We'd love you to be on camera - just for a few seconds!
We’re a community. I don’t know about you, but I’m missing seeing you all! (You’re probably getting sick and tired of seeing me and my bookcases on the screens on Sunday mornings!)
We’d love to create some content for our online services which reminds us of our diversity. That means we’d love to see you. Yes you. You might not think other people would want to see you, but we all want to see each other.
Here’s what we’d love you to do:
1. Take a selfie video of yourself / your household saying something like “Hi everyone” or “Hello church family” or “Hi St James’ by the Park”. i.e. it should be really brief! You can take the video indoors or outside - anywhere we can see your faces and hear you clearly. Remember to look directly at the camera lens (rather than your image on the screen if you’re taking a selfie) - and to smile and look pleased to see people! Hold the camera in landscape mode (rather than portrait), and to help the video editors, once you’ve hit ‘record’, pause for a few seconds before you start talking / waving / dancing etc. Then pause again for a few seconds before you press ’stop’.
2. Send the video to us. Either use whatsapp to send to 0770 959 2795 or use www.wetransfer.com to transfer the video to firstname.lastname@example.org - it’s pretty straight-forward (you’ll need to enter your email address and an authorisation code, but you don’t need to sign up forever!). Or if you’re familiar with using onedrive or dropbox etc then use those.
Need help taking the video or transferring it?
If you’re struggling to take the video, or to transfer it to us, email email@example.com with a phone number and we’ll try to help you out.
The small print - Safeguarding
As a church, we take the safeguarding (especially of our children and vulnerable adults) very seriously. Here’s what will happen with the videos you send:
* your individual video will be uploaded to a secure google drive folder, accessible only by me and the video editor(s)
* your individual video will be downloaded to the video editor’s own computer for them to edit all the videos together. They will then delete the individual videos from their computer.
* the finalised composite video will be shown in our online services on zoom and YouTube. Videos will remain on YouTube for 2 weeks after the service they’re shown at. If all goes well, we would show the composite video regularly over the coming months whilst we’re unable to gather in person.
* the finalised composite video will also be downloaded by our livestream hosts and stored there as long as we use them. Once we’ve stopped showing the composite video regularly, they’ll then delete them from their computers.
* all of our video editors and stream hosts have been ’safely recruited’ (with DBS checks etc) or are in the process of being safely recruited, but are already well known to us.
By submitting a video to us, you are agreeing that you’re happy with these safeguarding precautions.
Thank you - time to get your video cameras rolling! The sooner you send the videos in, the sooner we’ll all get to see your smiling faces and be reminded of the wonderful community that we are!
NB Can you think of any else near you (maybe an older person) who wouldn’t have the tech know-how to do this? It would be great if you could call round to their house and take a video of them and submit it on their behalf - as long as they’re happy with the safeguarding small print as well.
Over the last few years, we've run some great church quiz nights, and raised thousands of pounds for charities in the process. This year's quiz is moving online (for obvious reasons!). It's on Friday 26th June at 8pm.
Anyone with zoom can join in. You can be part of a team (of up to 6 people), or we can allocate you to a team. Do you know someone who's not on zoom who would like to join in? Why not phone them up, put them on speaker phone, and they'll be able to join in, too!
You can register by clicking here. As part of the registration process you can indicate which team (if any) you want to be part of. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
We'll be raising funds for Southampton's Basics Bank (knowing that many more people are needing their help at the moment) and for Creative Options (a local mental health charity - again, the need is vastly increased at the moment). You can donate by clicking here (suggested minimum donation of £5 per adult).
Get inviting your friends!
Please note: children under 18 joining in will remain the responsibility of their parents, who should be in the house whilst it's on.
In this video, and in the letter below, Paul Thaxter, a member of our congregation, makes a personal appeal:
Dear all at St James by the Park,
Thank you all for your support to CMS in 2020.
I have decided to take the unusual step of asking if you want to join Helen and I in making a one-off love gift to local partners working for CMS-Africa. Whilst CMS is the main funding partner for CMS-Africa this is not a CMS appeal but a personal appeal borne out of my recent experiences. I am grateful that St James leadership has allowed me to make it.
Over the last 3 months I have been in contact with many people around the world who are facing challenges due to the CV19 pandemic and the actions of government resulting usually in strict lockdown. In many parts of the world and particularly amongst the very poor it is a desperate time summed up in 6 words – “No work. No food. No rent”. On top of this is the lack of health provision for the poor and the difficulty in self-isolating from others as well as rising prices of food.
Within Africa though there are even more challenges – such as locusts in Northern Uganda and South Sudan, floods in many parts of East Africa, the breakout of other diseases and war and domestic tensions. International agencies seem to have less of a presence at this time. I have heard that even refugee camps for the South Sudanese in Northern Uganda are providing reduced rations at this time.
In the midst of these challenges I have been really impressed by the resilience and commitment of the 17 CMS-Africa local partners who, though often in need themselves, have been providing relational relief to many of the poorest in different communities. CMS-Africa have received some grants from organisations in the UK and elsewhere that they have been able to disburse quickly and responsibly through their local partners.
Let me tell you of a few of these 17 people:-
Bisoke Balikenga runs a peace centre in Bunia in DR Congo where there are about 400 displaced people looking to him for leadership. His wife Furaha has large growth behind one of her eyes and yet still runs a school for 100s of children, some of whom who cannot afford any fees. They work in the context of conflict and violence from rebel groups and have recently had to cope with a kidnapping and the murder of a long-term friend and evangelist. Bisoke currently has typhoid and their daughter Grace is ill in hospital. Yet he remains committed to serving others as much as he can. He is also the Provincial Youth Officer for the Anglican Church there.
Jeff Sikabwe is living in Kinshasa DR Congo, one of the largest cities in Africa, and has been an invaluable trainer for CMS-Africa enabling communities and individuals to develop their skills and assets for sustainable futures. Many of his family are in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo, an area which has faced floods in April with consequent loss of life and destruction of houses. He is wanting to lend assistance there too.
Rachel Karanja is one of the most amazing people I know who is part of the relational relief effort of CMS-Africa. Over the years she has helped so many create small agricultural or micro -businesses. I heard that the floods in Kenya have swept away her garden and damaged her house yet she is still asking people “kindly pray as we give a meal to one or two families and God will bless you”
Judith Murungi is a dynamic energetic leader in Uganda and has been visiting the vulnerable families in a very poor part of Kampala. She came across one lady who used to collect empty plastic bottles across the city and sell them to a depot for a few Ugandan shillings to feed her children but now in lock down she cannot do it. Judith gave her own money just to help this lady out.
So I thought why not give CMS-Africa a love gift that they can distribute to their 17 local partners just to help them out at this time. The money would be simply to bless them and allow them to use it for their own personal needs. I think it would mean a lot to them at this time and encourage them in their ministry. So let us be inspired by them and also encourage them at this time of great difficulty. As Ephesian 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
Please do not feel you have to give to this personal appeal I know that some of you are already facing challenging financial circumstances yourselves. I really just wanted to offer you the opportunity to bless some remarkable Christian workers elsewhere in the world at this time.
Please make any donations clear to the church office, so we can reclaim gift aid on them and send the money as a love gift to CMS-Africa. Cash or cheques (payable to “PCC of Shirley”) can be dropped into the church office, clearly marked for “CMS Africa appeal”. Online donations can be made to the church bank account (sort code 55 50 23; account number 69481377). Please indicate in the reference and by a separate email to firstname.lastname@example.org that they are for the CMS Africa appeal. Please make any gifts by Sunday 7th June.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Paul & Helen Thaxter
This lockdown time gives us all an opportunity to go deeper with God.
For some, that will be by exploring faith in Jesus for the first time in years or first time ever.
For others, who have been praying and trusting Jesus for years, it will mean going deeper than before.
Here are some ideas to help you go deeper with God:
1. To help you get started with prayer: the Trypraying app or booklet (we can post one to you if you’d like one).
2. To help you pray more richly: the Lectio365 app or read Pete Greig’s “How to pray” or Lyndall Bywater’s “Prayer in the making”
3. Join a prayer triplet – praying regularly with 2-3 other people
4. If you’re in a prayer triplet already and trust has built up: ask each other some deeper questions: What are you really struggling with at the moment? How is your personal prayer life at the moment? What is God challenging you on at the moment?
5. Try fasting – like Jesus did in the wilderness – not as a way to force God’s hand, but as a way to show God how serious we are about our prayers and listening to him.
6. Go deeper in repentance: asking God to show you what he wants to amend in your life and heart. Replace the lies you’ve believed with truths from God’s word.
7. To help you get started with reading the Bible: the YouVersion app and search through the various ‘reading plans’ to find one that appeals to you. We suggest using the ‘New International Version’ or ‘Contemporary English Version’.
8. To help you go deeper with reading the Bible: the ‘Bible in one Year’ app or get one of Phil Moore’s “Straight to the heart” series of books on different books of the Bible.
Silence and Solitude
9. Read the relevant chapters from a book on using silence and solitude as a way to draw close to God eg John Mark Comer “The ruthless elimination of hurry”, Peter Scazzero “Emotionally healthy spirituality” or Richard Foster “Celebration of discipline”
10. Do the exercises those books suggest! Or look at https://johnmarkcomer.com/#how-to-unhurry for some videos and downloadable exercises.
What other suggestions would you add? Comment below!
In our online services on 3rd May, Dan shared this book review