20th February 2021
We thank God that circumstances have changed significantly for the better since 10 January, with infection rates falling steadily and with many people having had their first dose of vaccine. In the light of this the PCC has decided that we should once again welcome congregations in church at our Sunday morning services, with strict attention to safety guidelines, although we'll keep this under review. Our main services will continue to be streamed, using the usual link www.youtube.com/stjamestrowbridge/live so that it will still be possible for everyone to join us in worship week by week, and we hope that every advantage will continue to be taken of this.
Tea Time services will continue to take place entirely online, and Breakfast Church will need to remain on hold for now. Also, in line with current Government rules the Seekers team will continue to provide activities for children to take part in at home, or to use while sitting with their families in the church building, but we will not yet be able to meet together as a group.
This is good news of encouraging progress. Let's go on praying for the situation globally, nationally, and locally, and for our witness in these difficult times. We have Good News for the world of a heavenly Father and a wonderful Saviour, and we praise God that His Holy Spirit draws us to worship Him together.
RECTOR'S LETTER: "HAD YOURS YET?"
As I write, the front page of the newspaper announces good news about the effect of the Covid vaccine: early results indicate that just a single dose reduces both infection and transmission rates by two-thirds. In recent weeks we've watched the graphs of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths all heading rapidly downwards. Personally, I'm in awe of the scale, the speed, and the astonishing efficiency of the hugely complex national effort to vaccinate us all. I'm full of admiration for the people we see – the doctors and nurses and the specially trained wielders of syringes - and the thousands we don't see – the administrators, drivers, volunteer car park attendants and countless others all of whom form part of that invisible chain of human effort from the manufacturing of the vaccine through to its injection into our arms.
Marilyn and I have just received our invitations with gratitude, and we booked up without delay. I don't think I know anyone who has chosen to decline a vaccination, although we hear that a significant number of people have. I think that's really sad. They need the vaccine. It could be a matter of life or death. A lot of expertise and resources have been sacrificially poured in to making it available for our benefit. But distrust gets in the way. Distrust of the vaccine in case it doesn't actually work. Distrust of the Government or of the medical profession in case they have a secret and harmful agenda. In these circumstances trust is a pathway to life, but distrust is a pathway that can lead to death.
This choice strikes me as such a vivid illustration of the similar but greater choice that the Apostle John has in mind when he writes, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life ... Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already ..."(John 3 16,18) The issue here is not a deadly virus, but sin, rebellion against God, which is terminally deadly. But the pathway to life is graciously offered, at immense sacrificial cost to God, although offered free, and all may receive it. Don't let distrust get in the way of it. Don't let distrust doubt the effectiveness of the cure that flows from Jesus' death for us on that Cross, and don't let distrust impute an agenda to God that is anything other than His loving desire for you to find and experience eternal life with Him.
The needed cure is costly, it is effective, and it's offered free. Choose to trust it. Don't say no.
With my love in Christ
© 2021 Trowbridge St James'