We are not currently able to meet together for Sunday worship, so a link to the latest message, relection and notices are posted below for ease of access.

Reflection

 
Many of us will have had plans for Mothering Sunday, usually a genuinely joyful and celebratory moment in the church calendar. We certainly had plans for a special celebration as our two congregations had planned to join together this Sunday. Instead, today the national mood feels sombre and millions will understandably feel a deep level of uncertainty. None of could ever have imagined this Sunday would look or feel so different after the far-reaching changes in our day-to-day lives that have been put into effect this week. I wonder how you are feeling today. Perhaps anxious, perhaps even afraid; so much change so quickly and an unknown future. We are in a deeply unexpected place, a place that none of us would choose to be. 

St Paul had many gifts and attributes not least as a brilliant theologian and church planter. But one of the secrets of the fruitfulness of his ministry, which perhaps could be overlooked, was his ability to be able to experience the joy which his faith gave him in all circumstances however hard. And he seemed to face more extreme hardships, and more often than most of us ever will. 

Today’s reading from his second letter to the church in Corinth is a great example as he begins with praise to God-why? Because he has learned that God is the God of all compassion and comfort. And that God is with us in every situation no matter how dire. What makes Christianity unique is that we worship a God who is not remote from suffering, who is not far off, but a God who is near, who came and lived amongst us and knows what suffering pain and even death feels like. A God who knows us better than we know ourselves, who can and does comfort us. 

As a parent, as a mother my strong desire as it became clear the virus was spreading to our shores, was to have my family all safely home. There was that instinct to protect, even though of course my children are adults and are not in need of my protection. It reminds me of the lovely picture given by Jesus of how God is like a mother hen longing to gather her chicks under her wings even though the chicks are not always willing to be gathered. Any of us who have been around young children know all too well that a young hurting child’s place of comfort is to snuggle into their parent for both comfort and protection. 

None of us know what even this coming week will bring but what we do know as people of faith, is that we have a God who is infinitely compassionate, who will be with us through it all and whose nature as a heavenly parent is to protect, comfort and strengthen. That’s why when St Paul talked about being sustained by God’s grace in all the hardships he experienced, this wasn’t just eloquent words or vague hopes. Paul knew the literal reality of being emotionally, physically and spiritually strengthened, sufficient to work out the calling God had given him; the calling to support, encourage and reach out to his brothers and sisters in Christ and the churches he had founded. 

In the same way through the grace of God let’s also reach out in support and encouragement to one another, to those closest to us, our families, and to those around us in our communities, our neighbours and friends. That may be through prayer or a telephone call or an email or, if we can, by one of the many online means through social media. Or it may be practical help – do see the notice below which suggests how we may be able to serve our wider community. None of us knows how long this will last but wouldn’t it be special if each of us were able to look back when it does end and recognise that we had all grown a bit in our practical love and care for one another. So whatever you are doing this Mothering Sunday, may you know the grace of God strengthening you and enabling you to reach out with same parental love of God, in care and nurture of one another.

Notices

 
Supporting our community 
I imagine many will be thinking how can we practically serve and support our community at this time? As the crisis evolves we will continue to review this question but right now we feel the best way we can do that is if we are able to join in with what the Corfe Mullen Town Council and Corfe Mullen Home Watch have set up: CMResilience which ‘aims to harness the infrastructure of official organisations within Corfe Mullen to help support those who have the greatest need and require help. We aim to co-ordinate volunteers to be able to do the following’: Pick Up Shopping Collect Mail Collect Prescriptions Supportive Phone Calls Urgent Supplies ..... and any other needs, within our capacity, as they arise. If you can help as a volunteer and there is a need for a lot of volunteers. Please contact the Council office 01202 698600 office@corfemullen-tc.gov.uk or via Facebook CMResilience. 

Prayer 
Prayer changes things! Please join Charles and I wherever you are to pray as a church community between 8am-8.30am. Why not also join in the National Day of prayer this Sunday. Our Archbishops have called for a National Day of Prayer and Action this coming Mothering Sunday (22nd March) - light a candle at 7pm and put it in your window; ring someone who is isolated and vulnerable; buy an extra item and place it in your local food bank; keep your night shelters open. St Nicholas Church will be open for private prayer during our office hours this week but we hope to extend this. For urgent prayer requests do use the prayer chain tel: Sue Hart 01202 696335 

Giving 
I have been asked by one or two who normally give by cash or envelopes, how can they give while Sunday worship is suspended? For those who give by envelopes, we will try and deliver your envelopes to you and you can return them filled-in when you are able to. If you give by cash you may like to put the same amount away each week and bring it to the office when you are able. If however you would like to pay direct into our account you can do this via BACS. Like all charities we are reliant on the generosity of those who give and in these difficult times we will be as ever very grateful for your generosity in supporting the ministry of our churches.

Support 
Finally do not hesitate to contact Jane or Charles or the Church office if we can help or you just need to talk. 
Church Office 01202 602948 Tracie: www.parishofcorfemullen.church or Karen: stnicholascm@gmail.com 
Jane and Charles 01202 699319 revjaneb@gmail.com

Church of England | Diocese of Salisbury

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