...in a time of challenge

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Sunday 5 July ForeCast: Please accompany Jane as we make a trip to the barbershop for our Sunday ForeCast this week! To join her, click this at 10:25am: https://youtu.be/gtCSdlecEFY

Allan and Ralph will be leading our contemplation, "How we talk about Jesus today". We'll have an update from some of our friends, a time for prayer, and a worship song. And this week, it's our monthly ForeCast Communion service. Please prepare your hearts, talk to God about areas where you may have fallen short of his glory, receive his forgiveness ... and have some bread and wine, or their equivalents, for everyone present in your home.  To get into a spirit of worship in readiness for the ForeCast, we invite you to sing along with these songs before the event. They are hand-picked by Jane to fit the theme:

Reckless Love, by Asbury, Culver, Jackson 5'26"
I Will Fear No More, by The Afters, 3'22"
Yes I Will, Hoagland, Fields, Smith, 3'53"
Love Like This, Lauren Daigle, 4'19"
My Testimony, Furtick, Brown, Hammer, Lake 4'52"

We look forward to making this hour on Sunday a time to talk about Jesus, and an act of worship together. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Col 3:17

Thank you for joining us at last week's ForeCast livestream service, which you can still download here. Abbie led the fourth in our "Well, I Declare!" series on Great Speeches in Acts, with David speaking on Acts 20:18-35. We rejoiced as Laura dedicated Elodie Ruth LIVE from the Grave home! The introduction to the series on Great Speeches In Acts can still be viewed in the 7 June ForeCast at this link.  And for a last chance to take up the challenge of reading them two-a-day for the next week, you'll find them all in this document.

Risk Assessed! We have completed and enacted a thorough risk assessment for staff and users of Forefront Community Centre. If you want to see it, please ask any of the staff.

Adults with learning disabilites: There's an online service run suitable for everyone run by the Honiton Celebrate Together Team at St Paul’s Honiton, led by Rev Ann Stuckey.  You will find resources for worship for all abilities, especially suitable for adults with learning difficulties.  The team is producing new videos regularly, so do check the site for the latest update.

John Lennox book: We recommend "Where Is God In A Coronavirus World?"  A short, profound pamphlet, by Oxford mathematics professor John Lennox, who examines the coronavirus in light of various belief systems and shows how the Christian worldview not only helps us to make sense of it, but also offers us a sure and certain hope to cling to. We are living through a unique, era–defining period. Many of our old certainties have gone, whatever our view of the world and whatever our beliefs. The coronavirus pandemic and its effects are perplexing and unsettling for all of us. How do we begin to think it through and cope with it?

More prayer: According to a survey by TEARfund, one in twenty (5%) UK adults who didn't pray before say they have started to do so during the lockdown. Nearly half say it's because they believe in God, a third believe that prayer makes a difference, a quarter prayed in times of personal crisis and a quarter prayed to gain comfort or to feel less lonely.

Jobs, employment and benefits: Citizen's Advice South Somerset, who normally operate out of Forefront Centre but are currently supporting people remotely, have produced two short films explaining benefits and employment matters during the current COVID-19 lockdown. If you  have questions about the often-confusing and fast-changing situation, here is their advice.

What's in the window? Click on the pictures to get some inspiration from the Monday Life Group for verses and pictures to put in your window to encourage passers-by.

Our online worship library: Three of our musicians were able to meet recently to record some worship songs, which we are rationing out over the next few weeks! We can't legally include other people's recordings in the live broadcast; nor can we put up the words of songs. Each week, therefore, we are suggesting online music that you can enjoy before or after ForeCast. Here is our library of recommended songs:

Children's songs:

Physical Health: The World Health Organisation offers a list of physical exercises for people self-isolating at home (if you are asymptomatic for respiratory disease). Why not try them together in your homes?

Young people: The Rocks & Topz team is providing delightful resources on this website for families with small children, and we are hearing that non-Church families are also taking advantage of the games, crafts, Bible stories and competitions on there. Each one is a post on the 'children' page. Why not let families in your neighbourhood know about it? Laura and Christine are also working on a virtual kids club and a youth group. If your young aren't part of our church children's clubs, but you'd like them to get connected to other children, contact us!

Things to do: It's not only the children who should keep their minds occupied and update their skills. We can all do that! Why not catch up on any Sunday talks you've missed? There are more than 560 available on our Sermon Audio page. Or, refresh your memory about the month-long series on how to study the Bible using four different tools. Harry recommends the new crowdfunded TV series about the life of Jesus, The Chosen.

Forefront responds to Covid-19

Welcome to our COVID-19 response page. See the Breaking News column for details about the next ForeCast Sunday morning Livestream.

The Bible says, “spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25).  Our goal, then, during the Covid-19 crisis, is to encourage one another, and to spur one another on to love and good deeds.

Government guidelines around social distancing are adhered to in the production of our Sunday ForeCasts. Various members of the congregation contribute each week, either live or by video. The recordings of each Sunday meeting are kept on Forefront's YouTube channel, in the ForeCast playlistWe continue to try new things in this unexpected season! New ideas are welcome. We include links to each video on the ForeCast and Sermon page, so we can continue getting access to the sermons and they can join the great library of devotionals and Bible exposition there.We are grateful to God for the means to do this.

Forefront life in lockdown - images from members showing their routines and occasions while we are apart

Forefront weekly life

Contacting Forefront

  • For the Action Team (Martyna, Julie, Jane) call the new number, 11am to 3pm, 01392 580021 - the number "follows" whoever is on duty. Out of hours, you can still try this number, or use the church contact list.
  • Skype them at <Forefront Community Centre>
  • email <office@forefront.org.uk>

Life Groups

Life Groups are not meeting physically, but they remain the heart of our church community and pastoral care. Some are using information technology to keep in touch (Skype, Teams etc), while others are ensuring their members get regular phone calls.

We are going to share the best new and creative ideas which each group comes up with, with all the others.  This includes buddy systems to ensure that those who self-isolate get regular contact. Let us know of any encouragements, successful interactions or outreach from your Life Group, and we'll share the news in our Sunday meetings.

Alpha has been interrupted, but members are keeping in touch as though they were a Life Group. We are looking at ways the course might continue virtually, but otherwise it will pick up again later.

Reach out to your neighbours

At the beginning of the year, God led us to declare a vision in which our homes would be mission stations in our neighbourhoods. It wasn’t entirely clear to us how that was going to work – but it has become much more obvious now!

Members of Forefront have done an amazing job of reaching out to their neighbours, over and above the "official" pastoral visiting and Lord's Larder outreaches. Let's consider this part of our calling in this season. Do consider putting up hopeful messages in your windows - and be part of reclaiming the rainbow as a Christian symbol of hope. On a sunny day, get out into the garden and sing worship songs. Call your neighbours and tell them you’d like to pray for them. Offer to put them in touch with support if they have critical needs.

Forefront Centre

We are now open Tuesday and Thursday mornings only, 11am-1pm. This is primarily to help people who need Lord's Larder bags. You can pop down for a chat in that time slot, but you will have to maintain the social distancing rules (which probably means, you'll be outside the door!)  At all other times, the staff will work remotely. We aim to have someone contactable by phone, Skype or e-mail, Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm. (See 'Contacting Forefront', above.)

Citizen’s Advice are offering their services by telephone and online only. Special arrangements are being made with our clients who hire space in the building. There is information in the window telling people how to get support.

Pastoral support

The Leadership Team meets in Week 1, with one member joining virtually as she is self-isolating

Your Life Group leaders will be the first port of call for most social, emotional and practical support. They will keep in touch with you in the weeks ahead.

Week 2 - and now we're all in isolation!

Our Action Team - Forefront Administrator Martyna, and receptionists Julie and Jane, are going to be on point for all practical questions about the church and information. They will also be phoning and emailing members to check up on how we are all doing. See 'contacting Forefront', above.

They will refer some pastoral issues to Christine Smith (and church members may contact her directly). She will respond, refer issues to other members of the Leadership Team, to the prayer teams, or to specialists, as required.

Note that pastoral visits will be conducted (where necessary) on the doorstep, observing the two-metre distancing rule - except in special situations.

See the Church contact sheet for details about how to contact others. If you don’t have a sheet, contact Martyna at the Forefront number.

Lord's Larder at Forefront Centre: We are excited to be playing a role in the Chard-wide Covid-19 Support Group. Lord's Larder will be supporting the work of this community response by providing bags of donated food to people who cannot afford to shop for basic food commodities, especially those isolated in their homes. Forefront staff will receive all referral forms (from our normal partner agencies, and from the support group) and process them. Lord's Larder volunteers are making up the bags during the week (working on alternate days with our staff). Royal British Legion volunteer drivers take bags to the homes of those who need them. Small donations can still be made AT THE DOOR on Tuesday and Thursday, from 11 to 1pm. Larger deliveries are being brought in at other times.

Please pray for Lord's Larder and its volunteers, and for a steady stream of new food resources. Pray for all involved that they maintain their own health. And may this initiative bring the town closer together.

From time to time, we would appreciate some physically-able people who can unload new bulk donations of food when they arrive. Please contact the Action Team if you can help.

Pray

Each Christian is needed now, even if you are unable to leave your home. You are warriors in prayer. Put on your armour while you sit in your armchair (or your home office chair).  This situation is not a shock to God. Though we may be frightened, God is not. He offers comfort and strength, and calls us to offer it to everyone else. Let's be part of the army of prayer against this virus. Let’s intercede for the pressure on all health and social care workers. Ask for the protection of those on the frontline.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Pray for:

The eight members of our congregation who work within the NHS and social care. May God give them strength to face the influx of patients, concerned family members and the mental battle of a challenging, changing, working environment. Pray that God protects them physically and mentally. May they inspire unity and good team communication at work. Lift up their families.

Pray for our member who is working at school to look after children of designated "essential" staff, and for his family at home.

The church’s mission in a time when we can’t physically be together. May our commitment to one another show our love, and our commitment to God come from a heart of worship.

Various contacts Forefront has with vulnerable people in the community, some of whom are self-isolating and have few financial resources.

The wider churches of Chard, each of whom has a different mix of needs and opportunities in their congregations. Pray for their leaders, and that all the members will stay close to God, faithful to Jesus, and filled with the Holy Spirit, whatever their home and working situation.