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Pastor's pen 29th March 2020

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Good morning to you all,

Well Monday seemed a bit surreal, with alert levels for Covid-19 tracking from 2-4 this week. In case you missed the memo, all church groups are cancelled and by tomorrow we will all be at home unless we need to go out for essential services or supplies, or have an essential services role. I managed to pick up 60 disposable masks from the pharmacy, and I'm unashamedly hoarding coffee beans (among other things).

You know you are getting old when you explain to your teenagers that being confined to home in 'lockdown' would have been a lot more boring 'in my day'. No Netflix, Disney+ or PS4. No smart phones and only the 'well off' had videos and home computers. Did we have three or four TV channels in the 80s? Can't remember...

You are reading this because you have made it on to my brand new email group called 'FHPC All'. Normally I would send from the main office computer but decided it would be prudent to only occupy my own office space. Actually, we've just emailed you a copy of the 2020 phone directory for our church. I've based my list from this document. When you get it, flick (or scroll) through the nine pages. Some people there have no email listed, so it would be good to keep in touch with those folk by phone, they might be feeling a bit isolated. Today and tomorrow I'll be liaising with session and home group leaders to make sure everyone is in phone contact with someone from church, and I'll be keeping in touch with those leaders, and basically anyone who wants a chat on the phone. I'll be in my office more than usual (the commute is so short I consider it working from home). If you need a chat and I don't pick up straight away, please do leave a message on my office phone. I will return your call as promptly as I can.

So we're figuring out how to do church ministry by phone, email and online. I'll be working on a simple blog and experimenting with doing my sermon using Zoom. You should be able to access from email or possibly the church website or Facebook group. I will also identify other worship and study resources for your interest. We see before us a challenge unique in most of our lifetimes. Yet it is not a time for panic, but for pressing close to God in prayer. Some of you may have more time for study and reflection. Some of you will be finding it difficult financially, or have legitimate concerns for your own health or that of family members. Some are having to add this challenge to an already difficult season in your life. Please don't feel this is to be borne alone. Call myself or a trusted friend in the church and share your concerns. I'm more than happy to pray with you on the phone, as will others.

There is also the tricky issue of those struggling to get supplies if they are in isolation because of sickness or travel. Drop me a line as there are a few people prepared to make deliveries to your door or assist in some way, of course keeping the required physical distance. In God, we can be apart from one another, but still remain a people of God, and a community of care. Let us focus on also using this time for building our prayer life and our friendship with God, through Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit..

May God guide and bless you at this time, and watch over your families, Kia kaha (be strong)

Martin (minister)

Isaiah 43:1-3a (NRSV) Restoration and Protection Promised 43 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour...

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1 Comment

Robyn Lawry
Robyn Lawry
Mar 26, 2020

Good morning Martin, Thank you for all you are doing. It certainly helps the feeling of being connected. I see today is the 27th.... Just a thought :) My thoughts are around Passover which is approaching and how the Israelites must have felt at that time. I think this time we are in is similar to what they experienced in Egypt at the time of the plagues. The Passover will have magnified relevance this year as Kev and I celebrate at home alone. Looking forward to your next blog. God keep you and bless always

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