Return of the Café!

It will have been 581 days since the last Pop-Up Café in March 2020, but on October 9th we will finally be able to open our doors again! Not only that, but they’re new doors, as we’ve moved to the Parklands Educate Together Primary School.

From 10am to noon, you can come along for a chance to meet up with old friends, make some new ones, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a yummy cake, and let the kids do a craft.

We’ve missed all of our regular faces over the past 18 months, and look forward to seeing you all again every month. As well as October 9th, we already have cafes booked in for November 13th and December 11th.

With Covid still lingering, we would ask that you wear a mask if you’re moving around the café, crafts will be distributed for children to do at their own tables, and card payments are now accepted and preferred.

Calling all Crafters

Some of you may remember we ‘craft bombed’ the school and park with Christmas Stars last year. Well, we are planning a similar activity this year (not stars!), so if you enjoy knitting, crochet, cross stitch, felt, any craft really we’d love you to get involved in making this year. They are small and simple, even if you only make a couple, they all count! Contact us for more info or join the special Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/4316056878513555/?ref=share

Alpha is back

You’re Invited

In partnership with Clarence Park Baptist, Milton Baptist and Worle Baptist Churches, we are offering the Alpha Course online again on Zoom from September 22nd onwards.

Alpha is a chance to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal environment.

If you’ve got questions, you’re not alone. Alpha is a space where you get together with others, online, to watch a series of short videos covering some of the big questions around the Christian faith such as Who is Jesus?, How and why do people pray? and What’s the meaning of life? – and then have a chat about it.

A new course is starting 22nd September and you’re invited to come along.  For more information please email: parklandscommunity@gmail.com

Claire is moving on

After four years as a Minister-in-Training as Community Pastor of Parklands Community Church, Claire Roberts is moving on to become the full-time minister of Queensberry Baptist Church in Nottingham.

In her time with us at Parklands, Claire has led the church through a time of great change whilst also becoming a key part of the expanding community in the Parklands Village development.

Whilst we are very sad to see Claire go, it is a very exciting calling to be a minister at another church and we wish her all the best in her new adventure. Claire’s last day with Parklands Community Church will be the end of July.

Parklands Community Church will continue to meet as normal, and will be looking to appoint a new Community Pastor in the medium term.

PCC goes to school

Four years after Parklands Community Church first held a Sunday Gathering at the Radio Wing on Easter Sunday 2017, this year’s Holy Day sees another milestone for PCC as we meet in the Parklands Educate Together Primary School for the first time on Easter Sunday, April 4th 2021.

As restrictions are easing from the third national lockdown, we are able to meet in person again, and with the Radio Wing being used as a local vaccination centre we have taken the opportunity to meet at the brand new primary school, which is located on what will become the development’s “high street” in the future.

There will still be some restrictions in place – we’re not allowed to sing, need to wear masks, and keep social distancing for example – but it is exciting to be able to meet together again in a venue so central to the ever-expanding new development.

If you are interested in attending our Sunday Gatherings, pre-booking of attendance is still required due to ongoing Test and Trace regulations, so please email Claire at Claire.parklandscc@gmail.com.

New Year – back to lockdown

A New Year’s Message from Community Pastor, Claire

I hope you all had a good Christmas despite the restrictions. Hopefully it was a chance to pause, refresh and reflect on the good news of Jesus in some way (as well as eat loads of tasty food!). My positive ‘Happy New Year’ message feels rather dampened as we also welcome a new Lockdown this week. I know the news last night will have brought a mix of emotions and it’s ok to need a few days to process it all. I’ll be praying for each of you as you work out what this means for you, especially for those of you with children too.

As leaders we’re also trying to process what the news means for us as a church. We were due to have a service at The Radio Wing this coming Sunday and I know many of us have appreciated being able to gather together like this over the past few months. Somewhat surprisingly, the new lockdown guidance does allow religious services to continue during this lockdown. For some religions, and branches of Christianity, there is a particular spiritual significance to attending a specific place of worship or carrying out certain rituals. So banning all religious services can cause distress to these communities in particular.

However, with Covid cases rising rapidly, the clear message from the government is to stay at home wherever possible. The closure of schools gives an indication of how seriously we need to take that message. As we consider our actions as a Church, we also want to think about the example we are setting for the community too. Just because we can meet, doesn’t mean we should. The Baptist Union of UK Churches (which we belong to) has also just released guidance advising churches not to open at this time. 

Therefore, as a leadership team we have decided we will not be holding any services at The Radio Wing for the time being. 

We will continue to review the guidance and our procedures over the next few weeks as the lockdown progresses. Please be praying for wisdom and clarity as we seek God’s guidance for the way ahead. 
But as with previous lockdowns, we don’t stop being church just because we can’t gather together physically. We can continue to connect over zoom, phone calls and 1-1 socially distanced walks, which are allowed for daily exercise during the current lockdown. Let’s keep encouraging one another and showing God’s love to our wider community too.

Finally, a reminder that whatever we face, God is always with us. We remember Jesus as Immanuel, God with us, at Christmas. But the promise of his presence is for every day of the year and every situation we find ourselves in. Here are some of my favourite verses from Isaiah 43 that remind us of that promise:

“But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”

May you know God’s presence and peace with you

Claire

Christmas 2020

Sadly, due to the ongoing circumstances with Covid, we can’t host our usual Christmas celebrations in person this year, so we’ll be doing things a little differently. Here are the things we’re able to do this year, and keep your eyes peeled for a starry surprise in the next week or so.

1st-24th December
Advent Windows, Flowerdown and Parklands

Still acceptable in a socially-distanced world, for the third year running we have organised Advent Window trails in the communities of Flowerdown Park and Locking Parklands. Check our Facebook Event for the latest.

Sunday 13th December, 4pm
Online Christingle Service, Facebook Live

Join us online as we make our Christingles and reflect on Jesus as light of the world. We’ll have Christingle packs ready to be collected on Saturday 12th December for anyone who’d like to join in. Please send an email to parklandscommunity@gmail.com to request a pack.

Sunday 20th December, 4pm
Family Christmas Quiz, Facebook Live

Join us for a family friendly Christmas quiz on Facebook Live. There’ll be a prize for the best team name and the winners!

Light in the dark from Advent Windows

For the third year running, Parklands Community Church have organised an Advent Window trail in the communities of Flowerdown Park and Locking Parklands. At a time in the world where people may feel it is very dark, it is our hope that these windows will provide a hint of the light that is coming in the form of Jesus.

Every evening from December 1st to the 24th, a new window will be revealed, just like a real-life advent calendar only without the chocolate (or cheese, gin, or makeup if you have one of those fancy advent calendars), and they (mostly) will stay up until New Year’s Day.

So come and wander the two areas looking for the latest creations (from a safe social distance, of course), and follow along on the special Facebook event set up.

You can collect paper copies of maps from December 1st from outside 20 Varsity Way in Flowerdown Park and 8 Farnborough Road in Parklands, or download an electronic version of the maps here:

Socially Distanced Hallowe’en

With Covid-19 still disrupting our plans, we won’t be able to be on the green again this Hallowe’en serving hot chocolate and sweets. It’s going to be very different for a lot of us this year, and some people may not be as comfortable opening their doors to Trick or Treaters as in previous years. To help with that, we’ve produced some posters which you can put in your windows or on your doors.

You can download the PDF of all four images here.