Wasn’t it great to be together on Sunday? Around 80 of us were in the building and others joined us online. It might have felt a bit odd being masked up in the building but being able to catch up with one another was fantastic.
It was a great start to the new phase of our journey together.
Having read for us from Ezra chapter 1 during the service, Glyn said to me as he left, ‘I am sorry for whoever is reading from chapter 2!’
Have you seen it? It’s like a 6th century BC telephone directory.
(For younger readers, in ancient days we had a big book that listed everyone’s phone numbers. As long as you knew the initial of the bill payer’s first name or their address, it was simple to find. Although if they hadn’t decided not to be included in the book, or if they didn’t live in your city it became trickier. Then you needed to go to the central library to get the directories for other cities. It’s why we were always surprised by the phone ringing. We were in awe of anyone who had tracked us down. These were the good old days! But I digress.)
Well, we will spare everyone by not reading it out loud on Sunday and we will skip to chapter 3. There are loads of these sorts of lists in the Bible and to be honest, they don’t mean that much to us.
Just like this guy means nothing to you, but everything to me.
I have never met him. I couldn’t. But there something about this small, bow-legged, hard-working character that I carry in me. He was my Great-Grandfather who died 90 years ago. I don’t know what he would have made of his study-based, church-concerned great-grandson, but I’m kind of proud of him and the tough life he lived working in an Ironworks Foundry in the North East.
So I get why the first-wave of people who returned from exile were keen to name their ancestors. It mattered. They were part of an unfolding story. Over 70 years had passed, so they wouldn’t have known them, but they knew who they belonged to. They knew where they had come from, they knew what their vocations were. They were a people who knew their history, their genealogy and their geography.
On Sunday morning, Beth said that she felt that we were in a holy place, as though we were building on a history of prayer. We are and as we look round the church, we will see echoes of the previous generations.
Just as generations down the line will see you. Your names and your history matter. They matter to us now. I don’t want us to become a church that is so anonymous that no one knows your name or where you come from. But they will also matter to the next generations to come. They will build on all that we do now.
Maybe I should keep that track and trace record from Sunday and pass it on to the next generations and tell them:
On 6 June 2021, these people were present when Salford Elim Church began a whole new chapter of their life together.
This Sunday we will be celebrating communion together. Please can you bring your own. It’s much easier in these covid days if we can celebrate this way.
We wanted to take the pressure off ourselves in June by giving us space to get used to being in a new space together. That’s one of the reasons we will have our Launch Service on the 27th June, which will be our 4th Sunday in the building. By then we are praying that masks will no longer be required and we will be back to singing as a congregation together.
After the service we want to invite everyone to come prepared to have a picnic together. We think it will be best for us to all bring our own food rather than a bring and share as we normally do. But please come prepared to be envious at what the person next to you is eating!!!
In June and July:
We will have a series entitled: The Return of the Church. For this series we will be reading the book of Ezra together. This book is the story of the return of Israel to their land after 70 years in exile. Then, out of the blue, they were able to return and had to find out what it meant to be the people in their own land again. They would encounter times of provision, of disappointment, of resistance, of breakthrough and joy and compromise.
The link between Ezra and our situation seems to connect well. As we change the place where we worship to St James, there is also the sense that we are about to begin a new story together. The lessons that people learned in the period of Ezra will prompt us to chart our new course together.
Exciting New Plans for our Children and Young people
High on our priorities is the work we do with children and young people.
During the months we have been separated, Morag and Ian and Andrew and Alex have continued to do brilliant work online with all their different groups. This has largely been unseen by most of us but they have done a great job.
Going forward, this will be the rhythm of our children and young people’s work:
- Twice a month, they will have their own services in the minor hall – with competitions, scripture, prayer and worship.
- Once a month there will be supervised games and spaces for them to build friendships together, the 15-18s will meet in The Vine with adults offering safety and a listening ear.
- Once a month they will be in their age-appropriate groups.
Through all this there will be a safe space for creche.
If you’d like to know more or be involved, contact Morag.
Getting Involved in the New Phase of Church
Moving back to onsite worship means that we will have lots of opportunities to be involved in the ministry of the church.
You might be wondering where you fit into the church after all this time of scattered worship. You might wonder where your gifts and passions fit in. Or you might just want to know how you can serve generally.
Please talk to us – we want to help you feel confident in knowing how your gifts can be a blessing to us all.
Going forward, we will need help to form these teams:
- Welcome Team
- Prayer Team
- Worship Band
- Operating the PA System
- Operating the streaming (we’ll show you how)
- Operating EasyWorship to project words
- Cleaning Team
The teams will have their own leaders, but in the first case if there are areas you would be willing to be involved with, can you let Neil know. Most of the teams will ask you to be available around once a month or so.
If you are already involved in any of these teams it will help if you confirm that you will carry on.
The Vine Community Hub
As we gradually approach the reopening of The Vine as a space for community on the 21st of June, we want to get the word out to as many local people as possible. Could you spare a little time to distribute leaflets around the local area? If so, please let Ian know asap.
Also, if you would like to explore the possibility of getting involved in the ongoing ministry of The Vine, do let Ian know.
Is it time you took the plunge?
We are planning to hold a baptismal service on Sunday 11 July. If you have been waiting for this moment, or are wondering if this is the next step for you in your discipleship journey, please talk with Neil.
An Offer of Counselling Support
One of the ministries we have as a church is the Community Counselling Service. During this Covid crisis we have continued to offer Counselling remotely via zoom or telephone. There are however, limitations with remote sessions.
We are now offering Walk And Talk Counselling to anyone from church who would benefit from counselling or those known to church members. We would agree a time to meet at the Tea Kiosk in Lightoaks Park and would walk at a slow pace for the 50 minute session.
If you feel you would benefit from this please don’t hesitate to contact Judith Thompson, Neil, or Ian or fill in the form on the church website.
Looking for Help
Yvonne and Martin run a food-poverty programme, Salford Food Parcels. They would be grateful if there are any of you available to deliver parcels to people who are unable to get to their offices on Langworthy Road. Please contact them if you are able to help.
Our Regular Gatherings
Sundays at 11.30am
Join us onsite at St. James or online at live.salfordelimchurch.org
Thursday at 7.30pm
As we contemplate the future, we need to be open to all that God wants to do, ready to seek his blessing on all that lies ahead. This week we will be praying together: please join us
At the moment we are going to continue with all the housegroups being online. This will change going forward to a mix of some online and some in person.
If you would like to be part of a group now, then contact Neil and he will give you the details for next Thursday’s group night.
Wednesday at 10.30am.
A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz.
Contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil Hudson and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.
If in doubt
All the links to the meetings are in ChurchSuite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website: http://www.salfordelimchurch.org/events/
You’re not alone
If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058.
For Further Thinking
- Following on from the series about ‘Making Sense of Change’, this is an interview about making the most of ‘hinge’ moments – the times when everything changes: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/may-june/michael-lindsay-hinge-moments-pray-prepare-decide.html
- For those of you would like to get an overview of what is happening in Ezra and Nehemiah, this might help:
For those wanting to do a deeper dive, this will definitely help:
- What would it mean for you to take gentleness to work – literally? What might change? https://tifwe.org/what-if-we-take-gentleness-to-work/