Dear All,

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many who have worked tirelessly over the last few months in our church communication team. Our thanks also go to the wonderful CRAG team, who have made such a huge effort in raising money for the church roof repairs. They have worked hard to keep up the momentum of grant applications, fund-raising events and information sharing over the last 5 years. Special mention should be made of their efforts in completing Grant Applications.  These are complex and demanding documents requiring many hours’ research and painstaking detailed work.

We also thank all the fund-raisers for the Roof Fund.  Whether you have donated already, or are considering sponsoring a slate or three, thank you for joining with us in this final effort to bring about completion of repairs this autumn/winter.

It is amazing to think how God has honoured our prayers, as we have sought to make Holy Trinity Stapleton fit for use for coming generations and our own time.  We will continue to do so, as we seek to reach out and extend welcome to all.  While many of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ethical statements ring true for our situation,  we are grateful that in the end we have not had to advertise a gambling institution in our church building, but we can be who we are as HTS.  We conducted a Half Night of Prayer in January to seek God’s will concerning an HLF Grant among other matters, and our prayers have been clearly answered.  God is providing without our need to risk compromising our biblical beliefs.

So we enter a new season. Yet the strangeness of the preceding months since March 23 goes with us. Not only unease, but for many people real distress, anxiety, sadness, loss and pain. We continue to seek out those hurting in our community and wish to offer comfort and consolation through Jesus Christ.

As a nation and a world community, have we learned our lesson from these times?

You may have a different version of what the lessons are that should be being learned. However, principal among them in my view is this: Be emptied of pride and seek the Lord Who is God. There is a famous hymn: ‘At the Name of Jesus’, and it contains the line about Jesus’ life on earth, ‘Humbled for a season…’ Have we been brought to our knees? Have we ‘tried praying’ Are we seeking God in penitence and faith? When we are at our wit’s end, especially, do we ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill us again, as Jesus promised He would (Luke 11: 13)?

Three events to highlight in your diaries:

September 6 Climate Sunday service with guest speaker Deborah Tomkins (Bristol Diocese and Green Christian 10.30am in church and 6pm by Zoom.

September 7 An hour with Ruth (Harding). Join us with a ‘sofa interview’ in which Ruth shares with us reflections from her year’s placement at St Martin’s, Knowle. Ruth is our ordinand entering her third year of training at Trinity College Bristol. Email sundaylive2020@gmail.com to request Zoom details if you do not have these.

October 4 Harvest Sunday with guest leader/preacher Janet Donnelly 10.30am in church and 6pm Zoom.

Blessings for a fruitful autumn,

Charles.

PS If you haven’t managed to enjoy Zoom yet (Sunday Service or weekly Prayer Meeting) it is not too late to try. Email sundaylive2020@gmail.com to request a talk through on the phone. All you need is to own a phone (not even an iphone), and it is possible to connect and participate if you wish.

* Try Praying – a booklet ‘for those who don’t do Church’ https://www.trypraying.co.uk/