Mission Focus for November

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inHope is a Christian charity working in the heart of Bristol, to support the most vulnerable and marginalised people within our city. Based in Easton, inHope offers a place of love and acceptance, supporting people through practical provision, shelter and housing whilst helping people develop life skills and employability. All of this is done whilst offering people the opportunity to encounter Jesus and to discover the love and hope that he offers.
As a church partner, St Michael’s supports inHope through prayer, donations, financial giving and as volunteers. Without the support of Christians across Bristol, and churches like St Michaels, inHope would not be able to support those most in need in our city.

Recent news
2020 has been dominated by the pandemic, which has transformed how inHope supports those most in need. The Wild Goose homeless drop-in has moved to a pop-up model, serving hot lunches to up to 100 people every day. Spring of Hope women’s night shelter had to close under government guidance for night shelters, but has continued to stay in touch with vulnerable women by phone, virtual meetings and in person. Several women were supported to move into their own accommodation.


The Life Recovery project has run its first virtual life course, attracting participants from as far afield as Scotland. A face-to-face course run through the autumn was over-subscribed as other options for face-to-face recovery support is extremely limited. The Foodbank has completely changed its approach, delivering food directly to people’s homes, whilst demand increased by 100% during the first three months of lockdown.

The Refurbished Wild Goose Drop-in
In the midst of the pandemic, the Wild Goose drop-in has undergone a much needed face lift, including a new floor, an extended kitchen and reconfigured toilets. The work is due to end this autumn, with the Wild Goose open again in time for winter (albeit in a Covid-secure way).

Future Plans
The pandemic makes it extremely difficult to make future plans. One pressing priority is to reopen Spring of Hope in a covid-secure way. However, there are aspects of inHope’s Development Plan which are more important now than they were before the pandemic:
-To establish four community houses, in partnership with local churches, to provide move on accommodation, particularly for Spring of Hope and Life Recovery guests.
-To equip and resource the wider church with Life Recovery resources, enabling churches to provide support for people in recovery from addiction within their own community.
-To develop opportunities and networks through which clients can develop their employability.


How can St Michaels pray for inHope?
Please pray for:
 -Anyone who will be homeless or facing an uncertain future this winter.
 – The amazing team of volunteers that have faithfully served God through the pandemic. Pray too for those volunteers who have had to stay away to shield themselves and others and who we miss seeing on a daily basis.
  -The Wild Goose as it reopens more fully following refurbishment.
We thank God for the generous provision of food and practical donations from churches across the city.

A Letter from Simon..

This message comes with my blessing and prayers as we head into the Autumn season.

Usually the beginning of this term brings with it a scheduled programme of events that are as familiar as a trusted friend and as regular as, well…clockwork!

Bonfire nights, Carols on the Green, Carol services, Nativity plays, Midnight communion, Christmas day celebrations…all are affected by the pandemic that has invaded our world.

We live in a time of unprecedented change. A change that is out of our control. We cannot follow the usual programme. Circumstances will not allow the ‘usual’ to take place. We notice this in our personal lives, our community interactions and in the activities of Church. As the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said, “The only constant in life is change”.

I observe two opposing instincts (in myself) as a response to change. One is ‘escapism’ the other is ‘realism’. Escapism calls me to stick my head in the sand and wait for a ‘return to normal’. Realism calls me to respond to the circumstances with hope and faith. The community needs a ‘Church for changing times.’ Realism not escapism.

In John 5:19, whilst being persecuted Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing…”

So, what is the Father doing among us? May I humbly suggest a few observations. The Father is 1) calling us to rediscover the importance of community. 2)  asking us to pause to lament and repent. 3) Increasing our call to share the good news of Jesus. 4) Re-establishing an attitude of prayer and action.

We continue to open Church services to rediscover Christian community and respond to what the Father is doing. One small part of this is a plan to refurbish our Church building to build a servant hearted Christian community for generations to come.

By the end of October, all four Sunday services and Celebrations will have restarted, combining Live worship, with an ongoing commitment to Livestream to those at home.

May the Lord Jesus enable you to see what the Father is doing in you and with you.

God bless you all,

 

Church for Changing Times

We’re opening up the church for two information mornings on Saturdays 24 October and 7 November to talk about our plans for our church building.

Each session will be identical and will include a presentation and sharing of vision, as well as the chance to ask questions and give feedback.

Please book into one of the 45 minute slots at 10am or 11am by clicking on the relevant date below

Saturday 24 October 

Saturday 7 November


The church building is important to our community and to our worship.

We are committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing the building as our legacy for generations to come.

We have spent a considerable sum past two years on building work to the tower, stonework, boundary wall and new roofs.

We are now looking to improve safety, visibility and accessibility by:

Removing the raised platform where the altar and choir are, and levelling the entire floor of the church replacing the existing worn and uneven flooring. Numerous areas of tiling are loose and need repairing. 

Removing the two large, square pillars between the north aisle and the nave and reducing the size of the roof support at the east end of the chancel (in front of the organ).

Providing two toilets in the vestry, one accessed from the inside and one accessed from the outside.

Replace the pews with comfortable and flexible seating which will enable a wider range of activities to take place within the building.

Replace the external vestry door with approved fire escape door.

A steering group has been formed to oversee the process and we are currently at the stage of obtaining 3 competitive quotes.

We are excited to move forward on this, making our church building, fit for generations to come, whilst honouring it’s history.

At our Gift Day for buildings and resources back in June, we had a reminder of the four key ambitions for the Heart of the Community project:

  • Create a spacious modern meeting place in the centre of the community
  • Restore our historic church building for generations to come
  • Upgrade our existing community rooms
  • Fund outreach and anti-poverty projects locally, nationally and internationally

These refurbishments come under the second of these ambitions.

We’re opening up the church for two information mornings on Saturdays 24 October and 7 November. Please book into one of the 45 minute slots by clicking on the relevant date below.

Saturday 24 October 

Saturday 7 November

We’ll also be hosting a “mop up” session open to all the communtion on Saturday 28 November. Booking for that will open in November

Operation Christmas Child 2020

Every year we take part in Operation Christmas Child – making up for shoeboxes of gifts for children worldwide. This is the world’s largest children’s Christmas project and is run by Samaritans Purse. It’s a great way to show God’s love in a tangible way to help needy children.

This year looks slightly different, and we are unable to act as a collection point for shoeboxes. However, you can find out the nearest collection point here.

Alternatively you can pack a shoebox online

Moldova Famine Appeal

We’re launching an appeal to help those affected by the famine in Moldova.

There is a severe drought in Moldova this year. Lack of rain for many months, and very hot summer temperatures, have caused rivers and lakes to dry up.

All the fields are dry and the harvest of staple crops such as corn, wheat and sunflowers has failed. The largely rural population of Moldova is facing famine, and there is widespread fear about surviving the winter. Loss of jobs due to Covid-19, has led to worsening poverty. Imported food is sold at inflated prices and fuel for winter heating will be scarce and expensive.

Money donated to the famine appeal will be used by our mission partner to help the people in greatest need. By providing cooked meals and food parcels, medicines and fuel for heating homes in the long, cold winter months.

The easiest way to donate is via internet banking:

Account name: St Michael’s Stoke Gifford PCC

Sort code  30–16–11  

Account Number 01814843

Quote reference as:  MOLDOVA and your first initial and surname (eg: MOLDOVA S JONES)

 

UK taxpayers can also complete a simple Gift Aid form, which means the government will donate an extra 25% on top of your giving at no cost to you. What is Gift Aid?

You can complete an online Gift Aid form here.

(If you have already completed a Gift Aid form for giving at St Michael’s, you do not need to do this again.)

 

Speak Honestly: from Kintsugi Hope

Speak Honestly is a new interactive online chat show with honest chat, humour, film, questions, which is accessible for all, brought to you by Kintsugi Hope

Patrick is CEO and co-founder of Kintsugi Hope which came about following a series of personal trials and ill health affecting Patrick and his family. Prior to that, Patrick led urban youth charity, XLP which he also founded in 1996 and ran for 21 years.

Jess is Patrick’s PA and is Comms Coordinator at Kintsugi Hope. Jess seeks to advocate for justice issues and has a honest attitude in all she does.

Join Patrick and Jess as they “speak honestly” about anxiety, disappointment and perfectionism.

Speak Honestly About Anxiety 

Speak Honestly About Disappointment 

Speak Honestly About Perfectionism

Tickets are available online where they are asking for donations which can be as little as £1. 

Vicky Wicks Ordination Livestream

On Sunday 11 October Vicky Wicks is being ordained! We are so excited to share in this as church family.

In normal times, lots of people would be going to Bristol Cathedral for the service. However, to ensure appropriate distancing, and compliance with Covid-19 rules, ordinations are being done 2 at a time and with just 2 guests per person.

But the good news is, we can all still support Vicky. The service is being streamed live from Bristol Cathedral via youtube and also on the Bristol Cathedral Facebook and Twitter pages

Please note that the actual links will not be available until just before the service starts at 12pm on Sunday 11 October

On our update for Thursday 1 October, Vicky shared a bit more about her story – you can view that here

Harvest 2020

Each year, usually the first week in October, we celebrate Harvest. We would normally collect non-perishable food items and donate to the local foodbank.

This year, things are a bit different, and unfortunately we can’t collect the food items as we usually would.

However, we know that Foodbanks are open, and are in as much need as ever for donations.

Therefore, this Harvest, we are asking people to consider donating directly to North Bristol Foodbank Within our parish, you can donate items at Sainsbury’s East Filton, or Co-op Cheswick Village, and there are many other collections points. More details are on their website