Ward Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As a Bishopric we think of you daily, especially at this unusual time.  You may be aware that President Nelson has asked the whole church to join in a worldwide fast to “pray for relief from the physical, emotional and economic effects of this global pandemic” and to plead for “physical, spiritual and other healing throughout the entire world.”

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-nelson-fast-pray-relief-covid-19

Below are some other things that we hope you will find useful to know.

1) The ward has a presence online in two locations, http://www.woodsettonward.blog is freely accessible and has no need for an account to access.  It will be updated at least twice a week with news and uplifting content.  Woodsetton Ward on Facebook will have the same content, except that this platform is also able to show video.

2) We are trialing online discussion for the adults and youth tomorrow (Sunday 28th March).  These will both be provided via Zoom.  You can either connect by internet (requires a webcam and microphone) or just by phone audio. We would love you to attend if possible, the invites are at the end of this blog.  The adult session will be focused around ‘Come Follow Me’ for the week, and the youth session will be to share uplifting thoughts, insights and actions in response to the pandemic.

3) General Conference, next weekend, will be streamed live for all sessions. President Nelson has asked us to study and ponder Joseph Smith History in preparation for this conference season.

4) Please be reminded that our food storage is for use in times of necessity.  If you are able to shop, then please continue to do so as per government guidelines.  In this way, you will retain your store for a time when its use may be unavoidable. If you need help with physically collecting shopping, then contact your ministers, Elder’s Quorum President or Relief Society President.

With love,

Bishop

ADULT COME FOLLOW ME – 3pm

Woodsetton Bishop is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Come Follow Me, Woodsetton Ward

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/432260427?pwd=Nk84N1JSWkQwdUtuMlhVQmF4YW9CQT09

Meeting ID: 432 260 427

Password: 014471

Dial by your location

        +44 208 080 6592 United Kingdom

        +44 330 088 5830 United Kingdom

        +44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom

        +44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom

        +44 208 080 6591 United Kingdom

Meeting ID: 432 260 427

YOUTH – 7pm

Woodsetton Bishop is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Woodsetton Youth Together

Time: Mar 29, 2020 07:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/230532713?pwd=TEt0UVlCcExWRXdidUo1bmg2b21QZz09

Meeting ID: 230 532 713

Password: 705150

Dial by your location

        +44 208 080 6591 United Kingdom

        +44 208 080 6592 United Kingdom

        +44 330 088 5830 United Kingdom

        +44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom

        +44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom

Meeting ID: 230 532 713

Find your local number: https://us04web.zoom.us/u/fd6KQT3fD5

Give Us This Day

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

These are sobering times, which may have led to some pondering and introspection.

When the Saviour gave us His example of how to pray, He instructed us

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

Matthew 6:9-13

The outline given above is undeniably brief.  I remember repeating it frequently in early morning assemblies at primary school.  It carried little meaning to me at that time. Time and experience tend to hone our understanding if we are open to the Lord’s instruction.

After the Exodus from Egypt, the ancient Israelites found themselves effectively stranded in the uncompromising harshness of the desert.  Wanting for even basic sustenance, they ‘murmured against Moses’ and wished that they had died in Egypt. Moses explained that their mumurings were not against him, but ultimately against the Lord. 

In response, the Lord promised to ‘rain bread from heaven’, but He did this with certain conditions imposed that meant that the Israelites would be required to go and gather their bread daily from the ground.  There could be no stockpiling, for the bread would decay overnight.

In this way, the Lord offered to sustain His people, and by doing so the Lord would ‘prove them, whether they will walk in [His] law.’  Their faith would be tested daily, and they would be required to work to gather their blessing and live by it. The Lord told them that by doing this they ‘shall know that I am the Lord your God.’

Around us, faith has struggled to have a place in our modern world.  Enos remarked, I think perhaps he did so sadly, that alongside significant calamities and challenges “nothing save…. continually reminding them of death and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God…. would keep them from going down speedily to destruction.” (Enos 1:23) The need for daily bread is real.

What is the manner of our manna?  How are we sustained from day to day?

President Nelson recently and prophetically counseled us

“Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives

Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life.  This truth is reaffirmed in partaking the Sacrament as we are fed and filled through Him (see Nephi 18:1-9). In Christ, our Father in Heaven has provided for our safe return to Him and – as for the ancient Israelites – given us a way to know that He is our God.  

The prayers we offer, the study we undertake, the service we render, is in the name of Christ. His is the name we have taken upon us, and ‘the only name whereby man is saved.’  Because of this, the revelation we receive, the blessings bestowed, the empowerment to act, and the guidance, peace and fruits of the Spirit are all given us daily by virtue of the Bread of Life which is Christ. 

If it so be that we are required to live daily by faith, then this is an invitation to draw closer to the Lord, to know Him more deeply, to trust Him more fully.

“Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom; Lead thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see

the distant scene – one step enough for me.”

Hymns 97

We are frequently reminded that we live in uncertain times, unprecedented in recent history.  However, the Lord has always encouraged his people to ‘walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Cor 5:7).  To name a few, Noah, Moses, Lehi, Jared, Mormon, Moroni, the Pioneers, all had to live on ‘daily bread’.  Let us take the opportunity that is here in our days to do the same, strengthen one another and reach out to those who struggle without faith.

This is the Church of Jesus Christ, He actively leads and guides us personally through the Holy Ghost and through the living prophet. There is daily bread.

Remember one another, love one another. My love, prayers and concern for you all,

Bishop Batt.

Quick Update from Ward Council

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Following Ward Council last night, please can we urge everyone please to not contribute to the general panic-buying at large around us. Instead, please shop little and often. Reserve your food storage until it actually becomes necessary to use it. If you need help with this, contact your organisation leaders.

The Preston Temple, along with all Temples in Europe is now closed for all ordinance work.

Woodsetton Guidance For Members

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Bishopric and Ward Council have met to discuss our next steps as a ward, and we can now share with you the following guidance.  Please take time to read through the various sections of this letter, which is shared with you in a spirit of love and fellowship.

Communication & ‘The Sociality Of The Saints’ (D&C 130:2)

Communication is key, especially weekly contact between saints and their ministers.  Please understand that your ministering is vital to the coherence of the ward. Ministers are literally the key to a successful continuation of the church’s mission in Woodsetton.  They are the shepherds and need to ‘know their sheep’.

As directed in General Conference (October 2019), members should turn in the first instance to their ministers for support and then to their organisational leaders for counselling on matters that do not require the ‘judge in Israel’, which is the Bishop.

We are aware that our ward records are not wholly up to date with email addresses or telephone numbers.  If your details have changed recently, please report these to Bro. Harry Conlan directly so that the records can be updated.

We will use a combination of telephone calls, emails, and social media to provide news, articles and other services. The front runner of these will be our website, which is publicly viewable (no account needed) at: woodsettonward.blog

Ward members are ‘agents unto themselves’ (D&C 58:28) and accordingly can meet together socially, away from the meetinghouse or online, as they determine.  Please do not feel that the organisation below are the only members you can contact.

The Family

The family is the central unit of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation.  I strongly encourage you to:

  1. Set meaningful personal and family goals based on the ideals presented in ‘The Family: A Proclamation To The World’. I cannot emphasise enough the value of doing this.
  2. Teach & live the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  3. Hold family councils, as repeatedly encouraged in General Conference.  The weight of the burden of responsibility for the success of each family now rests firmly on the heads of the parents.  Individuals in families need to celebrate each other’s successes, support one another in their goals, and give compassion and service to one another in their challenges.
  4. Make full use of ‘Come, Follow Me for Families and Individuals’.  Each family is unique and will likely find their own most successful way of doing this through trial and evaluation.
  5. Hold family home evening.
  6. Melchizedek Priesthood holders are there to minister not only the sacrament but to give father’s blessings and other blessings as required. ‘Therefore, now let every man learn his duty and to act in the office in which he is appointed in all diligence.’ (D&C 107:99)  

The Sacrament

General notes on the administration of the Sacrament

  1. The health and safety of everyone is paramount.  Before each occasion of inviting families round or visiting others, we should be candid about our own health and investigate theirs.  There is no obligation to invite or visit families or individuals where symptoms are present.
  2. If someone is choosing to self-isolate without symptoms, then we do not need to press them to receive the sacrament.
  3. Those who are administering the sacrament should follow current health directions on washing and cleanliness before the ordinance (and after a visit). No vessels should be shared.
  4. The sacrament must be administered in person.
  5. Ideally the sacrament should be administered as part of Sabbath day observance, but this can be given exception where necessary.
  6. The church handbook of instructions contain directions for administering the sacrament:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/title-page?lang=eng

Sacrament Meeting

Families are to decide for themselves the agenda supporting the ordinance of the Sacrament.  There will be differing needs based on the age of family members, the number of people who may be visiting, or whether the ordinance is being conducted as a visit. 

The Sacrament does not have to be accompanied with a full worship service. It may be that a family decides to follow the Sacrament with a discussion based on the Come Follow Me reading for the week, or sharing testimony, for example.  In pondering this, the following guidelines are given to help.

  1. 2 Nephi 32:9 counsels us to pray always, that we should ‘not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.’  Therefore, the ordinance should be preceded by prayer.
  2. Within a normal sacrament meeting, the sacrament is placed so as to emphasise its centrality and importance.  In itself, it is a reminder of the life and mission of the Saviour Jesus Christ, His role as our Redeemer and Mediator, and a renewal of our relationship with the Father through taking His Son’s name upon us. Nothing should detract from the sacred nature of the ordinance.
  3. Scripture readings, talks or discussions following the sacrament should focus on the Saviour for this reason.  Elder Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has counselled the Bishops to never let a Sacrament meeting pass by where a testimony of Christ has not been shared in some way.

Members who are unsure what to do, or if they are ‘getting it right’ should counsel with their leaders who will refer the matter to myself if necessary.

As Bishop, I now authorise every worthy Priest and Melchizedek Priesthood holder to administer the sacrament for themselves and their household until further notice.  Within the home this does not require two brethren.

For families with no worthy priesthood holder, brethren will be assigned to administer the sacrament to you.  Some of you will be able to travel to the home of the Priesthood holder, others will need them to come to you. These assignments will be communicated to you later today by the Elder’s Quorum and Relief Society presidencies.  Although the First Presidency has invited us to make the sacrament available to all ward members at least monthly, we must respect everyone’s right to self isolate.

Brethren, if you do not consider yourself worthy to administer the sacrament, contact me.  The work is hastening and it is time to put these things in order.

Ministering

Ministering has been restructured.  These assignments will be communicated to you later today by the Elder’s Quorum and Relief Society presidencies.

Ministers will need to report weekly to their assigned organisation leader. In your report, please indicate:

  1. Those who received the sacrament.
  2. A brief general assessment, especially Come Follow Me, family prayer.
  3. Any arising needs, emotional, spiritual, or temporal and actions underway or assistance needed.
  4. Decisions to self-isolate.

If any Saints have a confirmed case of Covid-19, this needs to be reported urgently to a leader.

Classes & Meetings

As a ward council we are working to implement the following:

  • Regular uplifting talks and articles published via the website and social media.
  • Seminary has moved to being 100% online.
  • Online Primary ‘classes’ for children to access at home.  The Primary Presidency will release details shortly.
  • Youth Sunday School and a ‘Youth Together’ (replacing individual YW & YM lessons) online discussion group. The Bishopric and YW Presidency will release details shortly.
  • A potential online testimony meeting.
  • Sunday School group online discussions on ‘Come Follow Me’ for Adults. Bro. Clifford Jones, acting Sunday School President, will release details shortly.s
  • Insititute will change to a fully online system, details will come out via the Stake YSA reps.
  • Youth Leaders are invited to begin looking at other ways that the youth can interact without meeting together for the ‘Children & Youth Programme’.

All members are encouraged to make use of the ‘Gospel Living App’ to support them in living the gospel daily.  It provides help with setting goals, finding uplifting resources, and also has a church social media function.

Ministers will need to pay particular attention to be aware of members who do not have internet access and adjust the frequency and content of their ministering accordingly. 

The Temple

Please be aware that the Temples are now closed worldwide to ordinances for the dead until further notice.  Living ordinance can still be performed there.

Donations

All members who have an online Banking facility can now make donations through logging in to the Church website.  If you would like assistance to learn how to do this, contact your leaders and we’ll talk you through.

If you do not have online Banking, please continue to set aside your tithes and offerings until such time that we can collect them.

Interviews & Business

Bro. Harry Conlan will keep track of expiring temple recommends and upcoming YSA and Youth Interviews.

Any ward business to be conducted will be sent out by message accompanied with a closing date for opposing votes. Successfully conducted business will be then be announced.

The Meetinghouse

All use of the meetinghouse to be requested by approaching the WBR,  Bro. Isaac Batt, or the Bishop in the first instance. It is important that we are aware of when the building will be unlocked or used.

Concluding Thoughts

Brothers and Sisters, the situation in our area with Covid-19 is liable to change rapidly under government guidance.  We are hopeful that the adjustments made above will enable us to continue to carry the work of the Lord forward. Remember that although our regular meetings have been suspended, the work has not been.  There are opportunities here to love & serve one another and a wider community.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

Joseph Smith, Jnr

The Saviour said  ‘As I have loved you, love one another.  By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’ Let us follow His injunction, walk by faith, exercise hope and go forward knowing that He has prepared us for times such as these.

I hope to meet with you all soon, but will be in touch over the coming days.

With love,

Bishop

Back Online!

Hi guys,

Apologies for the long absence! Holidays started and I took the chance to step back from responsibility for a while.

The spiritual thought for tonight is from Dieter F Uchtdorf – and, no, I didn’t just pick the first image on google images because it was there, it really spoke volumes to me at this time so I hope it does for you too!

Image result for lds spiritual thought

President Uchtdorf always manages to put a perspective on things for me, and I am ever grateful for him and for the guidance I receive in the words he speaks.

Thanks for checking the page out ladies and gents. Goodnight!

-Admin