From the Minister
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 26 February, and concludes on Saturday, 11
Lent is a helpful and challenging time for Christians. Traditionally a season of
penitence (sorrow for sins), it can be an enlivening time for stimulating faith
and Christian growth. Here are two things I want to encourage you to
consider this year:
1. Personal devotion
This year I have drafted a simple Devotional Pack for Lent. Within it you will
find resources that help you focus on the season and your personal
discipleship. For example, you might wish to spread the resources out on a
small side table. This, then, could act as a kind of altar or holy table that you
return to in the ordinariness of your own living space. There you might say your
prayers or place names of those you pray for, written on slips of paper, into a
bowl as you offer them to God. You might take inspiration from the bible
readings or be encouraged by the text Psalm 51:10 ‘Create in me a pure
heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ Whatever you decide
to do during Lent maybe this resource pack will help you on your journey with
2. Living Lent
Take up the challenge by signing up to Living Lent at livinglent.org. As we
are all responsible for God’s creationvas stewards of the earth, why not
take up the challenge to change your lifestyle for the climate by: buying
nothing new, living locally (shopping locally), finding means of alternative
transport, going meat-free, reducing your electricity usage by 10%, and give
up single use plastics. Just a thought.
The beauty of Lent is that it orders our life into faithful living for God. The
disciplines of praying, fasting, and giving are important to school us in the
way of discipleship and the service of humanity. Whatever you do for Lent,
may you be blessed by God.
Lent 2020 Devotional Packs shall be available from the Minister from Sunday
16th February. Just ask him for one
From the Editor
Pray in 2020 on the 20th of each month at 20:20 for 20 minutes. Pray... that
God will give many opportunities to speak about Christ (Colossians 4:3
NLT).This is the invitation from HOPE Together to Christians of all
denominations. Through Prayer 2020 we are asking God to work through all
that is done in 2020 – personal witness; church outreach plans in villages,
towns and cities; stadium events – evangelisation in all its many forms. 2020 is
such a significant year and Prayer 2020 is a key part of the year. Churches
and ministries are working together for an intentional, strategic and Spirit-filled
year of mission across the UK called Advance 2020. HOPE Together is one of
the major partners alongside many others.
They have produced suggested prayers for each month and the February
one is below. For more information visit their website: hopetogether.org.uk
Thursday 20th February 2020
Lord Jesus, thank you for your amazing love. We pray for every evangelist
sharing your good news of eternal life. May they be given humility, grace and
boldness to clearly invite all they meet to believe in and follow you (John
Ongar Town Festival, Friday, 8th May
With all the other churches in the town we shall be open on this day, which
will finish with a joint service at 6.00pm at St. Martin's. As you know, this will be
the 75th celebration of VE Day. We hope that we will be able to have a
display in collaboration with the History Society. If anyone has any wartime
memories of life in the church they could share, please let me know and we
can type them up. Perhaps you might like to share memories of being
evacuated or the war years in the town, which could also be part of our own
display. If you have any other ideas please let me know.
Pause for Prayer
Our first morning was on 11th January and proved a very reflective morning
for those of us there. The next morning will be 8th February from 10.00am until
12 noon. If you are willing to come to the church for this time please speak to
Joan, who will also arrange a lift if required. Various prayer books were
available for anyone who wanted to find a specific subject for prayer, post-it
notes for prayers that could be incorporated into the following Sunday's
service, quiet meditative music was played and a candle lit on the table at
the front of the church. In the future we intend to have a prayer station,
perhaps dealing with events in the news of concern during the week and the
helpers will always be available and willing to join in prayer with individuals or
take the lead in praying for them. Please do 'pause for prayer' one Saturday.
COME AND LET YOURSELVES BE BUILT AS
LIVING STONES INTO A SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
1 Peter Ch.2 v5 (New English Bible)
As in previous years we are continuing the custom of sending our Christmas
Greetings to one another by signing a card for all to view and donating the money
we would have spent on cards to a charity.
The card will be on the piano in the Church along with a collecting box for
donations. This year we have chosen Crisis at Christmas as our charity. Crisis works
all year to help the Homeless, at Christmas when we are all celebrating, the
homeless feel even more rejected and desperate. The Crisis Christmas Centres
provide food, clothing, health care, advice and even a Christmas present.
Volunteers give up their time to show someone does care.
Please give generously, even if you still want to send personal cards!!
The Leprosy Mission
Our annual Reception of boxes/donations will be held on Sunday 23rd February.
Please bring (or send) your donation – either in the collection box, or in one of
the special envelopes available on the table in the Church.
Grateful thanks to our loyal and generous donors.
Please accept the return of your box for another year and continue to help
funding the necessary research and treatment to overcome this dreadful
disease in some of the poorest countries in the world