The appetite for prayer is growing! This week we’re launching 2 teams called Luke and John to pray concurrently from noon on Wednesday until noon on Thursday. TEAM LUKE is full but there are spaces in TEAM JOHN so please do consider joining us in prayer this week and next. Please click here for full details of how to get involved.
At the start of 2021 we began a partnership with CAP (Christians Against Poverty). CAP UK is a Charity providing practical and holistic support for people struggling with debt, as well as offering them the opportunity to hear the gospel. Christ Church and St. Michael’s have committed to support and part-fund Jess Parkhouse, who works as a Debt Coach for CAP Wirral.
Jess is a fully CAP trained Debt Coach providing support to help clients escape from debt and poverty in a way that positively reflects the Christian faith and the core values of the Charity. Jess works with Moira Nelson who is the manager for CAP Wirral and together they are currently helping over 25 families on the Wirral with debt problems, as well as providing support with health issues, home schooling and unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis. https://capuk.org/about-us
24 more hours of prayer
Inspired by the prayer course currently running at The Hub, we arranged 24 hours of unbroken prayer across the parish over Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st of January.
Feedback was – we should do this more! So, we’re doing it again. Same time on Wednesday 27th to Thursday 28th of January.And then we’re going to do it again – across the 3rd/4th of February.
The writer of Ecclesiastes says: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.” Over the past 10 months it has felt in many ways like life has been put on hold, but in reality this is not the case. The rhythms of life built into the universe by God continue. We have continued to experience the changing seasons and while we may feel less connected to one another, our church family continues to experience highs and lows, laughter and weeping, and life and death.
On Thursday the 14th of January the new term begins at The Hub, with The Prayer Course. The first half term (at least) of this course will take place exclusively online via zoom (the details of which can be found on the weekly notice sheets) and will be led by Dr. Alan Johnston. This short video will give you some idea of what is in store over the duration of the course. This is for total novices as well as those who have been praying for years. Prayer is something we all want to do more and to “get better at”. We hope to see you there to join the conversation and grow together in Jesus together!
Coronavirus Update Letter from the Associate Minister
As we begin this new year, it is a blow to find ourselves in a 3rd national lockdown. It is however, a reminder of how serious COVID-19 is, and our duty as Christian citizens to behave responsibly and to do what we can to keep people safe. For this reason some will think it appropriate to suspend all church services; others will think it appropriate to keep going, with the necessary precautions. The Bishop of Chester released some guidance earlier in the week, and in it, he outlined four broad options for parishes to adopt over the coming weeks. One of the options is to continue with public worship, whilst taking the highest level of COVID precautions. In this parish, we will follow this advice from the Bishop and we will continue to run as many services as we can safely run.
Working as Discipleship Co-ordinator for the Parish
One term into her new role as part of the staff team Joanna Hill writes:
My role as Discipleship Co-ordinator means that I have the privilege of being involved in the lives of many of you in varying ways and I thank God for you and for the work He is doing in all our lives. My role is three-fold…
Joanna finishes by saying, “If you would like to be reading the Bible with someone and are not sure how to go about it or wonder where to start looking for resources, please do get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).”
Sermon Series for Winter/Spring 2021
Our general pattern, as a church, is to look at the Old Testament in the Autumn, since the Old Testament points forward to Jesus, and it is Jesus we wait for as we look forward to Christmas. In the run-up to Easter, which is about the death and resurrection of Jesus, we study a gospel, because the gospels tell us about the life and ministry of Jesus. In the summer we have a series from elsewhere in the New Testament because once Jesus ascended he sent the Holy Spirit, and the rest of the New Testament helps us to live as Christians in the absence of Jesus but with the help of the Spirit.
Right now, we are in the period between Jesus’ birth at Christmas, and his death and resurrection at Easter, and this year we will be studying Mark’s gospel as we focus on the life and ministry of Jesus.
Broadly, Mark is a gospel of two halves, which pivot on Mark 8:29, where Jesus asks Peter, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” At this point, for the first time in Mark’s gospel, someone correctly identifies Jesus as the Christ. Before this, Mark has been piling up the evidence to point us to this conclusion, it is just that despite the evidence, no-one can see who is standing in front of them. The evidence is there but it takes a miracle to see who Jesus really is. After this pivotal verse, Mark turns his attention away from the miracles which prove that Jesus is the Christ, to explaining what the Christ came to do. Very simply, the first half of Mark answers the question “Who is Jesus?” and the second half answers the question “What did Jesus come to do?”
Our sermon series this term is based mostly in the second half of the gospel, and so we will mostly be considering the question “What did Jesus come to do?” So as we work our way through Mark this term and come to a conclusion at Easter, do meditate on the question “What did Jesus come to do?” And be ready to let Jesus do his work in your life.
Motto Text for 2021
On Sunday the 3rd of January we focused our services on the motto text for 2021, which is taken from 1 Peter 3:15 and reads, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” You can listen again to Chris Murphy’s sermon from that text by clicking on this link.
Carols around the Tree
I’m sure many of you will have seen and appreciated the Christmas tree outside St Michael’s this year. My thanks go to Bob Fiddaman and his team for putting the tree up and decorating it with lights and a star. The tree has been a great feature this year and it has provided a focal point, around which to sing some Christmas carols. Apart from when the weather got the better of us on December 23rd, up to forty of us were able to gather on the lawn for some of our favourite Christmas carols interspersed with some readings about the Christmas story. This was the first time we have tried such an enterprise but there was enough appetite that it will definitely be worth developing in future years—perhaps even with a bit of mulled wine and few mince pies!