Thy Kingdom Come via Zoom!
Will the schools open or not? Will we be allowed to visit family anytime soon? Will holiday plans have to be cancelled? I think that sometimes the lack of certainty is more difficult to handle than the total restrictions we lived with under the complete lockdown! We wait for any change in the “R” factor – who knew such a thing existed until a few weeks ago!
And yet, here in Coddenham, life goes on. Maybe an additional walk or a sense of increased traffic on the High Street (one decided benefit of it all has been the lack of it). But, from our house, we don’t see many more people on the Rec. Certainly we saw none on VE Day, as we sat having our picnic in the garden.
It feels, sometimes, as though we are living in a bubble. The outside world is remote, seen only on the television screens. Even Ipswich seems many miles away.
As a church, throughout these trying times, we have tried to reach out to people living in the 8 parishes that make up our Benefice (the word means a group of parishes operating together and, for us, that includes our parish here in Coddenham, Hemingstone, Crowfield, Gosbeck, Stonham Aspal, Earl Stonham, Creeting St Mary and Creeting St Peter).
You’ll probably have seen how we have been holding virtual services on the Zoom platform: one every Sunday at 10am and further services on a Tuesday morning and Friday evening. That has enabled people to join together on line and participate in a service. We can see one another on our screens and Ruth Dennigan, who has been brilliant at hosting the services from the start, splits us up into breakout chat groups during and after the services, so that we can all chat with different people.
This way of worshipping has reached a huge number of people. Last Sunday 71 people joined in!
We are so grateful to all those who have been helping us remain safe and live our lives in the most comfortable way that we can. We come out to clap each Thursday evening – even though we can’t see many people, it is great to be able to hear the sound from Green Hill and School Road/High Street. We are profoundly grateful to the shop and all who have been working there, to the volunteers who have been supporting others, buying/fetching groceries, collecting medication, checking up to ensure no one needs anything, making telephone calls to those living on their own.
But, in the middle of all this, and particularly as we start, slowly, to come out of the lockdown, we still need to feel part of that larger community that is this part of Suffolk. We have friends in the other villages around, people we probably haven’t seen or perhaps spoken to, since this all started. The enormous benefit of our Zoom services has been to re-unite people, as well as enabling people to meet for the first time those whom they didn’t know. New friendships are blossoming that will continue after the lockdown is a distant memory.
The reason I’m mentioning all this is because of a global initiative, due to start on Thursday. “Thy Kingdom Come” is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost (Whit Sunday) for more people to come to know Jesus.
In recent years, we have held services every day in the different churches in the Benefice. Each service has focused on the village in which that service was taking place. We can’t do that this year. But we intend to hold a service each day, on Zoom; and each day will focus on a different village.
This would be a lovely opportunity to join us to pray for all our friends who live in those villages and maybe to arrange to meet them on line.
Liz Ince, who produces and distributes the weekly Pew Sheet has told us that the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ team globally has been working very hard to provide some fun stuff for the children. All the resources, most of which can be downloaded, can be found on their website: www.thykingdomcome.global. The best thing, for Liz, is the Family Prayer Adventure Map, which is used in conjunction with the special App providing daily activities, videos, games etc for the children to do. She has ordered lots of maps (enough for the Benefice) which should be delivered in time for the start next Thursday – Liz will let us know when they have arrived and we can arrange for collection or delivery. If you have little people in your household, do have a look.
If you’re interested in the Map, either let me know and I’ll pass on your request to Liz, or you can e mail Liz direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The pattern of services will be:
Thursday 21 May 10am Ascension Day
Friday 22 May 7pm Coddenham
Saturday 23 May 7pm Creeting St Peter
Sunday 24 May 10am Sunday Morning Worship
Monday 25 May 7pm Crowfield
Tuesday 26 May 10am Creeting St Mary
Wednesday 27 May 7pm Earl Stonham
Thursday 28 May 7pm Hemingstone
Friday 29 May 7pm Gosbeck
Saturday 30 May 7pm Stonham Aspal
Sunday 31 May 10am Pentecost Morning Worship.
There is a lot more information on line, so do please look. If you would like to join any of the services, contact Ruth Dennigan at: email@example.com and she will add you to her list.