An Update From Fr Martin - 26th March

If you are feeling frightened by what the world is facing at the moment, and if the latest announcements scare you, that’s totally understandable.  Fear is deeply human and an incredibly important emotion.  We use it to make ourselves do things out of the ordinary in order to protect ourselves and those we love.  So use your fear - but don't let it use you.  If we don't recognise, understand and respond appropriately to fear then we end up acting irrationally, and that can, and will, make things worse.  Breathe deeply and check how you're feeling.

We believe in, and follow someone, who said on many occasions, "Don't be afraid."  He also promised that He was with us.  He made us, even our ability to be afraid and frightened.  He made us able to recognise and use that fear in such a way that we don't need to live 'afraid'.  We have wonderful abilities within ourselves to choose healthy ways to act when we're afraid.  Let's exercise that God-given ability.

Our times have been described as like shifting sands but I hope you feel a little more stability as time goes on and we get used to a different way of living.  As a church community we have been busy, co-ordinating our response to what is happening in our country at the moment.  We have mobilised our troops, as it were, and are providing the support which was set out in my emails last week.  This seems to have been well received and I hope you won’t hesitate to make use of what we offer.

For spiritual support, our first weekly broadcast service went out last Sunday and was listened to by a good number of people.  The next service will be available from 8am on Sunday and remain online for the next week.  Although all church buildings are now closed for private prayer as well as public worship, let me assure you that I continue to pray daily in the Vicarage for everyone in the Parish.  There are also links to prayer and bible study resources on the parish website, www.stmarksreigate.co.uk/ useful-resources/other-spiritual-resources

For many, there will be savings through not having the opportunity to go shopping for non-essentials, on holiday, or out for meals and entertainment.  I would encourage those who are on a fixed income, to continue paying the likes of your cleaner, gardener or dog-walker, even if they are unable to attend to your needs.  The self-employed seem to be the hardest hit and at the time of writing no financial help has been offered to them.  As so many are calling for help, it is likely there will be some support, but I imagine it will be very complicated and take some time before any money comes through.  I have made provision for this in my own household.

It is admirable that the Government has made such provisions to help businesses and employees with financial arrangements.  However, nothing has been offered in order to mitigate the losses that Churches suffer from not holding services, from the loss of the hire of premises etc. and from being prevented to hold any fundraising events.  We are grateful to those who already give by Standing Order to the Parish but we are still incurring a loss of approaching £2,000 each month by not having the weekly collections in church (and that does not include the loss of hall income).  If you would ordinarily contribute to the weekly ‘offering’ in this way, then please would you consider now, either going over to Standing Order, or to paying your weekly contribution directly into our Bank Account.  There is very little saving for us at this time of year through utility costs and we stand to have a significant deficit by the end of the year even though our ministry in the parish continues and is more vital than ever.  We are supporting the elderly and vulnerable in the parish in practical ways.  We are being the Church in this community in new and vibrant ways which even a few weeks ago we did not think were possible.

If you could support the parish in a financial way, please contact the office for our bank details or use the online giving link below:

You can also send a cheque equalling your weekly giving to me at St Mark’s Vicarage, 8 Alma Road, Reigate, RH2 0DA.  All contributions will be greatly received.  I have often said that I will never ask you to do anything that I am not prepared to do myself.  As I already give by Standing Order, I have just increased this amount by 10%.  This is a personal decision as all yours will be, and I understand that for some, your income has been hit and so you may feel that you cannot give to the Church at all or may wish to reduce your giving in the short term.

I apologise for having to mention our financial situation at this worrying time.  It goes against the grain.  Yet we are living in a very fearful world at the moment and it would be easy to give into that fear and ignore the day-to-day decisions that individuals and organisations, like the Church, have to take.

I hope to be able to send further communications from time to time and trust that, in the meantime, you are heeding to the demand to stay inside unless for all but the most essential outings.  Stay safe and keep well and please do give me a call if you have any questions or just want to chat.

With every blessing.

Martin Colton.

 

 

 

 

 

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