Rogerstone Grassroots 10/12/2020

Wonderful Time of the Year….Its certainly been a year to remember who would have thought this time last year that  this year we would be  revising our plans to spend time over  the holidays with family and friends in light of the latest COVID-19 figures?  but through it  all we’ve seen so much hope and our community in Rogerstone coming together like the one community I spoke of before this terrible virus from the rainbows drawn by our kids and displayed by uncertain carers and parents  I chronicled on my daily ward works during the national lockdown to neighbours volunteering, asking what can I do to help?  and  to the most recent Christmas present drive, I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute and say thank you to all who’ve stepped up to help others. I try to keep in touch with as many faith groups as possible in Rogerstone and with Christmas just two weeks away this week I caught up with some of our Churches to find out their plans for a COVID-19 Christmas. Paster Mike from The Faith Church on Wern Industrial Estate told me ‘This Christmas we won’t be able to do our usual Christmas carol service in the building due to the government restrictions, but we are excited to be able to do an online Christmas service that will be available on YouTube.. Also we will be doing a short Christmas service on Christmas Day at 10:30am, Mike concluded ‘Have a blessed Christmas and if there’s anything that you need in this season please do not hesitate to contact us at Faith Church.  Merry Christmas Pastor Mike’

Peace, Good Will and Happiness… The Pastor, Mark Thomas from  Bethesda Baptist Church, Rogerstone, writes: What does Christmas mean in a year when most of what we normally do has been suspended or scaled-back in the interests of public health and saving lives? Do we just give it a miss, declare Christmas 2020 ‘cancelled’, and make a new year’s resolution to be back in 2021? Well, it is an option, but it doesn’t have to be this way. In a year when we cannot gather in large groups and sing, maybe we can discover some of the other, older, traditions and stories of Christmas and bring them to the digital age. At Bethesda and Cefn Wood Baptist Church we are focusing on what we can do rather than on what we cannot do and so services will be held in person and online on Sunday mornings and throughout Christmas. Spaces are limited in our churches but if you would like to attend please contact us through our website, www. Rogerstone. If you would like to join us virtually, drop us a line through our website and we will give you all the joining instructions. There will also be a virtual carol service at 6pm on the 20th and virtual services on Christmas Eve at 5pm and Christmas Day at 10.30am.All our services are broadcast on YouTube and on our website. Finally, all that remains is for us to say ‘may the blessings of peace, good will, and happiness be with you at Christmas and always.’ Thanks Mark for that heart warming message to our community.

Zoom Services… Trinity Methodist Church has been planning its celebrations of Advent and Christmas in a different way this year. As Advent approached church members, and others who use the facilities, along with members of the youth club and Messy Church, were invited to choose a favourite carol which was included in a special “on line” Advent calendar with doors to open each day. Due to the current rules on social distancing, a very limited number would be able to gather within the church, so Zoom services have meant that many more are able to join in. The traditional “toy service” on the first Sunday in December, when members take along toys to be donated to the Action for Children Fostering Service, was replaced by a Zoom service, which the Mayor of Newport joined in with, and Alison Smith, a representative from  Action for Children was able to thank Trinity members for their generous donation of over £1,000, which was sent in place of toys this year. Many families from within the community look forward to the Christingle service, which will still go ahead this year, by joining in a special Zoom service. Unable to meet together to actually join in the singing in  a traditional carol service on 20th December, there will still be a service of readings and carols. This will be filmed beforehand and can watched in the comfort of home via zoom , and for those who do not have this facility it is hoped to simultaneously zoom the filmed service into the church, for a limited number of people. If anyone would like to join in this or any other of the zoom services, the link can be accessed in advance by contacting 01633 897985.Two services are planned for Christmas eve- at 4o’clock an online Nativity Service, which would be enjoyed by all ages, and at 11.30pm a Zoom Midnight Service. Another Zoom service on Christmas morning at 10am, will be a nice relaxed time with an opportunity to open a present from home, and celebrate the birth of Jesus with others. The Sunday morning Zoom services look set to continue into the new year, to keep everyone safe. For more info and details of how to join the zoom meeting go to trinitymethodistnewport.co.uk.

Hamper Appeal…. Thanks to everyone who donated to the Christmas hamper appeal, we’ve raised over £600 (so far) together  your kindness and generosity at a time when there’s so much uncertainty around as been overwhelming, volunteers will be putting the hampers together over the next few days and as well as essentials your kindness as ensured there will be a Christmas treat included too. Do you know of someone who would benefit from a hamper? Maybe a family are finding things difficult or, you know of someone who’s feeling isolated? If so  get in touch with me on the details at the top of the page and I’ll do my best to ensure a hamper is left on their doorstep in time for Christmas. On a personal note, this as been a challenging year for me, I like so many have faced the prospect of redundancy and as we move into 2021 its important to be honest with neighbours the reality is the new year will be full of uncertainty for many, so let’s carry on  looking  out for each other, lets put past differences to one side and come together like the one community we know we are. I’d also like to ask, if you can, to please try to call on an elderly neighbour and/or someone alone over the holidays, just to simply say a socially distanced  hi, there’s nothing worse than being alone at Christmas whatever your age so  let’s show some real community spirit and help spread some seasonal joy and good will. It really is a honour and a privilege to represent my neighbours in Rogerstone, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and to those who have been critical I promise to continue to  listen to your feedback, the truth is we may not always agree but I’ll always admit when I’m wrong and try to do all I can to listen and represent our views and concerns, Merry Christmas Rogerstone, stay safe  and best wishes for a better 2021, remember, if you know someone who would benefit from a hamper give me a call.

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