34th Letter to our Church Members

Letter 34

I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Psalm 122:1)

To all the members and friends of Sion Baptist Church, we send our very best regards to each and every one of you, to your families and friends and to the communities where you live. Like you, I have been thinking about the last year and what it has all meant and what, if anything, can be learned from it. Like some others, I have been thinking about the unique opportunities these unusual times have actually presented to us. We have had the opportunity to thank the people on the check-out in the supermarket or those who stack the shelves with food that, hitherto, we really have taken for granted.  We can say a thank-you to our bin men, our postal delivery workers…the list goes on.

                Though I live, just as you do, one-day-at-a-time, I have been thinking about the future and what and who we might become as people and as a fellowship. I encourage you to think and reflect on your experience and how that might help us move forward. Perhaps write it down so it can be shared at our church meetings in the future or sent to the church deacons to discuss in their virtual gatherings. The day will come when we can safely come back together. My prayer is that we will have come through this experience of wilderness a better, a stronger and a wiser people, a people who have hope and a future, not just a past…

                As members of the church we have the opportunity, in some way each day, to witness to the love of God that is found supremely in Jesus Christ. You have an opportunity to be a non-anxious presence during a time of crisis. When people in your family or circle of relationships ask you why, exactly, you are so calm during this prolonged period of uncertainty or why it is that you don’t complain even in your suffering, you can tell them with gentleness and respect, by sharing your faith and your hope. Write a letter or send a card with a word of encouragement to someone who feels lonely, maybe as you do. Do something which is fitting for a member of the church. Join a prayer meeting or a bible study on-line…or set one up. If you only have a phone, pray with someone over it.

                The church is not defined by its buildings or its places for worship; it is defined by its worshippers and the God they worship.  We cannot do any of this, of course, without the aid of God’s Spirit. The apostle Paul reminds his young charge, Timothy that he is not to give up, though times were hard:   7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

                This last week Mary Davidson, a dear friend and fellow worshipper at Sion Baptist Church, passed away peacefully at Crawshaw Hall where she had been receiving end-of-life care. From all that I knew of Mary she had that same bold spirit and, in her many years of service to the LORD, was known by her friends for those same hard-working and loving ways. Please hold her family up in your prayers, especially her sons, Robert and James as they grieve the loss of their mother and prepare for her funeral.

                A service of celebration and committal will be held on Thursday February 25th, 2021 in Burnley Crematorium at 1:45 pm. It is my particular privilege to preside at this occasion and commend Mary into the loving hands of her Maker and Saviour. As Mary’s son James reminded me, her mother was a “devout” Christian and is not at the end of everything, but is really at the beginning of something…very special. We would all do well to remember just that in these times.

                Due to the corona virus, Mary’s family has decided to limit attendance at this service to close family members only. However, I will ensure that a copy of the tribute to Mary is available for all to see. May I remind you all: if you have special memories of Mary which might be included in the tribute and prayers, please send these to me. If you wish to send a card to the family, please send them care of the Manse, to me.  Flowers will be family flowers only. In recognition of their roll in her life, all donations will be made to MacMillan Cancer Care, via Fred Hamer, funeral Directors.

See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be His people and God Himself will be with them…” (Revelation 21: 3b)


Every Blessing!

Mark Faris-Robertson (16/02/21)

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