Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We learned a couple of days ago as widely expected that the current lock down has been extended for a further three weeks, in order to restrain the spread of Coronavirus, protect the staff in the NHS and our care homes and save lives.  In this first phase of this lockdown we will have all found ways of living with these restrictions and managing our time and no doubt many of us will both understand why we need to do this but we may also be frustrated by the restrictions imposed on our freedoms.  I expect like me you have been deeply moved by the truly heroic effort of Captain Tom Moore who decided he would try and complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th Birthday and so he set out to raise £1000 for the NHS charities.  Well thanks to the generosity of people throughout the land and even across the world Tom completed his challenge on Friday but he has kept going and when I checked on Saturday his just giving total was over £20million!   Captain Toms heroic effort and charming personality have captivated the nation – well done.

As a church we have tried new ways of engaging with one another using modern ways of communications and I have had messages from people expressing their thanks and some have come from far afield.   For the first few weeks we had the focus of Lent, Holy Week and Easter to keep us going now we are entering a more consistent time and this will bring its own challenges.   We also still have to function as a Church community, we still have to pay our bills even though our buildings are closed a major part of our income from our weekly collections has now dried up.  So over the coming weeks a certain amount of our focus will be on the business of running our parishes.  I was speaking to some friends who work in hospitals and one of their major concerns is that people aren’t going to the hospitals like they used to with the normal everyday health issues – probably for fear of the Covid-19 virus so when they do see people their condition is usually worse. So if you need any support or help from us as a Church community please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we are here for you and are praying for you every day.  In our Gospel for this Sunday (John 20:19-end) it was the first day of Easter and we hear that the disciples themselves were locked in because they were fearful – but Jesus doesn’t abandon them, instead he comes to them in the midst of their fear and stands amongst them bringing them his peace. This last week we have been reflecting on who do we say that Jesus is and I expect his own disciples were having similar thoughts especially Thomas who wasn’t there on that Easter night.  But then a week later they were still in lockdown and fearful and Jesus once again returns bringing his peace and Thomas was there and saw him for himself which led Thomas to declare:  him, ‘My Lord and my God!’  then Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’   Brothers and sisters may we believe in the risen Christ without the proof that Thomas required and may we hear the voice of Christ blessing us with the gift of his peace in these troubles times.

With love & prayers.  Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile: 07960309005,
email: revmwoods@gmail.com

Coronavirus Village support groups

Croston        COVID-19 Croston Village Support Group

Mawdesley    Mawdesley – Coronavirus help each other out.

Bretherton    Via Bretherton WI (01772 601495)
email bethertoonwi@btinternett.com

Facebook Pages

There will be a Worship Video on Sunday mornings at 10 am and during the week there will be worship every day at 7 pm using the night prayer resource on the Church of England Website at:

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer

Or you can download the ‘Daily Prayer’ App to your phone or tablet.

https://www.facebook.com/St-John-the-Baptist-Church-Bretherton-439088266487676/

https://www.facebook.com/StMichaelAllAngelsChurchCroston/

https://www.facebook.com/St-Peters-Mawdesley-w-Bispham-442669382795886/?ref=bookmarks

 

Please continue to support the Food Banks
We need tinned & packet food, Tea, coffee, cereals.
We urgently need long-life (UHT) milk.
Specially needed is ‘instant’ food
– items that can be mixed with boiling water to make a meal.
(mashed potato, couscous, noodles, packet soups etc)
Many people cannot afford to pay for fuel & dare only to boil a kettle.

In Croston – please bring items to 19, Highfield Rd or 32, Westhead Rd.
The next run to the Food Bank is early morning – Monday 20th.
In Bretherton – The box will remain at the gate, 154 South Road.
Thank you to everyone for your support to date!

Resources – Easter

The 3 readings for 2nd Sunday of Easter that we would have on our normal pewsheet.

The Collect
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.         Amen

First Reading
On the day of Pentecost, Peter talks compellingly to those in Jerusalem about the continuation of their historic faith in the work of Jesus, now risen from death.
Acts 2:14a. 22-32
On the day of Pentecost, Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know – this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.  But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
For David says concerning him,  “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my flesh will live in hope.  For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, “He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.”
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.’

Second Reading
The writer seeks to encourage Christians who are suffering persecution, urging them to stand firm in their faith and reminding them of the imperishable inheritance to which they are heirs in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith – being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The Gospel
The risen Jesus appears to his fearful disciples and offers them the gift of his peace. The absent Thomas doubts what his fellow disciples have witnessed, but is finally convinced when Jesus appears to them again.
 John 20:19-end
When it was evening on the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’  But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’  A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’  Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’  Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’  Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Prayer after Communion
Lord God our Father, through our Saviour Jesus Christ you have assured your children of eternal life and in baptism have made us one with him: deliver us from the death of sin and raise us to new life in your love, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.    Amen

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