I will hold the Christ-light for you

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Last night, like many people Liz and I placed a lighted candle in a window at the front of our Manse as a sign of our prayers and God's love in these difficult times.

As the candle flame danced and flickered symbolically reminding us of God's presence with us, I was reminded of the words of the hymn writer, Richard Gillard, when he so poetically writes;
"I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear
."

Along with worship; pastoral care and the sharing God's love is what we are about.

We are now finding that we are having to discover new ways to do both as our church buildings are closed to us and we can no longer go and visit others.

It is crucially important that in these times of self-isolation and of social-distancing we ensure that we nevertheless stay in touch with one another and that nobody feels left out.

Technology, old and new gives us many different ways to do this.

Receiving a telephone call (whether from a land-line or a mobile) and hearing the voice of a pastoral visitor, friend, or neighbour can make someone's day and help them to feel less alone and isolated. Many of you have always done this and I encourage you to carry on doing so.

Texting, emails, Skype and Face Time are other ways in which we can share with one another and stay connected.

The fact that you have received this email from me, (blind copied so that nobody else can see your email address) is a way to quickly reach many people in one go, but it has its limitations.

If you are reading this on the church website and are not sure if I have your up-to-date email address please do contact me to make sure.

One of the new possibilities for those who have smart phones and who would like to take part, is to join the church WhatsApp Support Group that we are starting. If you would like to find out more and how to go about it, please would you contact Ann Barber in the first instance at annbarber7@gmail.com who will give you more information.

I have also just set up a YouTube channel for sharing acts of devotion, worship and thoughts for the day.

If you'd like to view this then simply go to the YouTube home page https://www.youtube.com and enter Wantage & Abingdon Methodist Circuit in the search box and you will be able to subscribe to it, don't worry, it is free to do so.

There's not much to see yet, just a welcome message from me, but I am hoping that over the coming days and weeks we can get some of our Local Preachers, Worship Leaders and Ministers to share material on it.

Although there has been an explosion of older people getting connected on-line with tablets and iPads — modern technology is not for everyone and it is important that we do not simply assume universal access to the internet and our church websites etc.

In a previous appointment, one church member had a very helpful and profound ministry in sending cards through the post to members of the congregation in times of struggle and also of celebration. There is still a unique and important role for 'snail mail' not least the time and thought that goes into writing and posting a card or greeting.

Whilst we feel the loss of not being able to meet together or rejoice in being in each other's company, we will nonetheless, continue to keep in touch and support one another as we see this through together, as one.

Of course, it is not by accident that the Methodist Church talks about the Connexion! For it reminds us that we are all connected to one another and are part of the same Church family.

"I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I'll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we've seen this journey through
."

With much love and God Bless — stay safe and keep well.

Keith

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