Ministers letter June 2020 by Francis
I am writing this letter in very unprecedented times, when life in general and the structure of societies has been completely altered, taking a monumental toll on our well-being. We have all faced quite unusual experiences, ranging from self-isolation, stay-at-home orders and quarantine, making things difficult for families. Relatives can’t meet each other as before. It has been even more difficult for families who are unable to see their parents and children beyond the glass of windows, to join for breakfast, lunch or even dinner, nor been able to visit sick relatives, attend funerals and bid farewell to loved ones who have been called into glory. Christians physically meeting for prayer and coffee fellowship is not possible any more.
We are discovering a new style of conducting Pastoral work and public Ministry in a more complex situation, and hence we have come to both challenging and exciting things – some of which we will wish to keep once we resume, correct mistakes made and learn as well how the church could prepare to deal with a disaster of such magnitude in unprecedented ways in future.
As circuit staff we shall endeavour to make use of the digital platform and other forms of social communication, to keep us more connected and continue looking after each other. Thank you for sending us beautiful cards filled with messages of greetings, goodwill and encouragement during this period of lockdown.
Hopefully we can find ways to share our struggles during these difficult times, rejoice in victories, and grieve with each other during our moments of hardship. I believe we can face this together and inspire one another doing what we like best. It might not be wrong to stay away from television occasionally and occupy yourself with something else you’ve never tried before, be it knitting, painting, drawing, making comic videos, or even try composing your own music or writing an article about food you like, or gardening or anything really! Whatever brings balance in your social patterns, these are acts of defiant hope against all hope, acts of bold faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
As a community of believers, we are still accountable to each other as we look after one another pastorally, with love. When one of us is derailed from the Christian calling, we are there to caution each other. I hope you are aware that there are in the public domain, persistent conspiracy theories that attempt to construct a narrative as to the origin of the coronavirus and also a temptation to view the out-break of Covid-9 as divine retribution. Richard Becket previously addressed this in April. You could also take a challenge to do an unguided study on the outbreak of the disaster by looking at the book of Job. In Job chapter 2, it mentions his despondent prayers during plague, also chapters 14, 15, and 16 and Job’s prayer to those who wished him misfortune. Then in the last chapter (42), God responds to Jobs problems.
In a real sense we shall be confronted by a lot of things from various platforms that are misinformed, and hence mislead and become mischievous. We must look after each other and at the same time guard our Christian faith from contamination by theological rumour mongers or misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures. We cannot afford to see or hear that any of our own have backslid during such strange times.
Instead we should perhaps be more zealous and proactive in small bible studies and prayer meetings of whatever kind, in different models that suit your situation. Let’s work diligently to replace fear with faith, despair with hope. Thankfully, most religious leaders are unwilling to cast the burden of guilt on any group responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus. Instead, they have taken a page from the book of Job and underscored the impenetrable mystery of suffering. We trust you will be encouraged to press on, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Love…perseveres” (I Cor. 13:7, NIV).
In that respect many will be looking up to us for answers and we must live faithfully to the purpose of our calling and as much as possible ‘respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission’.
Prayer for the month and days ahead.
Our heavenly Father, look upon your children who in these difficult times of confusion and dismay are seeking strength, salvation and relief. We bring prayers for those who grieve the loss of their loved ones and those suffering due to the virus. Heal and comfort their families. Grant wisdom to our rulers and those in authority to make good and wise decisions. It is our prayer too that scientists and pharmaceutical companies will succeed in creating and distributing vaccines and cures. In the meantime, help us to observe rules of social distancing. We bring these prayers and many others, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Rev. Francis M’Itiiri