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e-Letter

April 3, 2020

Dear West View family

As we enter our second week of lockdown, I invite you to read and meditate on this scripture that Paul wrote from his own lockdown – that of being in prison:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

My prayer is that each one of you will know the peace that flows from God guarding your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER WORSHIP 2020

Every day from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday (with the exception of Holy Saturday), we will post a worship service or meditation on YouTube. The link will be shared on the WhatsApp Broadcast, and all services will go live at 8h30am. In the meantime, subscribe to us on YouTube and click on the bell to receive notifications of new videos.  I encourage you to approach these services differently to how you approach other YouTube clips. They are not intended to be watched quickly whilst multi-tasking. Rather, they are intended to be worship encounters with the living God. 

Here are some guidelines to help make these worship encounters spaces where you are fully present to, and so encounter, the Holy Spirit:

  1. Gather your household together for the service.
  2. Try and find a way of making the space you will worship in feel sacred. Light a candle, orientate your chair to your garden, or place a flower or potted plant as a focal point.
  3. Put your phone on silent as you would for a normal church service. You may wish to turn off notifications as well.
  4. Become aware, not just of God’s presence with you, but also of your connectedness across space and time with the rest of the congregation who is sharing in the worship experience.
  5. As you connect, send a greeting comment on the chat board, just as you would greet people when you arrive at church. Doing so enriches our experience of community.

In addition to the above general guidelines, there are some worship aids which you will be invited to use during the worship services:

Holy Monday: If possible, find a jagged stone or rock small enough to hold in one hand. Have it with you for the time of response after the message (Don’t worry, we won’t ask you to throw it at anyone!)

Holy Tuesday: You will need something to write on and with.

Holy Wednesday: You will need some nails, bread and wine/grape juice (not for communion), flowers or a beautiful picture or some other item that speaks to you of beauty.

Maundy Thursday: Gather for worship at a table, with seven candles or t-lights. At a particular point in the service, you will light the candles, and then extinguish them one by one as we read through Mark’s telling of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Easter Sunday: If possible, prepare a chalice with grape juice and a slice of bread or roll for Holy Communion. If you are watching with other members of your household, have separate glasses prepared for each member. As we share in Holy Communion, we acknowledge that God is not limited by geography in binding us together at His table of grace.

WALKING WITH WEST VIEW VLOG

The Holy Week Services will replace the Walking with West View Vlog during Holy Week. The Vlogs will start again on Easter Monday.

WEST VIEW IS A GENEROUS COMMUNITY

Tithes and offerings for March exceeded budget by R32 782 (7.3%), giving us a year to date surplus of R27 655. Thank you for your generosity during this time of lockdown.

BREAD FOR DITSHEGO

Rev Charlie Wernich from Lyttelton Methodist managed to secure a donation of bread from Sasko. Phineas dropped the donation off to staff and volunteers in Mooiplaas who distributed it to the families of our children from the projects in Mooiplaas.  The same was done yesterday with the donations from Woolworths.  We are really fortunate to have staff and volunteers living in Mooiplaas as it helps with the distribution. Here’s some pictures of Charlie delivering the bread to Ditshego’s House of Safety. Thank you Charlie!

WHATSAPP BROADCAST

Almost 350 people have subscribed to our WhatsApp broadcast, and this is fast becoming a key communication channel. If you are on WhatsApp and haven’t joined yet, do so by

  1. Saving the number 072 537 2384 on your contacts
  2. Send a WhatsApp with your full name to the number

You will automatically be added to the broadcast, and will receive regular updates, including the “Walk with West View” Vlog and links to our worship services.

In closing, I share with you the prayer that John van de Laar led us in during our first online service on 22nd March. I invite you to use this prayer in your own prayers of intercession for victory over the pandemic.

We pray for our world, O God. For the thousands of families who are grieving lost loved ones, and for the hundreds of thousands who live with the grief of not knowing whether they or their loved ones will survive. Comfort them and make your grace and presence a strong presence for them.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We pray for governments and global agencies that are scrambling to respond to this pandemic. We pray for wisdom and cooperation, and that they will put our global, connected interests above all national or personal concerns.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19— researchers seeking a vaccine, health care workers putting their own lives in danger as they test those at risk and care for the sick, workers who keep our society functioning—cleaning our garbage, providing food, keeping shops open, fixing our infrastructure, and quietly doing hundreds of other jobs that are usually unrecognised, but that are essential to our survival. Fill them with your strength and grace, O God. Protect them and their families and help us to show them how much we appreciate their sacrifice.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves and our families. That you would strengthen our faith and keep us from being crippled by fear. Open our hearts and keep us connected with one another even as we are forced to put physical distance between us. Give us wisdom as we navigate being careful—both for our own sakes and that of our neighbours— and doing what is necessary to keep our lives going. Fill us with your compassion, courage, wisdom and resilience that we may find the best way through this valley of the shadow of death.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

And we pray for the Church across the world as we are forced out of our old routines and habits, and seek a new way to do community, and to serve our neighbours. We pray for humility, grace and faithfulness to flow through us so that we may be agents of your healing and love to everyone around us.

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We thank you for moments like this when we can reconnect with you, O God. And when we can draw strength for the next stage of this challenging season— whatever it may hold.

AMEN

Grace and Peace

Ian

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