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Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:friend],

Welcome to the January newsletter from St Peter's Church. In this newsletter you'll see the dates and times of our services in January and beyond, and details about what else we're up to as a church family.
2022

Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone,

How are the resolutions coming on? As usual, I made my resolutions while I was off with nothing to do and therefore was a bit too ambitious with what I thought I could achieve. Here we are, the first day back at work and I’m wondering how I’m going to fit it all in. Ask me on Sunday and I suspect the resolutions will have been well and truly shelved. So, if all of your plans aren’t quite working out as you might have hoped, you’re in good company!

Don’t get me wrong, I actually think that resolutions are a great thing. Not because I’m a big fan of self-improvement but because our resolutions are a sign of enduring hope. Think about it, at the darkest time of the year, in the middle of a pandemic, our resolutions show that we still believe that there are better days to come. As Annie sang “The sun will come out tomorrow..”

Our faith is all about enduring hope. Not a resolution type hope for bigger muscles or a smaller waistline, but real hope that lasts. It’s a hope that is based on a God with a track record for keeping his promises and wildly exceeding our expectations or imaginations. So, keep the faith and keep drawing close to God because the best is yet to come.

With love

Jess
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Learning Together in 2022

One of the projects we’ll be taking part in at the beginning of this year is some shared learning around faith and sexuality. This is a national Church of England initiative called Living in Love and Faith. All churches are being asked to take part in guided discussions around this subject and then to feedback some thoughts into the bigger conversation that is happening at General Synod. This is really important as the national church discerns together the way forward. It’s a tricky and emotive subject but the course deals with it really gently.

The course will last 10 weeks in total. In the first five weeks, we’ll be looking more generally at how we live and learn well together. In the second set of five weeks, we will look more in depth at faith and sexuality. There will be two groups per week; a daytime course who meet face to face in church and an evening course who will meet on Zoom both starting in the first week in February. The hope is that there will be a time and format which will suit most people.

For the next few weeks there will be a sign-up sheet at the back of church just so that we can gauge interest. If you would like to join one of the groups, pop you name on the sheet or send an email to vicar@stpeterschurch.co.uk
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COVID-19

Unfortunately, the pandemic is not going away, the Omicron and Delta variants are still circulating in very high numbers. This increases the likelihood that we will come into contact with someone who has the virus or may even have the virus ourselves and be asymptomatic. The good news is that most of us in church are vaccinated and boosted. This does not mean that we can’t catch the virus or pass it on to others, but it does mean we are less likely to become seriously ill.

We can all help to protect ourselves and each other in church by continuing to wear face coverings, practicing social distancing and washing or sanitising our hands regularly. Often, there is a tendency to use less precautions around people we know and trust, however, the virus doesn’t work like that so it is important that we continue to follow the safety precautions even around those we know and love.

There is no intention currently to reinstate the online services, however, due to the amount of people who may need to isolate or may wish to shield themselves, we will be posting a link each week to the national Church of England service to enable those who need to to worship from home.
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Midweek Communion

We’re starting a series working our way through the letters in the Bible, beginning with 1 John, on a Wednesday morning at 10am. Please do feel free to join us. If you can’t get to church but would like to receive an audio recording of the reading and the talk, please get in touch and we’ll get that to you.
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For your diary

We hope that you can join us each Sunday in church for our 10AM service, with the Revd Jess.

Some of our less mobile members find it difficult to get to church on their own. If anyone can help with offers of lifts, or if you would like a lift, please let Leif or Wendy know and they will do their best to coordinate.

Details for all of these events and services are available on our website.
  • Wednesday 5th January – 10am - Midweek Communion
  • Thursday 6th January – 1pm - St Peter’s Playtime
  • Sunday 9th January – 10am - Traditional Worship with Holy Communion
  • Sunday 9th January – 11.15am – Sunday School
  • Wednesday 12th January – 10am – Midweek Communion
  • Thursday 13th January – 1pm - St Peter’s Playtime
  • Sunday 16th January – 10am - Contemporary Worship with Holy Communion
  • Sunday 16th January – 11.15am – Sunday School
  • Wednesday 19th January – 10am - Midweek Communion
  • Thursday 20th January – 1pm - St Peter’s Playtime
  • Sunday 23rd January – 10am - Traditional Worship with Holy Communion
  • Sunday 23rd January – 11.15am – Sunday School
  • Wednesday 26th January – 10am - Midweek Communion
  • Thursday 27th January – 1pm - St Peter’s Playtime
  • Sunday 30th January – 10am - Contemporary Worship with Holy Communion
  • Sunday 30th January – 11.15am – Sunday School
Prayer Ministry Team members will be available every Sunday to pray with anyone should the need arise. If you aren't in church for the Sunday service but would like prayer, please contact us - the Holy Spirit can cope with a telephone call. Please don't worry or suffer alone.

Prayer for January

Lord, we ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present with us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the year ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you would be honoured by our lives, and others would be drawn to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

And finally

If you need support in any way - prayer, or practical help - please contact us on our special email address: support@stpetersbirstall.co.uk.

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you have suggestions for things we can put in it please do get in touch.
Thanks for reading. God bless you all.

St Peter's Church, Birstall
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