Keeping in Touch 14: Being Grateful

Thank you. That’s the first thing I’d like to say. Back in Keeping in Touch 9 I asked for some feedback on ‘virtual church’, and what you’d like to see continue while we can’t meet in the building, and once we can return. Thank you to everyone who has got back to me. I’ve been really grateful for your feedback and all your kind messages for me. And thank you for the many enquiries into how my back is this week – some of you will know I ‘put it out’ last Friday making space for the new foodbank – pews fight back! But I’m well on the mend.

What came across very clearly in your feedback is the appreciation of our virtual Sunday worship (thanks to Rachel, Sarah, Carolyn, Mark and Sheila for your help with this) and that many of you are in favour of continuing to broadcast worship when we are back in church. This was in fact something we were re-visiting just before the lockdown, so ‘stay tuned’. Weekday services have also been appreciated, especially during the full lockdown but it is probably time to scale these back. Virtual coffee and Bible Study have also had honourable mentions. Far and away the two strongest pieces of feedback are that we are all looking forward to being back in church and, somewhat to my surprise, you would like me to continue with Keeping in Touch. All I can say is be careful what you wish for!

I also need to say thank you to the churchwardens and deputy churchwardens for all they have done to get the church ready to open for private prayer and for their help in setting up our new ‘open table’ foodbank. There are more details about this below. Meanwhile others are continuing to look after our church building and our church family, and to serve the wider community – from the Pastoral Team to the Fundraising group, to the open church team, to the Churchyard mowing team (and we are also working with the Borough Council to address the maintenance of the New Churchyard – thanks to Peter Sutcliffe on that one).

Gratefulness is at the heart of our spiritual life. In Colossians Chapter 3 verses 12-17 St. Paul describes the Christian spiritual life and how it is expressed. At the centre of the passage in v.15 is one of his shortest and simplest sentences: ‘And be thankful.’ Easy to read, not always so easy to put into practice. Especially in the middle of this time of uncertainty. But being grateful, having a habit of gratefulness, is not only part of our response to God, it’s good for our mental health. A thankful recognition of what we have – things, skills, opportunities, resources – puts us in a more positive position to respond to our situation, to others and to the challenges of the world. Gratefulness is the practice of seeing what we do have and the choices we can make as gifts and asking ourselves what we can do with those gifts. Having looked properly at what we do have, where do we go from here?

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3.17)

With my love, prayers and gratefulness for you,

All Saints Vicarage, Feast of Bernard Mizeki, Thursday 18th June 2020

Afternoon Tea Social and Fundraiser Saturday 27th June 4.30pm via Zoom
Scone, jam and cream and a selection of sandwiches delivered to your door
Individual: £10; Couple: £18; Family: £24
To order click HERE or contact Ingrid Allen 01923 268253.
If ordering online you will be contacted about dietary requirements. For catering purposes please place your order by Midday Sunday 21st June.

Open Church Hours and Foodbank
All Saints is open every Day 9.30am – 5pm
An ‘open table’ Foodbank is now available during church open hours. It is unattended and available to anyone in need. Please spread the word! If you are able to donate then non-perishable food and toiletries are welcome. There is a donations basket in church. Surplus donations will be passed on to DENS on a regular basis – thank you to the men’s group!.

This Sunday at All Saints
10.00am Live Stream Alban Pilgrimage Eucharist from St Albans Cathedral.
Find the service sheet and tune in HERE
11.00am Virtual Coffee (later start time due to the 10am service at the Cathedral)

Harvest of Talents 2020 
In the spirit of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25.14-30), we are once again challenging you to use your initiative and talent to see through a ‘project’ over the summer and return at Harvest with the money you have made from your project.  In the past people have sold home-made cakes or jam, done gardening, babysitting, dog-walking or ironing, organised dinner parties, quizzes or Sudoku.  This year of course it is an extra challenge to deploy your talent in the lockdown, so for example selling your home-made cakes will mean your own take on Deliveroo – a great opportunity to say a socially distanced “hello” as well!  And because of the lockdown we can’t hand over the customary fiver to start you off, but we can still say a hearty “good luck with your Talent project”!

Letter from Bishop Alan
Bishop Alan has written a very kind letter of encouragement and support to All Saints, thanking us for all that we are doing in these strange times. He also writes that as he is unable to take his summer holiday he has decided to support churches in the diocese with a donation as a token of his appreciation. Please pray for bishop Alan and the bishop’s staff as they lead, support and resource parishes during this difficult time.

Things to keep you encouraged, informed and entertained this week