Goodness! Isn’t praying difficult in these strange times? Or is it just me? (Angela). Some of us have all the time in the world to pray, others who are home working, home schooling, home shopping haven’t got a minute. And then, when you do pray the list seems endless – the NHS and all the care workers, the binmen, postal workers, teachers, people in hospital, bereaved families, my family, my church family, – oh Lord, I must’ve forgotten so many, and when will it all end? It’s overwhelming and despairing, and honestly, it’s getting me down.
Then I remembered something I learned years ago, and it’s been so comforting that I want to share it with you, and it can take as long as you like or just a minute or two. Find a quiet place to sit down (and yes, if you got a family, it might have to be the bathroom!), relax, close your eyes, slow your breathing down. Then as you breathe in, in your head, say ‘JE’, as you breathe out – ‘SUS’. Repeat, nice and slowly – focussing on that one word, ‘JESUS’. Imagine resting your head on Jesus’ shoulder, and feel his arm around you. Stay with him for as long as you need to. In those few precious moments, as Jesus gives you a cuddle and fills you with his love and peace, he takes away with him all the worries and cares in your heart. As Phil reminded us in his talk on Sunday morning, it’s so easy to forget, or be able to imagine, how much God loves us. He also knows all the concerns we have without trying to put them into words. So that’s how I spend my prayer time now, I hope you find it helpful too.
Over the last few weeks, it has been very interesting talking to people still working and those who are not, to hear just how busy many of us are. Those who are still working are having to ensure that they are able to do their work effectively, whilst getting used to new methods of communication.
The cartoon (thank you Gay Riley) illustrates this very well! The increased demands upon the internet can make this unpredictable to say the least and not all of us have access to the newest and fastest technologies. Added to that some families with children needing to use the internet
for school work are having to timetable computer usage as they have only one computer to share between them all.
Ali has been contacted by Nigel Hardiman who lives in Totley Hall Croft. He has set up a What’s App group called S17 Connected. The aim is to bring folk together and hopefully offer a little assurance that there are people close by willing to help if it is needed or perhaps just someone who will have a chat. It covers just a small area of Totley (about 150 homes) but if you live within the area of this map and would like to join please get in touch with Ali who has all the details. (Please don’t ask to be part of this if you do not live in this specific area)
You may like to be aware that there is now a dedicated service for people that live in, or are registered with a GP in, South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) and Bassetlaw who have been bereaved during the COVID-19 period. The service is for people aged 11+. Listening Ear — a bereavement counselling service for South Yorkshire You can find the service here https://listening- ear.co.uk/refer/
We hope you have been able to join our Sunday Worship at: https://www.allsaintstotley.church/category/vchurch/
If for any reason you are not able to access the internet or this is difficult you may be interested in this:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has launched a free national phone line as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus. Daily Hope, which is available from today, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind. A section called Hymn Line offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled ‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection and is based on an initiative by the Connections group Archbishop Justin said: “With many in our country on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.
“The Daily Hope service will allow people to hear hymns, prayers and words that offer comfort and hope, especially in this Easter season. I want to urge people to spread the news about this service. If there is someone you know who is particularly struggling, give them a call and let them know about the Daily Hope. I’m going to phone a friend; will you join me?”
This week I have been celebrating because it was my niece’s sixteenth birthday. We had a
little party with pizza, cake and champagne. When I go for my walk, I enjoy listening to the birds singing
and I enjoy looking at the lovely blossom trees. “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee, how great
Thou art…” How great you are Lord. Your love is stronger than any virus.
Take Care, love Amy
Following the Queen’s televised broadcast, the next day I received an email from my Austrian friend saying how wonderful she was especially for her age and that he enjoyed seeing her. How great that we
share her not just with the commonwealth but with much of the world too!
Rainbows have continued to appear on the roads, pavements as well as windows. There is also a crocheted one fixed to the upright sign for Ackley Bank, and beside it, the laurel bush is filled with similar
colourful flowers and NHS sign.
When we all go out and clap each Thursday, it is a good time to see neighbours who live a little further away, and I was pleased to see one who I had not seen since well before Christmas who had been
receiving treatment for throat cancer. He was able to tell me that he had just that week received the “all clear.” So good to hear. The family knew I had been praying. These events with neighbours give an increasing camaraderie with those we had not known before. Friends elsewhere have also mentioned this.
The wonderful sunrise early on Easter Day seems a distant memory, but the photo I took and shared with friends including those in 10 different countries again emphasised our oneness as they responded. Monday, bin men day and last week up Grove Road was an A4 notice thanking the bin men for what they do, on one gate. This week it has been upgraded by a really big professional notice thanking them and all other key workers, with little pictures.
London marathon day which wasn’t, was marked by Sally Rhodes and 6 others on Sheards Close, doing a marathon there as a relay and using that as a fund-raiser so charities would not miss out. On St George’s day Sally and David become grandparents for a second time, to Andy and Ciara’s little
boy, Theodore. Lovely news, but sad that they cannot go and see him in life!
I baked three little buns and gave them to a family I have started to chat with as we perambulate, and received a wonderful thank you card from the four year old with pictures telling an amazing imaginary story, about a pig, a mouse and a birthday cake (which her mother explained inside the card for me!) It quite took me back to over 20 years ago when I worked in school! I still miss the little people, but not the government inspired.
And finally, we know that many of you are unable to get out of your home and garden due to shielding or self-isolating. Speaking to some of you the thing many of you are missing is the ability to walk in the surrounding woods and fields. This time of year, is particularly beautiful especially living as we do in “rural suburbia”. We thought you might like to see a few images of Totley taken this week (before the rain). We hope you enjoy them.
Liz and Angela.