that the work their children are doing in the activity pack would filter to them as well! 
Friday: Catalyst – that this would go well and would reach some young people we have not been able to contact
Saturday: For all the social media posts that YFC have been sending out – that these may produce community, connectedness and fruit! 

The Sunday after Pentecost is celebrated in many churches as Trinity Sunday.  Puzzles on the Trinity are not easy to make up, so here are some groups of three words, BUT the middle one is missing each time.  Find a word which can both follow the first word and precede the second.

Example:  Paul – Fargo  (Answer: Wells). 
Many of the words are connected with our church.  Answers next week.

1. Communion – football    6. Methodist – mouse11. Holy – end 
2. Dennis – George 7. Anneli – phone12. Dylan – bear
3. Sunday – uniform   8. Gunville – sweeper     13. Advent – best 
4. Music – still  9. Ruth – Men     14. Tele – charger
5. Simple – Judah   
10. Rich – pot   
15. Notice – room 

Chuckle with Ken.
A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich. The barman looks at him and says, “Hang on! You’re a duck”  “I see your eyes are working” replies the duck. 
“And you can talk!” exclaims the barmen. “I see your ears are working too” says the duck. “Now if you don’t mind, can I have my beer and sandwich please?” “Certainly, sorry about that” says the barman as he pulls the duck’s pint. “It’s just that we don’t get many ducks in this pub. What are you doing round this way?” “I’m working on the building site across the road” explains the duck. “I’m a plasterer.”

The flabbergasted barman cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it.
So the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves. The same thing happens every day for two weeks.

Then one day the circus comes to town. The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the barman says to him “You’re with the circus aren’t you? Well I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!” “Sounds marvellous”, says the ringmaster handing over his business card.“Get him to give me a call”

So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says, “Hey Mr Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money.” I’m always looking for the next job,” says the duck. “Where is it?” “At the circus,” says the barman “At the circus,” repeats the duck“ That’s right,” replies the barman “The circus?” the duck asks again. “That place with the big tent?”
“Yes”, the barman replies “With all the animals who live in cages, and the performers who live in caravans?  “Of course,” the barman replies “And the tent has canvas sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?” “That’s right!” says the barman. The duck shakes his head in amazement and says…..“What in the world would they want with a plasterer??!”

Happy Birthday to Martin and Lexi on Tuesday 9th June. Let’s all pray for them on their special day

Dr Ruth Valerio and Gideon Heugh explore the questions that Christians might be wrestling with during the coronavirus crisis. (Dr Ruth Valerio is a theologian, environmentalist and author, and leads Tearfund’s global advocacy and influencing work. Gideon Heugh is a poet and naturalist and is the Senior Copywriter in Tearfund’s communications team.)

Why is this happening?
To answer this question, we need to go back to the beginning. 
God created a world that he declared to be very good (Genesis 1:31) – a world in which everything exists in harmony with God. Relationship with God, with others, with ourselves and with the rest of creation is central to God’s loving purposes. 
After those relationships go wrong, the Bible then tells the story of how God works to restore them – a plan that finds its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus.
Poverty, conflict, suffering, climate change – all these are the result of those broken relationships. The Bible is clear that God, people and the natural world are deeply interconnected, so if one aspect of that is broken then everything will be impacted. 
As hard as it is to hear, the outbreak of coronavirus is not a ‘natural disaster’. It is a disaster of our own making. Viruses jump species and get into humans, and environmental destruction makes this more likely to happen as people are brought into closer contact with virus-carrying animals. Deforestation, mining, animal trafficking and unsustainable farming practices are all likely factors at play.

Is this God’s judgement? God’s original intention was peace between all things – but this is not how we’re living. He created a world in which everything is connected, and there are natural consequences when those connections are broken.  
This doesn’t necessarily mean that God ‘caused’ or ‘willed’ the pandemic – it is to recognise that the brokenness of creation ultimately causes us harm.
In some cultures, misfortune is seen as directly linked to that person’s sin. But biblically, these links are rarely as simple as that. For example, in the story of Job, Job’s suffering is not a result of his sin, but of the existence and work of Satan. 
In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus is told about Pilate’s massacre of some Galileans who were in the process of offering sacrifices. He responds by pointing out that those who were killed were not greater sinners than those who were not killed. And he makes the same point about the people who were killed when the tower in Siloam collapsed. 

Jesus is clear that the existence of disasters doesn’t mean that those who are affected by them are worse people than anybody else. Such events should never be an invitation to judge others.

Raising up a New Generation of Wesleys
That is the title of a new video MET produced for the Cliff College Festival @ Home seminar stream. The main content of the video is an inspiring interview with Nicky Gumbel (from 7 mins in to 20 mins), in which he compares ‘Alpha’ with Wesley’s class system. Click on this link to watch the video From 20 mins you can hear from Carolyn Lawrence (Vice-President Designate) on church growth. (Her husband, Rev Mark Lawrence ministered on the Isle of Wight some years back)

Some Isolated Thoughts
Flicking about on iPlayer for “Songs of Praise” I came across “Sunday Morning Stories” presented by Rev Kate Bottley, with uplifting stories of people making a new start.  Well worth seeing: BBC1 at 11.30 on Sunday, or on iPlayer.

Martin and I have been shown many kindnesses during lockdown: our paperboy taking messages to True Wight News; telephone calls every week to see if we needed shopping; treats of oranges; after speaking to a neighbour (suitably distanced) about the shortage of eggs, a box appeared in the garden; after mentioning on the phone to another neighbour that one of our tomato plants had died, within minutes there was a knock at the door, and tomato plants had arrived.

The hand-clapping has now stopped around us, and a family on the other side of Gunville Road said they would miss the smiles, chat and laughter: a cup of tea and cake for all of us, I think, when it is safe again.

Let me not forget groceries and medication delivered, letters and parcels, and lots of phone calls and emails from the island and the mainland.

Finally, the NHS has been second to none: a 20-minute call from a Southampton department; blood tests, with the results the next day; calls from physiotherapy asking how I was getting on, offering a home visit and a reassessment, and asking about shopping.

Thank you all.  Keep well, safe and sane.  God bless you all.  

Please send any contributions that might be published, by next Wednesday, to Andy by email  or ring