Letter from Jamie and Linda
Dear Vineyard family.
Linda and I wanted to write to you and keep in touch as we navigate this present situation that we find ourselves in. It has been fascinating talking to my mum who remembers when she was a young girl living through a war. It was a time of restricted movement, rationing, air raids and uncertainty.
She reminded me that times of trouble and uncertainty always bring out the best in the church, because we are a people of hope. Our 'Hope' and 'Trust' are in the Lord. The Psalms tell us again and again, to 'Trust the Lord…' and we know that Jesus has a plan of salvation for his people.
However, when I say trust, I in no way want to minimize the challenges we all face. The scale and impact of these challenges will be vastly different for each person as we consider them across our church family. For some of us there are health concerns, others financial, job security is a threat to many, those who are self-employed or who lead businesses the future is unknown.
In addition to this many in our community working on the front line in Local Government, the care sector or the NHS… You are working harder than ever under very difficult circumstances.
There is not one person in our community who is not affected, we each face our own challenges, and so Linda and I want to say that we love you, are praying for you and are cheering you on at this time. And let me encourage you again to TRUST the Lord as God's people.
Ps 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
This verse has taken a whole new meaning in the last few weeks as our very nation has been shaken. In these times of challenge, we want to encourage you all to remember the promises and comforts of God's word, looking to the rock that is higher (Psalm 61:2). God promises us:
- The hairs on your head are numbered (Lk 12:7)
- Your times are in His hands (Ps 31:15)
- Jehovah Rapha, I am the Lord that heals (Ex 15:26)
- Jehovah Rohi – The Lord is my Shepherd (Ps 23)
- Elohim – He is the all-powerful God (Deut 10:17)
This is why we can look to heaven and put our trust in Jesus…
On a practical note I want to update you on things we are doing to actively support our church and community.
We have spent enormous amount of time and energy to make Sunday services still happen through our online service. Small groups are then able to connect together to encourage us all to rise in worship, in the presence of God, in our homes. The feedback we have received has been so encouraging, and we are so thrilled many of you interacted with us online.
This has been for Pastors and Church communities up and down the country a daunting task, but through the efforts of many of you giving of your time energy and money has enabled us to produce a more intimate service that would better enable families to worship in their homes during this lock down period. I want to commend to you the creative teams and staff who made this possible.
We believe that online services are one of God's tools for this season to release the Gospel into potentially thousands of homes. This means we can continue to steam a service each Sunday at 10.30am for kids church and 11:00am for our main service.
Our prayer is that God would open a door into thousands of homes in our City and beyond, releasing His love and hope into many lives as people's attention is turned to heaven. Many are searching in this time for peace and hope, and as Christians we know where they can find the help they need.
Thank you also for interacting on social media to promote our service, we would love it if you could continue to do so and send us stories during the week of breakthrough and God moments.
I have had stories pop into my in box telling me of people who are coming to faith as they have read something you have wrote on social media as to how you have turned to God during this crisis and found hope. I know some of our leaders have been inviting neighbours to online quiz nights and setting up neighbourhood looking out for each other groups.
My younger brother Charles is my hero, he works for the NHS as a theatre assistant. His work mainly revolves around eye operations. Last week they closed one of his operating theatres to turn it into an intensive care unit. They asked for volunteers to work on the wards with covid19 patients on ventilators. Their shifts are between 12 -13 hours a day. My brother has never dealt with situations like this before but was one of the first to volunteer.
I phoned Charles this week to see how he was doing, and found out that he had just came off a thirteen-hour shift, went to his local supermarket and bought lots of boxes of chocolates. He then proceeded to go around the store staff who were stacking shelves giving them boxes of Chocolates thanking them for their service. He said “because you are doing your job I can do mine…. thank you!” That act of kindness released something in those shop assistants spirit, it boosted their moral, it encouraged them and changed atmospheres. Truly the big is so often in the small. There are many unsung hero’s rising to the challenges we face just now and I’m so proud of you all.
Please keep the stories, testimonies, pictures coming in. You can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Although we can't meet face to face we miss you all, I'm so proud of our team who are working so hard to resource us in this season of opportunity.
So, going forward we'll continue kids' church from 10:30 then please join us at 11:00 for our main Sunday service do please follow us on our social media channels and invite as many people to join us as possible. Church web site https://glasgowvineyard.org
We are also keeping our Youth and Children connected. Teeny and the kids team have been working hard producing children's materials, and we all enjoyed their TV debut on Sunday!
Here is an update from Teeny. “The team and I are creating various midweek connection points for each kids church group, these will be launched within the next couple of weeks. We are also launching videos/audios throughout the week to keep your child connecting with God & with each other. These include Friday night Bible Book at Bedtime, Worship Aerobics and New Tune Tuesday!
We are working on keeping the children and their families across our communities connected through our Babies & Toddlers Group. Our Facebook page, @GVBabiesandToddlers is a great place for weekly song times and next week we are hoping to launch a Zoom Toddler Group before or after songs.
There are lots of exciting new things happening and we hope & pray that they will be a blessing to you all in this difficult time.
With love, Teeny & the team”
If you missed kids church this week , you can still find it on Glasgow Vineyard website just click on the video button and then click on walking through the Valley and you will get the kids worship and story as well as the message of the week.
Many of you will be wondering what is happening with our store house Foodbank. The great news is that currently this can continue with some more stringent measures to both protect our team and clients. A point of prayer is for protection for our team as they selflessly meet the need of those who are hungry and in need. If you wish to contribute by supplying food you can drop off donations to 4 Linden Street, Anniesland on a Thursday between 1:30 and 3:00 or on Saturday between 10:00am and 12:00. (Unfortunately we cannot collect food from you that you would like to donate) If you would like more information please contact Peter Fowler by emailing him at email@example.com
There will be a video update on our food bank in the next couple of weeks.
Obviously, we don't know how long, and what measures will be implemented over the next few weeks and months, but we do know we will thrive as a community. Already I am hearing stories on whatsapp groups, zoom calls, testimonies, and so I can't encourage you enough to continue to be the people of hope we are. We all have our networks, but this is a great time to invite others in, the older or vulnerable, neighbours and work colleagues. Isolation can keep us separate, or give us an opportunity to blur the work, social and church boundaries into one…
As we proceed through this season, centrally we will listen to advice, exercise wisdom in all we do, and endeavour to bring glory and praise to our Lord Jesus. These are unusual times and we may make some mistakes along the way; somebody might get missed, or a word misunderstood. Please bear with us in this season as we do not have all the resources that we normally have, however we have the Holy Spirit and all of you… Please let us all be full of grace towards each other and as Paul says to the Thessalonians:
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
As I close this letter, let me go back to where I started, times of trouble bring out the best in the church because of the hope we carry. When the church was scattered in the New Testament, the people found a way and worshipped God in their homes, people were healed and saved, miracles happened, and the church grew. As difficult as this situation is, we know that God turns all things for good. He always has a plan and it is His plan that we are all invited to partner with today.
My prayer is for a miraculous intervention causing this Covid-19 virus to die, but also that the Holy Spirit would change the landscape of the Church in this nation. Calling the Church to wake from its sleep, as scattered witnesses in our City and beyond, proclaiming the goodness of God and the saving power of Jesus at every opportunity. That each one of us would be empowered and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, and that the Church rises to become the 'Bride of Christ.'
We love you all
Jamie and Linda