Thought for the Week: Breathe
As we know by now the Coronavirus attacks the lungs and, even in ‘mild’ cases, can make it difficult to breathe. If you’ve ever had a chest infection or a bad cold then you might remember something of what this feels like. It sounds quite frightening in the reports I’ve read. It reminded me of a spate of bad chest infections and asthma I had as a teenager.
I sincerely hope and pray that we are beginning to see Covid19 become less prevalent in our communities and our risk of catching it is starting to drop. The fear of catching it though is very real. One of the consequences of fear is that our breathing becomes more shallow. Our body gets ready for fight or flight and we breath more quickly. Parts of our brain then begin to shut off and we become more like our animal, instinctive selves in order to deal with a threat to our survival. The problem with a longer term threat, like the fear of a virus as opposed to an attack by a wild animal, means that we can keep breathing in a shallow and anxious way, our bodies stay in a constant state of readiness and our brains are unable to process our fear.
At Pentecost we read about the breath of God’s Spirit. In John’s Gospel Jesus is said to literally breathe the Spirit into his disciples. Breath is a sign of life in the Old Testament and having God’s breath within us a sign of our being children of God, created and loved by him. Deep breathing (from the diaphragm) is one way of reducing anxiety and stress, allowing the body to relax, the mind still. It helps us focus on the present and rationalise the threats we worry about and the risks we face. There are mindfulness Apps like Headspace that can help us to learn and relearn good breathing. It may help this Pentecost Season too if we ask in prayer for a sense of God’s breath flowing in and out of us, protecting, healing, bringing light and life.
Revd Canon Rachel Wood
"Fill us with your Spirit"
There is still time for those of you who haven’t already done so to make a video or audio file saying “Fill us with your Spirit” for our Pentecost online service. This can be recorded in English but we’d love it if it was also recorded in another language too! The recordings can be sent to Ben via WhatsApp on 07972 717 783 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.And don’t forget to hang your doves and flames in your window. (Templates below!)
Pentecost Pub Quiz
There is to be a Pentecostal Pub Quiz via Zoom on Sunday 31st May at 8pm. Visit the Events page on our website and you can RSVP and register for this. https://www.stmarysmonkseaton.org.uk/events
Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday when we’ll think about World Environment Day (which is actually on Friday 5th June).
Congratulations Margaret Evans
Margaret Evans has been recommended for training as a Reader starting in September and Margaret will be a great asset to our Staff Team here at St Mary’s. Congratulations Margaret from all at St Mary’s.
100 Club Winners
The winners for May are: £50 Peter and Rosemay Dunlop; £30 Pat Bottrill; £20 Bryan Morgan. Cheques will be given after the lockdown.
Our Online Coffee Morning is a success, and we will be keeping it going. If you are able to join us online between 10:30am and 11:15am on Tuesdays we’d love to see you.
Go to ‘Events’ on our website: stmarysmonkseaton.org.uk/events to RSVP and get a link to join via Zoom. You would need to click on RSVP and enter you name and email address and click on ‘submit’. An email is then sent to you with a link to the Coffee Morning. If you haven’t already got Zoom, you can get it for free on your computer, tablet or phone. You could download it now from https://zoom.us.
Because they've had to cease direct contact with service users, our colleagues at ‘Walking With’ have for the time being closed their centre in Wallsend and are unable to accept food or clothing donations
As an alternative way of supporting their refugee and asylum seeker clients, ‘Walking With’ are using financial donations to purchase and donate Tesco vouchers for food and essentials while the lockdown continues. They've spent nearly £2000 to date on vouchers, and will need to purchase more to continue the much needed support for their clients and their families.
Donations will be welcomed, preferably by electronic transfer, or cheques payable to 'Walking With North Tyneside'. If you can gift aid please let them know. They will need your details.
Unity Trust Bank/ Customer: Walking With/ Account: 20160878/ Sort Code: 60-83-01
Walking With in North Tyneside, Hugh Street, Wallsend, NE28 6RL
New Daily Hope Phone Line
“Daily Hope” offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. The line – which is available FREE, 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind. You can select options to listen to Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer updated daily, and a recording of the Church of England weekly national online service. A section called ‘Hymn Line’ offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled ‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection.
There’s a webpage with ideas for volunteering during Covid-19, which will be continually updated with new information. https://www.newcastle.anglican.org/Generosity/Covid-19/volunteering/
Two NEW ways to volunteer are:
Age UK – Call in Time is a free telephone friendship service for people 60 and over. You are matched up with a likeminded person who's keen to make a new friend, and every week they'll give you a call. Not having someone to talk to regularly can be lonely, particularly if you're used to sharing your home and time with others. A friendly, 30-minute chat on the phone every week can make all the difference.
Age UK – Become a Digital Buddy
Gift Aid and Planned Giving
Please contact Rosie Tate if you would like a Gift Aid statement regarding the tax year just ended, or if you have any questions regarding Planned Giving during lockdown. (email@example.com; Tel: 297 0869).
Recognising how impactful the coronavirus and isolation can be to our mental health, The Church of England has provided some mental health resources, including tips for dealing with loneliness, daily reflections on various issues, and links to support providers. You can access the resources here:
Your Prayers are requested for
Rest in Peace
David Thomas William Irvin
Don’t forget, you can still add someone to the list by emailing or phoning as usual, but you need to get their permission before adding them to the sick list.
Do let us know if you or others are celebrating any special event or anniversary so that we can put this news into our future email letters. You can do this by leaving a message on the church office answerphone 0191 251 4216 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org