Bulletin

Until circumstances change significantly, we will continue to issue the Bulletin on a monthly basis, based around a monthly prayer letter. Should the need arise, however, we can issue a Bulletin Update between the monthly Bulletins if necessary.


Prayer Letter – December 2020

by Rachel Raw

As we entered 2020, who would have thought that the Covid-19 virus would affect us all on so many levels; not just our nation but the world on a global scale. This year we have been living under lockdown restrictions that have affected all ages and all aspects of our daily living - from the way we work, to not being able to meet up with family and friends.  Although this Christmas may be different to what we are used to, may we use this Advent time to reflect on what Christmas really means; not the greed, the glitter and materialistic things, but how “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” (John 3:16)

Since the lockdown, Covid has affected how we do Church with many churches remaining closed throughout. Before we entered the second lockdown, some churches and corps were able to restart services with limited numbers, under strict guidelines, only to be closed again. According to the Open Doors organisation, this is a daily reality for the persecuted church, which has lived under these conditions for many years and will continue to do so. Unlike many Christians, who live in high persecution countries, we are still able to worship together and share the gospel on the internet and other channels of communication. However, we must never become complacent or take this for granted. Please continue to remember and pray for the persecuted church during Christmas as persecution intensifies.

Christmas in my heart

A few months ago, as we entered a second wave of Covid-19 and stricter restrictions were enforced across the nation, a newspaper headline read ‘Christmas is cancelled.’ However, the true meaning of Christmas, the Saviour’s birth, can never be cancelled or diminished from a believers’ heart. As I was reflecting on this, the Lord laid on my heart the songster song “Christmas in my heart” by Stephen Pearson/ Richard Phillips. Please prayerfully reflect on these words:

If a tiny child can make the whole world really care
Sing out this story for all people everywhere
While we’re together like we were from the start
Then I’ll know it's Christmas in my heart.
If an infant king can make a difference in this world
Sing out his message like a golden flag unfurled
When we’re together like we were at the start
Then I’ll know it’s Christmas, then I’ll know it’s Christmas in my heart.

Let the world take the glitter and the greed
The only Christmas presence that I need
Is you beside me like you were at the start
Then I’ll know it’s Christmas, then I’ll know it’s Christmas in my heart.

If a holy child can teach us all to play a part
Sing out his story that will touch the hardest heart
Just you beside me like you were from the start
Makes me know it's Christmas in my heart
If a tiny babe can teach us all to be more kind
Sing out his story, leave disharmony behind
You, me together like we were from the start
Makes me know it's Christmas, now I know it’s Christmas in my heart

Lord,Let the world take the glitter and the greed
The only Christmas presence that I need
Is you beside me like you were at the start
Then I’ll know it’s Christmas in my heart”
Lord, help us to share your Christmas message and
may it touch even the hardest hearts and bring hope
to our hurting communities and nation.  
In Jesus’ name, Amen

One of my favourite highlights of Advent Sunday services is the lighting of the Advent wreath.  Although I have never lit an Advent wreath candle, I like to watch how the candle flickers and how its light makes a difference to a darkened room or corner.  It reminds us how Jesus, light of the world, came from Heaven to live amongst us so we could be reconciled back to God even though we do not deserve it. This humbling and life changing Christmas message has changed you and I and countless men, women and children for over 2000 years and still does. May our lives shine brightly especially in this world of darkness so that others will see Jesus (Matthew 5:14, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 5:8, NLT)

Please reflect on this poem ‘The Advent Candle’ penned by Alison C.Hall.

One mid-November in a city store
Four candles stood tall on a shelf by the door
They shared their dreams of giving light
Of making their buyers world so bright
Said the First one, “I think I shall be giving
Light to the carollers in a community.”
Said the Second, “I think I shall be light.
To some poor person’s home tonight.”
Then the Third said, “I shall shine on top of a Christmas tree.”
Then the Fourth shouted to all, “I am going to the Near Year’s ball.”
Then one bright morning, a bit after sunrise
To a Church far, far, far away
“Why are we all here?” They kept saying
Confused, worried, hoping and praying.
Then a Large candle appeared in angel white
“Do not be afraid, I have heard your plight
You are destined for greater than you can see
For you, dear candle, shall be a light for me.
First candle you are HOPE for the lost earth
That waited so long ago for the Messiah’s BIRTH
Second candle, you are a song of PEACE and Preparation.
To people in all the world, especially this nation
Third candle, do you know you are such a JOY.
To every man, woman, girl and boy?
Fourth Candle, the greatest of all is LOVE.
The nature of the triune God above.
So you see, you are fulfilling your mission to all
To listen and answer to God’s continuous call
For I know the plans God has for you.
Plans to make bigger, better dreams come true.

The candles smile bright and begin to sing
Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming....

You are specially invited to join us in prayer on Wednesday evenings at 7pm and Sunday Mornings at 9:30am on’ Prayer Matters’ on Facebook. If you don’t have access online, please will you pray alongside us during these times?

During December, our Wednesday Corps prayer meetings will be focusing on the meaning of the Advent wreath. The candles within the Advent wreath represents Hope, Love, Joy, Peace and Christ.  

For those of you who do not have access to online Corps prayer meetings and would like to participate, here is our Wednesday prayer meeting itinerary in December:

Wednesday 2nd December 7pm:  The first  Advent Candle on the Advent wreath symbolizes ‘HOPE’ and is also known as the ‘PROPHECY CANDLE.’ This reminds us of the prophecies within the Old testament that foretold of the birth of Jesus Christ (see Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7: 14 and Isaiah 9:6-7, NLT). Other Old Testament prophecies that foretold the coming of our Saviour from birth to the Cross are found in Genesis 3:25, Isaiah 53:2-12, Isaiah 61:1-3, NLT)

Wednesday 9th December 7pm: The second Advent candle symbolizes ‘LOVE’ and is known as the ‘BETHLEHEM’ CANDLE or PREPARATION CANDLE. This reminds us of Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their faithfulness to God’s call. It also reminds us of the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and encourages us all to get ready to receive Jesus in our hearts and make room for him (see Luke 1:26-38, 46-56, Matthew 1: 18-25, Luke 21-6, NLT)

Wednesday 16th December 7pm: The third Advent candle represents ‘JOY’ and is also called the ‘SHEPHERDS CANDLE.’ This reminds us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus Christ. Tonight, we prayerfully reflect on the shepherds and the joy they experienced on that first Christmas night (Luke 2:8-20, NLT). May we rediscover the wonder and joy of our Saviour’s birth this Christmas time.

Wednesday 23rd December 7pm: As we approach Christmas, the prayer theme will be reflecting on the 4th candle and the 5th (white) candle placed in the centre of the Advent wreath and lit on Christmas Day. The 4th candle is often referred to as the ‘ANGELS CANDLE’ which symbolizes PEACE. ‘Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.’ (Please read Luke 2:8-14, NLT). The white candle symbolizes Jesus our Saviour and Lord who is the son of God, pure and sinless and loving. It is known as the ‘CHRIST CANDLE’ (Luke 1:32-35, Luke 2: 11, Isaiah 53, Hebrews 4:15, John 4: 25-26, NLT).

During our Wednesday online prayer meetings this month there will be a time of worship through Carols and Christmas worship songs.  For those who do not have access to online prayer meetings, we encourage you to listen to a Christmas carol or worship song during this time.

We hope that you will join us in prayer. Let’s keep Corps prayer meetings going.

Prayer points for December

  • Pray for officers as they bring us the Christmas message, during December, and for those who work behind the scenes at the corps for the Lord. Pray for Major Kelvin and the residents and staff at Harnall Lifehouse. Pray for Hayley, who works as chaplain at Youell Court, and the residents and staff there.
  • Pray for our Corps family as this year has been difficult for all of us. Pray for those affected by ill health and having treatments, for those facing unemployment or changes in their working hours due to the current economic climate, for those struggling mentally, emotionally and physically, or feeling isolated and lonely during these difficult times. Please also continue to pray for our Corps family members who are living in care homes and for their families too.
  • Pray for those who are grieving loved ones this Christmas time.
  • Pray for those who are unable to see family and friends due to restrictions and for those who will have a different Christmas this year.
  • Pray for the young children, teenagers and students and for the YP workers who continue to teach and equip the young people to grow in Christ.
  • Pray that the Corps online Sunday services, prayer meetings and bible studies will grow from strength to strength. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. May those ways of sharing the word bring people into God’s Kingdom.
  • Pray that there will be opportunities for the band to be able to share the gospel message and may there be an opportunity to do some form of carolling as restrictions allow.
  • Pray for our Prime Minister, the government and especially our local councils as they work together to support the local communities. Pray that food bank charities will have enough donations to support people of all ages in need.
  • Pray for an effective and safe vaccine against Covid and for the infection rates to drop. Pray for those have been affected by this virus living with long term health effects and for those who have lost loved ones and friends to this virus.
  • Pray for our local hospitals and the NHS staff who work on the front line at the University Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, George Eliott and Rugby St Cross hospitals. Pray not only for the doctors, nursing staff and paramedics, but also for the therapists, support workers, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, porters, housekeeping staff, admin staff, volunteers, and hospital Chaplains, all who play a vital part in the NHS.
  • Pray for provision for our corps and provision for our neighbouring corps such as Bedworth, Hinckley, Leamington, Nuneaton, and Rugby as they support their local communities.
  • Pray for other key workers; care workers in the community, teachers and school staff, fire service, police, armed forces, council workers, retail staff, bus and train drivers, pharmacists etc.
  • Please continue to pray for the persecuted Christians all over the world and for the organisations such as Barnabas fund and Open Doors that support them.
  • Pray for Dean Heeley as he continues his radio programme on Saturday evenings on UCB2.

To all who read this prayer newsletter I pray you will know God’s amazing and unconditional love for you and that he will fill you with peace and joy at this Christmas time. May those who find Christmas a difficult time of year know that you are not alone; Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.  Allow Jesus to draw near to you and allow him fill you with his peace if you are struggling with this. Just take it to the Lord in Prayer and “keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)

May you all rediscover the Joy of the birth of our Lord and Saviour and always keep the true Christmas message in your hearts.

If you do not know Jesus as your personal Saviour and friend, will you let him in today?

Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” (Revelation 3:20, NLT).

Amen.

Electronic Bulletin
If you would like to receive this weekly bulletin by email each week, or know of anybody who would like to receive it, please let us know at coventry.city.corps@salvationarmy.org.uk.

024 7655 2183

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coventry.city.corps@salvationarmy.org.uk

Coventry City, Upper Well Street

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The Salvation Army is an integral part of the Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible; its motivation is the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. At Coventry City Corps we seek to -

  • be welcoming in FELLOWSHIP
  • bring people to Jesus through EVANGELISM
  • encourage Christlike growth and maturity through DISCIPLESHIP
  • be responsive to the needs of others through MINISTRY
  • praise God through our lifestyle and WORSHIP

 

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