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Return to NormalHope Springs Eternal. Newsletter No 37 - 12th April 2021

Time to return to normal!

When we started the circulation of this style of Newsletter thirteen months ago, little did any of us know what the following year had waiting for us. There have been many false dawns; didn’t we all think that it would be over by August and I distinctly remember the Prime Minister urging office-based workers to return to their places of work at the beginning of September and the less said about Christmas the better! Here we are halfway through April and just beginning to emerge from the longest lockdown in what for many has been a depressing few winter months.

By the end of the month, the majority of our church congregation will have received their second vaccination and will have built up resistance to the virus to enable them to begin a return to normal activities and once more socialise with others. I suspect that there will be some who will still be reluctant to return to a ‘normal’ way of life and we may find that some people’s routine will have been changed forever!

We as a church believe that for the benefit of both individuals and the church, we must start to return to normal so hopefully more of those members who have felt unable to attend church will feel more confident about doing so during the coming weeks.
Attendance at present relies on what has been described as a ‘faith-based booking system’. By that we mean that following a risk assessment, which considered the size of the building and the need to maintain social distancing, we have limited attendance to 27 people. We have never reached that number though we have been close on a couple of Sundays. If we did reach that number, then we have overflow facilities in the hall to which the service will be relayed.

Inside Church
These arrangements will remain in place until at least the 21stJune. On that date or shortly after, it is hoped that most if not all restrictions will be lifted and then we can return to more normal worship and we may be able to sing! Also, under consideration, during the summer months, is to have coffee after church on the lawn at the side of church. No decision has yet been made on the resumption of weekday church activities such as the ‘Bible Study Group’, ‘Keep Fit Group’, ‘Coffee and Conversation’ and Choir; we will let you know what these groups decide.

Resuming normal services in a church like ours after going through such a disjointed period is unlikely to prove easy. Firstly, preachers booked for services. We will have all been aware that the number of itinerant preachers has been steadily reducing for some time, the past twelve months is only likely to accelerate the process. At present we are only able to appoint preachers to the plan for the immediate future, month by month. This means that the majority of services for the foreseeable future will be taken either by myself, Sue, Frank, and Ray when he is able to travel.

A second area of concern is church stewarding. We do not know how many members of our previous stewarding team will be available when we resume ‘normal services’. If you have been a steward up to the time of pandemic you will be contacted shortly so we can know of your situation and availability. There is however the opportunity for others who have not previously considered being a church steward to offer their services. Finance is another area of concern and the next Newsletter will provide a report on our current situation.

Although the pandemic has had a number of negative impacts on church life, there has been some positives. One has been for those members of our fellowship who have previously been unable to attend normal service and who now receive a copy of services on either a CD or memory stick. This will continue. Other benefits have been the use of ‘Zoom Meetings’ that has enabled those living in Wales, Devon, Leigh and Penketh to join us and frequently lead our worship. Using Zoom Meetings has also made it possible to hold church quizzes, ‘Tuesday at 8’, the Lent studies and the new initiative of ‘Welcome Wednesday’. Over the coming months we will be exploring how to best use modern technology for the benefit of the church and its members in the long term.

Finally, I would like to thank all those individuals who have kept our church together over the past year. In particular I would like to thank Brenda, Anne, and Godfrey in the roles they have fulfilled tirelessly. This brings me to the Newsletter which all three have played a part in either its production or distribution. As from the next issue, it will revert back to a monthly issue for at least the summer months. Distribution method will however remain unchanged, by email and paper copies.

Church Services
Sunday 18th April at 10.30 – Susan McArthur
Sunday 25th April at 10.30 – Lester Atherton (Risley IM Church)
Sunday 2nd May at 10.30 – Fellowship led Worship
Sunday 9th May at 10.30 – Rob Brooks
Sunday 16th May at 10.30 – Andy Hunter (Tyldesley IM Church)

Open Bible
Bible Thoughts. This week Roy asks us to consider Hebrews 1: 1-3. Those words define the risen Jesus in heaven. Reflect on how Jesus is our Prophet, Priest and King and consider how he exercises those roles within our own lives.

Warrington Foodbank.
We are continuing to collect items for the Warrington Foodbank. Items currently in short supply are, tinned rice pudding, tinned potatoes, cream crackers, tinned meat(hot), corned beef, Angel Delight, custard, potato mash, tinned fruit, fish / meat paste, jelly, cat food. If you wish to donate any of the above or other items via church, please advise you cluster leader, Anne or Brenda. Collection can be arranged.

Recipe Book
Church Recipe Book.

Are you a fan of ‘Bake Off’, ‘Master Chef’, ’Celebrity Best Home Cook’ or do you have your own ‘go to’ recipes that have been handed down from family and friends? We are looking for favourite recipes which are quick and easy to prepare, do not cost a fortune and do not require lots of preparation and pots and pans. They can be sweet, savoury, snacks, teatime treats, in fact anything that you enjoy cooking or baking and would like to share. Perhaps you have a recipe for a homemade beauty treatment, tonic or even a useful way of cleaning household items which could be included.
We are compiling a booklet of recipes to raise funds for Church. This will only be successful if we share our recipes, so please send us your favourites, either by email or handwritten and passed to your cluster leader or dictated by phone. We also need a title for our booklet, so suggestions please. All responses to Anne or Kath please.

Nuisance Telephone Calls.

During the pandemic, the number of telephone and email scams have greatly increased with older people being seen as the most vulnerable and easy targets. A number of people have raised concerns about the number of scam phone calls they have been receiving and how they feel threatened by them. Besides being a nuisance in themselves, they do present a genuine threat as the perpetrators are experts at conning people either out of money or information.

Now you can stop all those irritating calls by simply purchasing a ‘Nuisance Call Blocking’ telephone. A single phone costs less than £50 and is recommended if you wish to avoid such calls. The only other things that you will require is the enabling of Caller Display on your landline and an hour of your time to input the numbers of family, friends, and essential services such as doctors, chemist etc. If you need further info contact Rob.
"Be joyful, keep the faith, do the little things” – St. David