New! 24th March: A message from Rev Andy Saville

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way.
Psalm 46.1-2

Everyday brings new developments, and changes that would have been barely imaginable even a few weeks ago.

Situations vary so widely amongst us: for some huge demands or concerns for livelihood, health or well-being; for others a sudden becalming from the usual business of life. For most of us there is a deep concern for our nation and our world as it battles the pandemic.

Yet the most important things are unchanged and rock solid: God is still reigning and remains an ever-present help in trouble. We have a God who brings peace where there is fear; love where there is need; good out of evil; and hope for the future. As we sang on Sunday:

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

We are already beginning to discover new ways of being a church family. We see our community coming together and neighbours caring for each other. And it may be that through this time of trial and national emergency many people will review their priorities and seek the Lord.

May we come to share Paul’s testimony, by God’s mercy:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
we do not lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4.8, 16

The Church is open – though the building is closed

In the light of Government guidance, the Diocese of London has now temporarily closed all church buildings. This week we may even broadcast our online service from the Vicar’s study. While we love and value our ancient building, the real church is always the people. And nothing can stop us worshipping, praying, growing and living as followers of Jesus Christ.

The Congregation is growing – though the services have stopped

As I write, there have been well over 700 views of our 10am Sunday service, broadcast on YouTube. Many of those ‘views’ will have been families, like mine gathered on the sitting room sofa, and so a huge congregation. How wonderful that having to stop our usual services means that many more people have joined us in worship. Even the technical gremlins couldn’t quench the presence of the Holy Spirit.

We’ve also got a page of brilliant resources for prayer, worship and bible teaching for all ages on the All Saints’ Laleham website. Do take a look and come back as we add new ideas.

The Community is coming together – though we cannot meet

For the Church family, the Fellowship Phone Line is about to start this week. The hope is that everyone will receive a call just to ask how we’re each doing, and if there is anything that we can pray for each other. It’s entirely optional, but I hope a real blessing.

For the local community, Laleham Friends is tremendous partnership of Laleham Good Neighbours, Laleham Residents Association, and All Saints’ Church. The contact number is 07434 433 844, or email lalehamfriends@gmail.com, to volunteer or if you have a practical need. Thank you so much to everyone who has already responded.

Finally, a prayer I been saying, written by the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

With my prayers and every blessing,

Rev Andy Saville
Vicar, All Saints’ Laleham.