Howland’s Baptist Church
“Loving God Loving People”
Fellowship News April 2021
Our Dear Brothers, Sisters, and Friends,
Greetings and welcome to the April edition of the Howland’s Baptist Church Fellowship News. Thank you for the feedback on the Online Church Service of the 28th March. It was good to have Steve Hughes preaching once again on the theme of Palm Sunday, with the reading by Jean Hughes, we are grateful for their support. We have had encouraging feedback on the sermon and the service in general, and for that we praise God and give thanks.
People have noticed and appreciate the increased inclusion of children in these services, they are after all an important part of our fellowship. Well done Junior Church for a great Zoom meeting on Sunday 4th April. It was good fun to join in the activities. Thanks Fang for an amazing job in organising the session.
It would be good to update you on the current position in our search for a new Pastor; however, there is still not a lot to tell at this stage. Having met with representatives of Spurgeon’s College, the Deacons have done all they can do for now. We now need to have patience and wait on the Lord. Please continue to pray, when we know anything we will pass it on.
This month we start the series of church development meetings, informal gatherings on Zoom, to chat over a coffee to get your ideas, and thoughts as to the way forward for Howlands. Those who are not using Zoom, we will arrange phone calls or if things allow to meet socially distancing in your garden. It depends what you are comfortable with.
Our dear Sister Claire Plank, has been a deacon at HBC for three years and has now stood down. We are grateful for her help during some very challenging times and ask the Lord to bless her future endeavours.
Remember if you wish to take communion and or have a prayer over the telephone please contact Stuart, he will make the necessary arrangements.
God bless and keep praying
Stuart and Elaine x
ACCESS TO SUNDAY SERVICES
Should you want to try the fortnightly Sunday Services this is the information needed for a loved one or person in your bubble to give you access on (howlandsbc.online.church), the after service Zoom Home Café (I/D 845-025-6358 PW 873022). The Howlands Baptist Church website (Howlandsbaptist.org.uk)and Facebook page can be easily accessed.
UPCOMING OPENING OUT DATES
Now that spring is here and the blossom is appearing and the vaccination programme is running ahead of all expectations, the future is looking more promising for meeting again at services in the Church. The date of resuming in church will be discussed in the next week or so, and advised accordingly in due course, but it is looking likely that it may fall after all legal restrictions on social contact are fully lifted on 21st June. Of course there will be measures to safeguard individuals such as the spacing out the chairs at a safe distance. The online zoom services will continue to ensure there is seamless overlap, but tentatively, we are getting much closer to a meeting in church with no limits on numbers. This is subject to the government confirming that important life events such as Church services, weddings and funerals can go ahead at this stage
The current schedule is as follows in England:
All shops and personal services such as hairdressers, beauty salons, and selective indoor sports activities such as gym attendance (but not indoor swimming). Libraries, theme parks, spas and zoos can open. Stay cations are permitted for one household. Weddings can take place for up to 15 people. Care home visitors can have two visitors rather than one. In England pubs can serve alcohol and food outdoors.
Groups of up to 30 can meet out of doors and two households indoors. Pubs and restaurants can serve people inside. Theatres, football stadiums, museums and cinemas can reopen. Indoor group sports and exercise classes can start. Weddings can take place with up to 30 people. B&Bs and hotels can welcome visitors. Foreign travel may resume to selected places with low COVID rates and high levels of vaccination.
The government is hoping to lift all legal restrictions on social contact at this stage if events go according to plan. Advice to work from home is expected to continue after this date. There will be no limits on numbers at important life events such as church services and weddings. Some social distancing rules will remain for larger events such as nightclubs.
NEWS FROM CHRISTINE KLING (In France) - New perspectives, as at March 2021
Despite the gloomy and cold atmosphere of this winter, the first two months of 2021 have been enriched by different events.
Firstly, it was the lovely visit of Hamish Rice at end of January. You might remember Hamish, one member of the last year's action team. Hamish after his first experience of mission decided to return to France in September, in order to help the local Baptist church to set up a cafe. The idea does not sound very original from a British perspective but as usual it has to be put in context and perspective. The creation of this cafe is the result of ten years of dreams and prayers, of the conjunction of fundraising and the presence of volunteers from all over the world for making the dream real. It's not part of church French life to have a cafe attached to a church: a church is about religious stuff, not about eating cakes or crepes. Because the French have few ideas of what is central to the Christian faith: a relationship with God and relationship with others. When you get this understanding, that faith is about a personal relationship with God, you get the cafe's idea.
In one year Hamish has changed a lot. He definitely speaks more French and his vision for his future is taking shape: he is thinking of working for the church. There are not so many young people taking this leap of faith and I do hope and pray the vision will become clearer as he keeps exploring his calling.
At the end of January, we welcomed a new director at the care home. It was very much expected after one year of a temporary replacement. The care home is much in need of someone able to share a new vision and being able to gather the team together. The staff is exhausted, the pandemic has required and still requires so much energy and patience. With very few visits and limited activities the elderly can sometime behave like teenager's: one day totally apathetic and another day full of exuberant energy. Both behaviours are quite exhausting for us in charge to look after them. We do hope that, as they have all been vaccinated, restrictions will ease and we will be able to take them out for some fresh air and a sense of freedom.
For Lent this year, we have decided to start with a prayer chain : pray for 12 hours, one hour each. For many members of the church it was at first a daunting experience and I had to write a simple guide to help them. But they all enjoyed it and found the whole experience meaningful.
Then we will help a local charity that was set up during the first lock-down by a member of the Massy church, an engineer in environment. The purpose of this small charity is to collect electrical and household equipment and to send them to Togo to give them a second life. In a consumerist culture, many people are often tempted to buy a new computer, or TV or any other equipment and to throw away old ones. But an old computer or TV or washing machine can still be very useful in other parts of the world. In Togo the charity has set up a team to repair and then potentially recycle this kind of different equipment.
Lastly we will live with 1.50 euros per day for food and drink for three days during the holy week, and the money saved will go to a charity, an initiative inspired by Isaiah 58:10. It is something very similar to living below the line project which was supported by Tearfund some years ago, but France churches never heard about it.
The prayer chain and the 1.50 euros project have attracted the interest of a journalist from a catholic magazine, la Vie. She is looking for some inspiring projects for Lent : Christians inspiring other Christians. It is a family magazine many people read in France. The journalist and the photograph came this week for interviews and taking pictures. The article will be issued in two weeks. It was quite an exciting opportunity for our small church to share some of who we are and what we do.
Thank you very much for your prayers and support If you can, could you please pray
- for the care home, that we may be able to return to some "normal life" at some point in Spring
- pray for the staff and the director at the care home, for strength and patience.
- pray for our church at Gif in this special time of Lent (and beyond), that our faith may be strengthen and that new people might join us.
Thank you very much
If you would like to support Christine Kling by prayer and committed regular giving, visit bmsworldmission.org/partners or call 01235 517617 for a 24:7
THE PRAYER CHAIN
Please continue to pray for Gillian's mother Joyce, pray for her ongoing return to health and for Gillian and Peter as they provide for her needs.
Pray for children, parents and teachers for the safe return to school.
Pray for Nina Rowley, Nina had a trapped nerve from a recent fall. She is in great pain and discomfort, may the physiotherapy bring relief.
Pray for Brian Evers who is continuing his recovery at home and his wife Adrianne.
Pray for our church leadership and the way ahead and to always seek the Lord’s guidance, to have courage to follow His path whatever that may be.
Pray for Lesley Ragg and her brother as they care for their parents.
Queen and family at the loss of Duke of Edinburgh. A quote from a letter that appeared in the Times 10th April, from Ian Bradley, Emeritus professor, St.Andrews University. 'Prince Philip was a man of deep faith who had a considerable interest in theology and an impressive knowledge of the Bible....Ultimately, it was the sincere, rooted and practical Christian faith that he shared with the Queen that gave their partnership its grounding and which has nurtured the spiritual heart of the British monarchy for nearly 70 years'
If you feel the need for us to pray as a fellowship for something in your life, a family member or neighbours life, please send a message requesting The Prayer Chain by e-mail or a phone call to Stuart on 07572871447 or .
Consider joining one of scheduled prayer times on Zoom, see below for times and dates.
FUTURE SERVICE DATES ONLINE
Sunday 11th April at 10:30 A.M; Sunday 25th April - they will follow fortnightly but we will be reviewing regularly the practicalities of having services in the church building and let you know when this is possible.
JUNIOR CHURCH ON ZOOM
Junior church will be meeting on Zoom fortnightly. The future dates are Sunday 18th April and fortnightly after that at 11:00 A.M. For any further information contact Fang.
ZOOM PRAYER MEETINGS
Here is the schedule of prayers for April. Please do try to attend some of these, dip in and dip out as time permits. We must be a prayerful church, to seek God’s guidance, direction, help, and give thanks.
Tuesday 13th April @7:30 P.M; Wednesday 21st April & Friday 30th April @ 7:30 P.M
Joining Zoom Meetings: This is the asscode and ID for all the above prayer meetings: Meeting ID: 882 9469 6066 Passcode: 524536
JOIN US IN MEMBERSHIP
If you are part of our fellowship family, but have not become an “official member” you may not understand the difference. Being an official member gives you voting rights on the decisions made in the fellowship and if you wish to discuss this further please speak to the Deacons.
Fang’s House Group: This is a group meeting fortnightly on Zoom and we have been studying Psalm 86 and will be moving on to Psalm 63 (A prayer of longing for God). Meeting fortnightly on Thursday evenings at 8:00 P.M, the next scheduled Zoom meets are on 15th April; 29th April and 13th May. Any enquiries contact Fang.
Saturday Zoom Prayer & Communion Group. This group meets weekly on Saturday at 10:45 A.M. For information contact Stuart.
We take communion regularly at the online services, but what about you? We could do communion or pray with you over the phone if you like, just let Stuart know in order that we can arrange a time.
If any other members have read something of interest or a specific part of the Bible that they feel worth a deeper dive or comment, please let us know. It’s great to get feedback on what people are reading to supplement their learning of the Christian message during this lock-down.
THE COMMONS PRE-SCHOOL
The Commons Pre-School operates from the hall at the rear of the church, providing a wonderful, professional childcare service to working parents. We are proud to have such a successful and mutually beneficial working relationship with them. They have had a rocky journey recently like many other businesses, but they are slowly returning to some semblance of normality with the return to breakfast bookings, mid March (subject to government guidance). Please keep the staff, parents, and children in your prayers.
HOWLAND’S B.C. WEBSITE
(howlandsbaptist.org.uk) Go online and take a look.
HOWLAND’S B.C FACEBOOK PAGE
Go online and take a look.
HBC FELLOWSHIP NEWSLETTER
We discussed the production of a monthly Newsletter, well here it is, this being the third edition. It has details of all the activities at Howland’s Baptist Church, including the Online Church Project. It also contains interesting community information. It is so important that we are all aware of what we are doing. Alex Gray is producing this Newsletter to keep all our church community informed and engaged, please let us know if you have anything you would like to add to the newsletter for the next monthly edition (May). You can send material for inclusion by e-mail to or call him on tel: 07305 837272 .
God bless and love in Jesus’ name.
Fellowship Newsletter Coordinator.
Stuart Soper Howland’s Baptist Church Coordinator