Waiting out the pandemic in the Canaries…..

This post by A Little Odyssey was originally published at A Little Odyssey

Our home for a few years getting grit blasted to remove the paint and rust.
 

So, it’s been some time since we have blogged, long months have passed by, suddenly it has been well over a year since Covid demanded our retreat from Senegal and we made a dash from Dakar in Senegal to Granadilla in Tenerife.  18 months on we find ourselves on the Africa Mercy (AFM) in dry dock in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria coming to terms with the facts that we will remain in the Canaries for the remainder of this year and not be returning to field service in Africa until early 2022.  How did this happen?!

Before leaving Africa, the hospital ceased operations and all our patients were either discharged or placed in local care to fully recover.  Lynne’s work as hospital Administrator came to an end and she is now the HR Director on board after spending a short time in Hospitality sorting and cleaning cabins that were abandoned in the exodus from Senegal.  The position of HR director became available after previous incumbents left early due to Covid and then her replacement ended their commitment early due to pressure of work.  So, Lynne is now working in a senior position with only a couple of experienced staff, not enough to do the job and is feeling the pressure.  The pressure has been exacerbated by the need to quarantine crew either on board or in local hotels and find ways for our African crew who find themselves on European soil with no visas to return home for leave and then return to the ship.  Times are not normal.

Matthew completed his two-year term last summer when we all travelled back to the UK and Lynne and I took taking the opportunity to settle Matthew into his University in Lincoln.  He is studying History with Archaeology, something very different after working with the deck department onboard.  We are so proud of Matthew of the way he conducted himself on board and that he has identified history as a subject that energize him.  

Lynne and I returned to the AFM in November to make ready to sail to Africa in January but soon learned that this would be delayed until May ’21, this was disappointing but understandable.   Ship staff continued to carry out maintenance and sort the belongings of crew who had left the ship from Senegal at a rush expecting an early return.   Thinking we would arrive in Africa in May, Lynne and I came back to the UK to see our family and get ourselves vaccinated, but soon after returning on board we found out that our return to Africa would not happen until early 2022.  After so many months closed up on board on a remote and windy half constructed port with only short spells of a few hours shore leave granted, this was yet another blow.  Many crew started to re-assess lives and decided that it was time to leave the AFM, either for good or until the pandemic has passed and the mission of the AFM can restart.  

Delaying the return by so many months gave opportunity to carry out some serious ship maintenance so we sailed to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, the island a few hours to the east of Tenerife where we were lifted out of the water and placed in dry dock for thirteen weeks which is where we are now.  All the paint has been grit blasted off the ship, about 80 holes have been cut into the hull either to gain entry into tanks for cleaning and painting, or to cut sections of rotting steel out to be replaced with new.  Work continues on board 24/7 on fire main, sprinkler systems which have been drained and parts replaced and the tank work.  My project was to replace 130 windows onboard with a team from Poland.   All this work is intrusive to life on board a vessel with limited ventilation and most spaces at an average of 30oC.  We are also very short staffed and have needed to employ contractors for many key positions and non-technical crew are staying off ship overnight for comfort and safety reasons.

We are grateful to so many short-term volunteers who arrive from so many nations and of many and varied faiths, with a crew of around 100 there are about 40 nations represented.  As a religious order, (it is – Mercy Ships has a legal status as such) with so many non-Christians on board, a split crew living on and off the ship,  we are making extra efforts to maintain times of prayer and worship and retain a focus on the mission of Mercy Ships and our four core values: Love God; Love and serve others; To be people of integrity; and Strive for excellence in all we say and do.  

So here we are:  serving, working hard and long hours, struggling with constant change, the heat, and an uncertain future.  This is the joy of the Lord!

 

 

Notices for Sunday 29th August

Please see the CBC website for important information about our Church Services as the country has now moved into Step 4 of the Government Roadmap (from Monday 19th July).

If you would like to receive the weekly notices via email and don’t already do so, please contact Cathy S.

Please add info@corshambaptists.org to your address book and check your spam folders if you are expecting to receive them but they did not arrive.

Notices are also published on the Church website weekly

This week

Pre-booking is no longer required in order to attend services.

Live streaming of the service will continue for those unable to attend. Do check with Rob D for arrangements at CotG

The sanctuary will be divided into two zones to support our fellowship needs:

  • upstairs for those wearing face coverings – no congregational singing
  • downstairs for those not wearing face coverings – congregational singing

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • you will be asked to sign-in for test and trace purposes

Sunday Services

  • COTG are open for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team. The link to join online is here
  • Priory Street joint service @10am Link: https://youtu.be/bAyFG1pz2P4. Worship is led by Josh H. this week followed by intercessory prayers by Gill. Rob D. brings us the word from Mark.Mk 7:24-30
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 1st September at 2pm
  • Junior Church: continues to meet in the garden during the summer. Bring a brolly if it’s raining (equally,  bring a brolly if it’s sunny!)  We will have fellowship in the garden, in family groups at 10am. Once we have a rota and sufficient helpers in place, you will be able to leave your children for junior church (only if you feel child is ready to be left but there is no pressure to leave your child until  they (and you!) are ready for this step).

Let’s all pray together in the CBC week of prayer, Sunday 5th – 12th September.

With the search for a Senior Pastor in progress, the move out of lockdown, the beginning of the new academic year, and updates to our church leadership structure, the need for prayer is as urgent as it has ever been in the history of CBC. And so, we’re calling every person who’s a part of the CBC community – yes, every one of us – to make prayer a priority for this week.


Who can join in? Everyone! All ages and stages can join in. Why not encourage toddlers and children to pray for our church, too. We’re conscious that some may be anxious about meeting in-person in the church building at this time, so there are opportunities to gather in Priory Street on both Sundays, but also opportunities both to pray together in person, and to pray individually, too.


How can I do that? It doesn’t need to be kneeling next to your bed (but you can if that’s where you pray best).  Here are some other suggestions:

  • Pray together at Priory Street: 6pm on Sunday 5th September and Sunday 12th September to start and end the week. 
  • Dedicate your LIFE groups, formation groups, youth groups, small groups, prayer partners, or any other time you get together as believers to praying for CBC this week.
  • Go on prayer walks, prayer sits, prayer zoom meetings, prayer bumbles. (Not sure how to do that? See the How-To Guide attached to these notices called “How to prayer walk.pdf”.)
  • Use some of your private prayer time to lift up CBC before God.
  • Commit to pray in one of the time slots during the week of prayer. We’ll have a sign-up list at the back of Priory Street from this Sunday morning. (You can commit individually or as a small group), or you can sign up by emailing Cathy S. at cathys@corshambaptists.org

What should I pray for?
There will be a full prayer list with the notices on Sunday 5th September, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Pray for the search for a new Senior Pastor.
  • Pray for CBC as we work out how this church can most glorify God as we come out of lockdown.

Finally… We’ll close the week of prayer with a service of prayer on Sunday 12th at 6pm at Priory Street. We can gather and encourage one another with answered prayers, and by sharing what we feel God has been teaching us during the week. We’ll have a box at the back of Priory Street if you want to share how God is speaking to you throughout the week, or you can email Rob Durant at robd@corshambaptists.org

 “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Psalm on the Farm: Sunday 5th September

Hopefully the weather will be slightly drier than last time!

Bring your own Communion and all are very welcome to stay for a picnic afterwards and a good catch up with friends.

If getting to the farm is problematic, then please contact the church office and we will try to arrange a lift. Volunteers are needed to drive cars/ minibus – please get in touch if you can help.

In the interests of making the service as accessible as possible, those who may struggle with mobility are welcome to drive their cars through into the field and remain in them if this helps. The team are also looking into a live stream for any unable to attend but the cows are not currently fitted with Wifi so this is a challenge!

Junior Church on the Farm

Rhiannon will provide separate teaching for the children at the farm on Sept 5th so bring a rug or seat for your child to join in with junior church. Speak to Rhiannon for more information.

Next Steps for Junior Church

From September 12th we will be running 2 groups for children in Junior Church.  We will continue to meet in the garden at 10am for worship together before splitting in to 2 teaching groups; a younger group that will be for children up to year 3 and an older group for years 4 to 6.  We will run two separate groups providing there are enough children in each group to make it viable. You will be able to leave your child with us and join in the service in the sanctuary. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to speak to Rhiannon to find out about serving in Junior Church, if you want to know more about children’s work Rhiannon can be found in the garden.

Bike for Bible’s 2021

Corsham Baptist Church supports Bible Society and we’re also very passionate about everyone having a Bible. Matt and I are doing a sponsored bike ride 6-9 September, riding 200 miles over the Devon Coast to Coast route. The money we raise will be used to provide Bibles for Sunday Schools in Malawi. If you’d like to sponsor us, please visit our Just Giving page. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wingraves-bikeforbibles2021. Thank you for your prayer and financial support.

Matt & Sue Wingrave

Other Activities:

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy S by 12 noon on Wednesday

Notices for Sunday 22nd August

Please see the CBC website for important information about our Church Services as the country moves into Step 4 of the Government Roadmap from Monday 19th July.

If you would like to receive the weekly notices via email and don’t already do so, please contact Cathy S.

Please add info@corshambaptists.org to your address book and check your spam folders if you are expecting to receive them but they did not arrive.

Notices are also published on the Church website weekly

This week

Pre-booking is no longer required in order to attend services.

Live streaming of the service will continue for those unable to attend. Do check with Rob D for arrangements at CotG

The sanctuary will be divided into two zones to support our fellowship needs:

upstairs for those wearing face coverings- no congregational singing

downstairs for those not wearing face coverings – congregational singing

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • you will be asked to sign-in for test and trace purposes

Sunday Services

  • COTG are open for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team. The link to join online is here
  • Priory Street joint service @10am Link: https://youtu.be/bAyFG1pz2P4. Worship is led by Matt this week followed by intercessory prayers by Vicky. Eddie brings us the word from Mark.Mk 7:1-23
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 1 st September
  • Junior Church: continues to meet in the garden during the summer. Bring a brolly if it’s raining (equally,  bring a brolly if it’s sunny!)  We will have fellowship in the garden, in family groups at 10am. Once we have a rota and sufficient helpers in place, you will be able to leave your children for junior church (only if you feel child is ready to be left but there is no pressure to leave your child until  they (and you!) are ready for this step).

New Key Access System to Priory Street Church Building

A reminder that we now have a new keyless entry system to Priory Street. If you have one of the old metal security keys and do not yet have a fob, please get in touch with Martin S. (details in the directory) to discuss your needs.
Also, please return any keys you have to him or the church office, as these will cease to work at some point (but please do it now whilst you remember!)
Many thanks,Tim

Calling all crafty ladies

Advance Notice: The craft group are a making plans to start back in the Autumn., however, there will be no session on the first Saturday in September. The proposal is to open again on first Saturday in October. Do look out for further notices. If anyone is interested in joining this outreach ministry, or would like to invite someone along, then do contact Pam M or Hazel H.

Psalm on the Farm: Dates for your diary.

Psalm on the Farm is planned for the first Sunday of Sept. and Oct. Each service will include communion.

Our outdoor services are, of course, subject to change, so do check the notices on the Friday before.

Sunday September 5th @ 11am

Sunday October 3rd @ 11am

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Other Activities:

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy S by 12 noon on Wednesday

Notices for Sunday 15th August

Please see the CBC website for important information about our Church Services as the country moves into Step 4 of the Government Roadmap from Monday 19th July.

If you would like to receive the weekly notices via email and don’t already do so, please contact Cathy S.

Please add info@corshambaptists.org to your address book and check your spam folders if you are expecting to receive them but they did not arrive.

Notices are also published on the Church website weekly

This week

Pre-booking is no longer required in order to attend services in person. Please consider coming if you would like.

Live streaming of the service will continue for those unable to attend. Do check with Rob D for arrangements at CotG

The sanctuary will be divided into two zones to support our fellowship needs:

upstairs for those wearing face coverings- no congregational singing

downstairs for those not wearing face coverings – congregational singing

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • you will be asked to sign-in for test and trace purposes

Sunday Services

  • COTG are open for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/
  • If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team. The link to join online is here
  • Priory Street joint service @10am Link: https://youtu.be/bAyFG1pz2P4. Worship is led by Natalie, Intercessory Prayer Jo S. and Rob P. is preaching on Mk 6:45-56
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 18th August
  • Junior Church: will continue to meet in the garden during the summer. Bring a brolly if it’s raining (equally,  bring a brolly if it’s sunny!)  We will have fellowship in the garden, in family groups at 10am. Once we have a rota and sufficient helpers in place, you will be able to leave your children for junior church (only if you feel child is ready to be left but there is no pressure to leave your child until  they (and you!) are ready for this step).

For your prayers

Please pray for all our young people who have received their GCSE or A Level grades this week. May they seek the Lord’s guidance as they make plans for next steps.

New Key Access System to Priory Street Church Building

You may have noticed Martin has recently enabled a keyless entry system to Priory Street. If you have one of the old metal security keys and do not yet have a fob, please get in touch with him (details in the directory) to discuss your needs.
Also, please return any keys you have to him or the church office as these will cease to work at some point (but please do it now whilst you remember!)
Many thanks,Tim

Psalm on the Farm: Dates for your diary.

Psalm on the Farm is planned for the first Sunday of Sept. and Oct. Each service will include communion.

Our outdoor services are, of course, subject to change, so do check the notices on the Friday before.

Sunday September 5th @ 11am

Sunday October 3rd @ 11am

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Other Activities:

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy S by 12 noon on Wednesday

HOWTO send email to large groups

gold letter y on black background

Sending email on behalf of the church is different to sending email in a personal capacity as it needs to be done within the church’s Privacy Policy. As a general rule of thumb you can assume Trustees, staff and perhaps one or two other acknowledged roles have email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information that is public knowledge. The most obvious example is that Eddie’s name is on the board fixed to the side of the church building.

In all other cases, or in case of doubt, send the email to yourself and BCC the actual recipients. This means that anyone may sign-up to receive information without fear of having their personal information revealed to others. It can be a particularly grey area when someone has provided you their contact details in a personal capacity but may not have intended it to be shared with the whole church let alone the wider world. Unless we have explicit permission for information to be included in the church directory it should not be shared to anyone else including by writing an email to several people, which anyone may then reply to.

It’s also worth noting that we should never write email addresses or phone numbers on public sites such as corshambaptists.org; facebook etc. Best practice is to refer to people by first name only and that contact may be made through a contact page or the church office.

Now that we’re ready to write an email, I offer the template below to provide both a simple branding and the necessary opportunity to decline further contact.

Corsham Baptist Church

Dear …

We think you are part of our CBC family because you have provided this address to us in the past for the church directory. If that is no longer true or you want to update what we contact you about please accept our apologies and update us here. (Please note it will take us a short while to action your update)

Notices for Sunday 8th August

Please see the CBC website for important information about our Church Services as the country moves into Step 4 of the Government Roadmap from Monday 19th July.

If you would like to receive the weekly notices via email and don’t already do so, please contact Cathy S.

Please add info@corshambaptists.org to your address book and check your spam folders if you are expecting to receive them but they did not arrive.

Notices are also published on the Church website weekly

This week

Pre-booking is no longer required in order to attend services in person. Please consider coming if you would like.

Live streaming of the service will continue for those unable to attend. Do check with Rob D for arrangements at CotG

The sanctuary will be divided into two zones to support our fellowship needs:

upstairs for those wearing face coverings- no congregational singing

downstairs for those not wearing face coverings – congregational singing

Please note that:

  • you must not attend if you have any Covid symptoms – a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or smell ;
  • you must inform us if you receive a positive Covid test within 14 days of attending ;
  • you will be asked to sign-in for test and trace purposes

Sunday Services

  • Church on the Screen @10am: If you prefer a more active service rather than simply watching, a warm welcome awaits from Rob and the team.
  • COTG are opening for face-face services. All details at: https://www.churchonthegreen.online/event/10am-sunday-service-online/ Please note:
  • Church on the Green is back in person this week (8th August). No booking is now necessary. The link to join the service online is: https://meet.google.com/ezs-ftbr-gtg
  • Priory Street joint service @10am Link: https://youtu.be/bAyFG1pz2P4. Worship to be led by Joey and Eddie is preaching on Mk 6:14-44
  • Midweek Service: The next Midweek Service is this Wednesday, 18th August
  • Junior Church: will continue to meet in the garden during the summer, as we have been over the past weeks,  except we won’t be limited to groups of 30.  Bring a brolly if it’s raining,  equally,  bring a brolly if it’s sunny.  We will have fellowship in the garden, in family groups at 10am and booking via eventbrite is no longer required. The hope is that now the restrictions have eased we will have the option of taking our service inside if the weather is too bad. At the moment I am asking a parent or parents to stay with their child/ren as I haven’t set up a rota for leaders/helpers yet.  If you would like to take up a role within junior church, please let me know.  I will be in touch over the summer with those who have previously served in this area to see if you are willing to come on board again. Once we have a rota and sufficient helpers in place, you will be able to leave your children for junior church (only if you feel child is ready to be left but there is no pressure to leave your child until  they (and you!) are ready for this step). Thank you for your support and prayers. Rhiannon.

From the Bryants:

Thank you so much to those who prayed for us during the training course. 
We finished it today. We were really encouraged to see how the group 
bonded together, deepr than we would have expected over Zoom.

Please keep praying for them all as they transition to BCS and Cambodia, 
and for those who will serve in the UK supporting missionary families..

Psalm on the Farm: Dates for your diary.

A reminder that Church this week is on the Farm at 11am – not at Priory Street. In case you have not been before – the address is Upper Combe Farm, Castle Combe, Chippenham SN14 7HE. There is plenty of parking available and stewards will be there to direct you. Stripe have met to consider what precautions we should take as this is the first time we’ve met on the Farm since restrictions were lifted on 19th July. Everyone will be invited to sign in for track and trace purposes and to wear one of the colour coded badges to indicate your preference for managing contact with others but there are no other regulations you need to follow. Neither Lateral flow testing nor confirmation of double vaccination is required due to us being outside. Toilet facilities will be provided and please bring a chair, any refreshments you need and not forgetting “bread and wine” for communion. Masks are not required but can be worn by anyone who wishes to do so and hearty singing is hugely encouraged! Please just use the copious space available and respect some sensible distance from others, particularly whilst singing. It should be a great occasion to meet free of almost all restrictions for the first time in a year and a half and we hope as many as possible will feel safe and able to join together in person to worship our great God together.

Psalm on the Farm is also planned for the first Sunday of Sept. and Oct. Each service will include communion.

Our outdoor services are, of course, subject to change, so do check the notices on the Friday before.

Sunday September 5th

Sunday October 3rd

Souper Friday on Facebook

Souper Friday is now in Facebook! We want to reach local people who need support with food parcels, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ the page and engage with the posts via likes/shares/comments. You can find the page here: www.facebook.com/souperfriday
If you have any questions about Facebook, feel free to contact Jasmine Warren.”

Other Activities:

  • Souper Friday continues to reach out to our community and neighbours
  • Community Money Advice is handling work remotely, but do get in touch if you are aware of or are having money difficulties ;
  • Several small groups meet and share online.
  • Youth Groups- Contact Dan for further details

Please send items for next week’s notices to Cathy S by 12 noon on Wednesday