Vicar's update 23rd MarchSteve Newbold1

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you
Psalm 55:22  
 
Thank you to all who joined us yesterday for our first live streamed service.  We apologise for some of the technical difficulties – especially to those of you who had to lie on your sides to watch us!  Events are moving quickly and the Bishops have now instructed all churches in London to close their doors to the public.  That means we can no longer gather a small group to live stream a Sunday service.  However, we are already working on producing a different and more easily accessible act of worship for future Sundays so that we can continue to gather together.  More details later in the week.
 
Given the Bishop’s decision, we can no longer open the Church each day for people to pop in and pray.  The planned Quiet Morning and evening Earth hour will not happen in church and the organisers aim to email those on their contact lists with some resources to use individually at home.
 
As you will know the Coronavirus pandemic is so serious that we have called the whole church to a day of prayer and fasting this Wednesday (25th).  Obviously we cannot gather together but we are encouraging you to take part at home by:
         Devoting some extra time to prayer
         Prayer walking (keeping a safe social distance from others)
         Fasting – maybe give up a meal and pray instead Last week Sam Sanya taught us about the value of combining prayer with fasting and we want to turn that into action as we pray for God to intervene and stop the advance of this virus. Please, use this Wednesday to fast and pray.
 
Recently we distributed new St Stephen’s prayer lists to help us remember in prayer all the people and groups at our church.  If you didn’t pick one up I have attached it here, why not print it out and use it every day – especially as we cannot now meet together.
 
During these unprecedented times, please do not forget the work of the Ealing Foodbank.  Although most of us are facing difficulties in buying some products, there are many in our neighbourhood who can’t afford to buy anything and so our gifts are needed more than ever.  As we can no longer provide a drop off point at church, please do consider using a collection box at a local supermarket for an extra item or two each time you shop. 
 
Despite all the changes that we face, we are still in the season of Lent and our financial appeal for our partner dioceses in Mozambique and Angola goes on.  Coronavirus has now reached these countries too and their health care system is so much less able to cope. If you are able to donate, the safest thing to do is to write a cheque and post it to me or place it in the Church post box.  Alternatively you can telephone Jane Maffett (07711 450213) to make a card payment.  However you give, if you are able to Gift Aid please say so and we will sort out the details later on.
 
Finally, can I remind you of the seriousness of the situation facing us all?  Do not leave your homes unless you really have to (i.e. to buy food or take some exercise) and if you are older or particularly vulnerable you should not be leaving home at all. 
 
Have a good week and please do keep safe and well.

Steve