The chapel met to have an open air service today for the first time since the start of the Covid crisis. Twenty three people each in their socially distanced groups met for a short service of prayer and reflection as well as listening to the two set readings for this Sunday. The weather was kind and shone upon us too
Rev Farai Mapamula says "Happy Easter everyone! Good wishes to you all and your families. I hope this finds you well. I am very well and loving the weather.
Easter was a really beautiful time for reflection for me. I appreciated the quiet, the almost forced sense of 'slowness'. But I also appreciate that some of us may have found this really difficult. I mentioned to my family that this was a very strange Easter for me. The response from my daughter was not one I had expected. She asked me what was strange about almost relieving the Gospel experience of being huddled behind closed doors and fearing for our lives? What was strange about not being at the synagogue but breaking bread and sharing in our own homes?
I don't know what you think but this gave me pause for thought, because this is not what I'm used to - usually I am worshipping together in communion and loads of hot cross buns.
But the essence of the cross and death and resurrection remain the same - light over darkness, righteousness over evil - life over death - hope over despair - death conquered and resurrection into new life! We remain Easter people who hope, and love, and pray.
Because we see Easter hope around us in many ways, only if we dare to stop, listen, observe and reflect."
You can download her further reflections on Easter week here
Easter Sunday would have seen a Bicentenary service being led by Rev Warren Bardsley who was our minister here in Whitacre Chapel from 1977 to 1982. He has sent us his blessing and a service outline sheet for the day.
Please download and read the service and enjoy.
In addition to the streamed service today - Rev. Chris Giles would have been with us today and passed these words on.
I shall miss being with you all on Sunday morning. I always so enjoy joining in worship with you at Nether Whitacre - you are a real tonic! I can picture you all, even as I write and I bring you to God in my prayers. I loved Farai’s message last Sunday. Do join me in praying for her. It is incredibly hard being so far from family. Many of us are getting a tiny glimpse of that as we self isolate and are no longer able to see family and friends.
I had been thinking about the theme of ‘Our journey through Lent’ for this Sunday’s Service. Far more appropriate now is ‘Our journey through Coronavirus’. It’s ironic that many of us are in the habit of giving things up for Lent. Little did we anticipate just how much we would be forced to give up this Lent! But as we give up the human interaction that is so precious to us, the hugs I miss so much, maybe our small sacrifice can be offered to God, and He can transform it in ways we would not even dream of.
The verse I seek to live by is Romans 8:28 “We know that in all things God is working for good with those who love Him.“ In the darkest places of my life following my dear sister’s suicide, in faith I claimed that verse and trusted God to weave His purposes when humanly things made no sense at all. Can I encourage you, dear friends, to dare to claim that verse in this situation? Can we dare to believe that in His mysterious ways, God will bring good out of all this? Amidst the pain and suffering, we are seeing it already. People caring for one another in creative ways, communities setting up support links, people forced to re-think priorities. As we struggle to establish a daily routine, let’s make prayer a priority, let’s turn to God’s Word for strength. The prayer group at Solihull set up a prayer time at 9.30a.m. this morning and Marjorie Evans sent me Psalm 86: 1 - 10. Let’s share encouraging Bible verses. Let’s pray for people to turn to Jesus.
I found last Sunday’s District service a real blessing. I pray God will teach us new things during this time. I pray we’ll be willing to be changed. Keep strong, dear friends, encourage one another and let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. God bless you all.
With my love and prayers
She also sent this reflection which can be accessed here
The Birmingham District rose to the challenge of the lock down restrictions with live streaming from various locations to bring together another service.If you missed it the service sheet is below.
A new poster has been erected to publicly remind people that it is to hundred years since we were founded in the village.
Our volunteers put this up with all the necessary social distancing measures being observed often with one of us at the top of a ladder and another at the bottom!
Next time you are passing on an essential trip or walking past on a health walk do admire it.
Christians are being asked to light a candle in the window around 7pm tonight. This is to show a light of hope and a call to prayer in these troubled times.
If you missed today service the video is now available here
Next Sunday subject to any new restrictions the Birmingham District plan to repeat the success of the online service once again at 10.30am 28th March.
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the cancellation of worship services, the District will be broadcasting a worship service at 10:30am on Sunday morning via Facebook Live and it will also be available on the District Website:
If you are unable to join us on your computer, tablet or phone, the attached will enable you to journey with us as we worship together in our homes around the District.
From Ian Howarth - Chair of the Birmingham District - who was here in our chapel last month celebrating our bicentenary
Alternatively if you miss this or want to follow the service more closely you can download the service sheet.
I hope this finds you well, and in relative good spirits despite the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Earlier this week we were advised by both the Methodist Church and Government not to gather as congregations and any other groups until further notice.
We are aware that this may cause anxiety and isolation for some of us but please let’s try by all means to keep in touch one way or the other. Let’s try to do whatever we can to keep an eye and care for each other.
As most of you know I live away from my family and in times of crisis, it is difficult for us to pray together. So we devised a plan whereby we each light a candle and all of us pray together at the same time wherever we are. It might be something we may want to try…..or not. But it keeps us together and united in spirit.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Romans 8: 38 – 39 NRSV
When the darkness seems unbroken,
I shall hold on to these words,
For they hold the eternal truth.
There is nothing that can break us away from your love,
Nothing that will stop you loving us,
And nothing that will turn you away from us.
That changes life,
And makes everything worthwhile.
Even as we are separated yet united in You
Help us to live for each other, and to love
One another, in both deed and word.
How I thank you for Christ.
He changes my life and
Makes everything worthwhile.
All praise to you, Compassionate,
Loving , gracious God.
Therefore, sisters and brothers, as a result of knowing that we are loved by God, even under these circumstances, let us begin to live differently, to love differently, marked as a community of people of joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.
Peace be with you,
Revd Farai Mapamula
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.