Maybe it was the last person you would expect. He is only 22. He’s a multimillionaire, part of a pampered set, living in a world that most of us will never experience, even if we wanted to. A young man who has access to everything that money can buy. But he is the one asking: who is getting missed?
His name is Marcus Rashford and he’s a Manchester United and England footballer.
During lockdown, he has raised about £20m to supply three million meals to vulnerable people, working with the charity FareShare UK. On Monday, he wrote a public letter to the government urging them to extend the food voucher scheme into the school holidays. And he’s done so because he has been in that situation.
In the letter, Rashford wrote: “My mum worked full-time, earning the minimum wage, to make sure we always had a good evening meal on the table, but it was not enough.
“The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked.”
And he has never forgotten.
The story of the early church in Acts is full of powerful, mind boggling encounters with God and remarkable generosity, as well as moments of tension that we can all relate to. People had been selling what they had to address the poverty that some of their people were facing, but even so it was easy for people to get missed. Acts 6 offers us a window into the tension that arose in the distribution of food to the widows, when some were getting missed. It’s an all too familiar problem, but it could easily have split the church.
It’s easy for people to get missed. At this time when we have had to rely on technology, who got missed along the way? Those who don’t have internet access? Those who are intimidated by it all? Those who feel too harassed? Those who feel too isolated?
Who will find these people and connect with them? Who will include them in a ‘bubble’? Who will ensure that they don’t stay outsiders?
And once we have thought about our own church community, who will notice those outside church?
This goes beyond those of us who are employed by the church, it’s a whole community responsibility. It’s the 22 year olds who say, I know how that feels.
It’s the 72 year olds who say, it could be me.
It’s those who are filled with Spirit and wisdom.
What will you do next?
Read Marcus Rashford’s story here.
This week’s interview is with Andrew Gordon. He explores what life is like as a new dad, how faith became a reality for him and what the connection is between local church, sandwiches and Snowdon. You’ll have to watch it to find out more.
1. Our Gatherings
The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
After some technical issues with our Facebook livestream over the last couple of weeks, we’re now switching to streaming our Sunday services live on our YouTube channel.
You’ll also be able to find the service live on the homepage of our website.
This will continue to be in addition to using Zoom. We want to encourage you to join our service using Zoom if possible, as it allows you to interact with other people in our church and be part of our breakout rooms after the service.
But we’re also aware that some people will find being part of our services easier via YouTube instead of Zoom, so we want to offer this option for you.
It also allows people from outside our church to access our services in an easier and less intimidating way, so please do let anyone who’d be interested know!
If you’ve got any questions, please let Phil Maylor know!
We have 3 prayer meetings during the week:
On Wednesday between 1-2pm we offer prayer ministry.
You may feel anxious and just need someone to pray for God’s peace over you. You may be ill or be concerned about someone who is sick; we can pray with you for God’s healing. You may feel low or confused; we can pray with you to know God’s joy and guidance in these strange days. Whatever your reason, we would love to pray with you and for you.
On Thursday evening at 7.45pm we will be praying for the church and all that is happening in the world.
And on Friday 10.30-12.00 there is a prayer meeting that doesn’t need Zoom! We use Whatsapp and it works great. If you want more information contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.
From 9 July there will be a new group on Thursdays – Building Foundations. It’s important that you feel confident in knowing how to understand and explain the Christian faith to others. But equally, it is vital that you grow in knowing how to pray and to hear from God. This course will help you do both. You might have been a Christian for years, but deep down you are concerned that there are things you still haven’t got your head around. Or you might be fairly new on this road. This course is for you. Led by Charlie, it will explore all that is involved in ensuring that your life as a follower of Jesus is based on really strong foundations. Let us know if you would be interesting in joining that group.
2. Stay Connected: ‘Virtual Coffee Morning’ – Wednesday 10.30-11.30am
Since closing we’ve missed chatting to people and we know some of you have missed popping in for a brew and a catch up too. So, whilst it’s not as good as the real thing, we thought we would try meeting up online instead. So, grab yourself a brew and join us. There may even be games and live music!
The current crisis has raised questions for many people; not least about what is most important in life.
The Alpha Course is a great opportunity to explore the bigger questions of life and faith such as ‘Is there more than this?’, ‘Who is Jesus?’ and ‘Does God guide us?’. No question is ‘out of bounds’ and everyone is welcome to join us without pressure.
4. If in doubt…
All the links to the meetings are in our ChurchSuite app and on the Calendar section of our church website.
5. You’re not alone
If you need prayer, or need to talk, don’t hesitate to contact folks in your WhatsApp group, or Neil – his number is 07771 558058.
Links and Resources
Morag and Ian have put together a couple of films for children at different ages. Having said that, whatever your age you might want to take a look!
But if you have children that fall into these groups, I know that they will really value your feedback.
This week they’ve put together some great games, videos and craft to inspire you, as well as a brilliant song from Ian.
You can watch them here: