Happy Easter! It’s Easter Sunday as I write this.
I know it's been a long time since my last blog here, due to COVID. It’s as if COVID has created a time warp. We had to embrace so many new things and stop the old during that time. We came back to the church building in September 2021 and have gradually eased back in to a routine that is now becoming busier and more akin to how things were before the pandemic.
So what changes have we made, I hear you ask? To start with we now have a morning service at 1030 instead of an afternoon one. And until today, we had followed that with a Zoom Fellowship meeting for all those who joined with us during COVID but who are still unable to join us in person for various reasons. Whilst we were broadcasting from home, Zoom Fellowship was very structured, with a programme of news, notices, Bible study and religious content relative to that particular week. Once back in the church building, this became more informal over time. We have now decided to replace Zoom Fellowship with a new version of our Prayer and Praise, beginning Sunday 24th April, at 1130.
So this coming Sunday, Prayer and Praise will re-launch, to include on-line participation, after our morning service. This is a time for Parise and Worship, prayer requests and open prayer; however God leads, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak.
We also have our weekly Bible study, via Zoom, on Wednesdays at 1900. We are currently going learning the ‘Freedom in Christ’ programme which is a discipleship course.
Last summer we ran an online Alpha course together with Elim churches all over the country, nearly 200 congregations took part. We had four new people join us and we even baptised two people in September as a result! We will be joining Elim churches again in September 2022 to run another Alpha course so if you know anyone, or would have the courage to invite friends or family to join us would be great. Please pray about who and for the boldness to invite. It will be online again, so should be even easier to encourage friends or family to join in.
Such exciting things have been happening; Baptisms, Alpha, Discipleship and recently, we started a Sunday School and God sent us children. Children’s ages range from 14 months to 11 years. We have a few volunteers now, but it was one of those situations where we had to step out in faith and God has blessed us. Do please bring along your young children or grandchildren to our Sunday School! The previous denomination that owned the building had a thriving Sunday School. Let's see that happen again, this time, long may it continue.
Sweethearts pre-school are now resident in our minor hall and have been in place since September 2020. It felt strange at first having other people have use of the building and especially when we’re not even there. A bit of an adjustment but it’s good to have children utilising the building. It was something that was on my heart, yet I was imagining a 'Parent And Baby' group, never imagined something so grand as an entire pre-school here the whole day every day of the week. It's good to think that a building which would otherwise be empty from Monday to Friday is now home to a thriving local business, and one with such strong community ties. Sweethearts are happy and we hope they'll be here for a long, long time.
Limitless Youth hasn’t yet started up again as our Youth Leader’s situation changed during COVID involving a change of job for him and his wife. God knows the plan, He just needs to reveal it to us. We are still geared for youth and are able to restart Limitless whenever we have the human resources available to do so.
My post in the Royal Navy came to its natural end and so a new one then began. On top of that during COVID, we welcomed our own little boy, Brunel, in to the World in September 2020. Brunel's now a toddler and in to JCBs and tractors, Tellytubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine. He’s a real blessing to us both! So we're praying for a new volunteer youth leader if Limitless is to be restarted. Our Sunday school may grow into the youth age and thereby we have our youth group on a Sunday, who knows? If you’re a young person looking for a youth group, consider joining us on a Sunday initially during the Sunday school, but if enough are interested we can expand it to run independently as Limitless Youth.
My blog this time was a news update, but there has been so much to tell you about.
God Bless your Easter weekend and holiday.
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Reverend Karen Bassett first led the church from August 2005 until 2009, before taking a break, to return again in 2017. Karen holds a BA in Theology from the University of Wales. Karen has served in the Royal Naval Reserve for many years, and having been ‘called-up’ for War Duty was decorated for her front-line service during the Gulf War. She successfully passed-out of Britannia Royal Naval College as an officer, a Sub-Lieutenant, and has since been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Karen volunteers as the Squadron Chaplain to Portsmouth Air Cadets and as the Southern Area Chaplain for the Sea Cadets. Karen lives with her husband Nicholas (an ex-Royal Navy Weapon Engineer, Radar), at their home in Southsea. Karen is a keen runner, cyclist, kayaker and mountaineer, and relaxes by practicing trumpet, saxophone, guitar and drums. Karen completed her first London Marathon, in aid of The Sailors Society, in April this year.