Stay Connected! 

AN UPDATE FROM VIC, Thursday 18th February:

Dear Church Family

For those of you having a half term break we hope you have had a chance to rest and enjoy the milder weather. 

As I write this letter to you on Ash Wednesday, I am reminded of these words from Isaiah 61 ‘The Spirt of the Sovereign Lord is on me…’  Jesus quoted these words as he began his public ministry, which would have been shocking for the hearers at the time. At the end of John’s gospel, the resurrected Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ The Spirit reminds us of our identity, that we belong to Jesus and are children of God. Today Jesus is breathing on us. I encourage you to reflect on these words, ‘The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me’. I pray that as you journey with Jesus throughout this Lenten period that you will know that the Spirit of the Lord is on you and will experience the Holy Spirit breathing upon you and reminding you of your identity. 
 
Prayer in February
For the month of February, we are invited to set aside time every evening to pray for the nation, particularly at 6pm each day. Here are the rolling seven day themes for our prayers:

• Sunday - Family, friends and loved ones
• Monday - Schools and colleges, children and young people 
• Tuesday - Elderly, isolated and vulnerable 
• Wednesday - Businesses, the workplace and economic wellbeing
• Thursday - The NHS and other key workers
• Friday - National and local governments 
• Saturday - All who are grieving and all suffering with physical and mental ill-health. 

Fairtrade Fortnight in February (22nd February – 7th March)
There are some great activities and resources for people of all ages to engage with the importance or Fairtrade, you can find out more here. It's also a great time to consider making more of your grocery shopping fair trade. Visit the Traidcraft website and discover some great products and learn more about the Traidcraft story. As ever, David and Rhiannon Neale will be delighted to assist you with any orders and also help you with a free, covid-safe, home delivery! Contact Rhiannon via the church office. 
 
Archbishop’s Lent Course 
We are running the Archbishop’s Lent course looking at Hannah Steele’s book about sharing love and faith “Living His Story”.  We will gather on a Thursday evening 7.30pm, via Zoom, beginning 18th Feb.  You will need to get a copy of the book.  For more information contact the church office or Christine Burgess.
 
Mental Health Evening
We are hosting an evening together on Zoom from 8pm-9pm on Tuesday 23rd February to look at how we can care well for ourselves and others – Ramin Salehi will be sharing insights and resources with us, and the evening will be open to all and as an evening for life groups to join en masse.  For the Zoom code please contact the office.
 
Worship Time 4
Bill Holliday has produced a new Worship Time, revisiting some of the songs we don’t sing as much these days in church. Barbara Handley has produced the visuals to go with the songs. It will be available on the Church YouTube site from Sunday. If you are unable to access YouTube then a CD can be arranged through the Church office.

This Sunday at STK:
On Sunday we’re looking at how we grow as disciples of Jesus, with a particular focus on returning home and receiving the fathers love. We will be looking at the parable of the two sons (or the loving father) from Luke 15:11-32
 
Jesus told the stories in Luke 15 as a response to the grumbling of the Pharisees and teachers of the law who weren’t happy that he was partying with all the ‘wrong’ people. 
 
Here are some questions for you to look at as you prepare for Sunday or to study in your life groups.
 
1. Read verses 11-16. Describe all the ways in which the younger son brings shame to his family.
2. Read verses 17-24. How does the way the Father respond to his youngest son invite you to reorient the way you see God? Why is your view of God so important? 
3. Describe a time when you have felt you didn’t deserve the Father’s love or to be called a son or daughter. 
4. Read verses 25-32. What do you notice about the oldest sons’ language, perspective, and attitude?
5. We easily become like the “older brother” in this story. Where do you see the “older brother” attitude in your own life? Has your life become more about what you can accomplish than enjoying the love of your Father?
6. Describe a time recently when you were living more like a “slave” than a son or daughter. 
7. How can we celebrate the party of God’s love in such a way as to welcome not only the younger sons who have returned home but also the older sons who thought there was nothing wrong with them?
8. Spend time repenting of your tendencies to be either the youngest son or eldest son using the words of Ps 51:1-3, 10-12. Praise the Father for his unconditional love and receive afresh His love for you.  
 
The service will be live streamed at 10am followed by Zoom Coffee – do come along and join in!  The code remains the same.
 
God Bless,

Vic