2021 starts, but without the bang! A very muted evening, with few of the usual noises that one normally associates with the celebrations, and daily updates of the next round of bad news, with infections and corresponding hospital admissions going up at a rate we certainly didn’t anticipate. I personally have given up watching the evening news at 10pm, simply because it seemed to be simply repeating what I’d heard the day before, with slightly worse predictions, and, at best, only slightly inspiring messages from our leaders.
Schools seem to be being hit more than in the earlier stages of this pandemic, and we are obviously anticipating far fewer of our partner schools being happy for us to come in, so we’ve gone from a fairly positive outlook back in early December that things were turning the corner, back to an expectation that we’re barely going into any schools at all.
There is obviously the fantastic news that we have two vaccines being administered, which changes the outlook massively, but these will take a long time to make a real difference.However, as we know so well, there is always hope!
Everything we face, all the struggles that we undergo, all the challenges that we are asked to take on, are done in the full knowledge that we have a Saviour, a Redeemer, who is always there. We have the Holy Spirit, a constant and ever-present source of comfort and strength, who empowers us to be more than we ever thought we could be, because our Father is able to do more than we can ever imagine.
Despite the difficulties we at SSW face, we still have a God who cares, and who provides. He has delivered on so many occasions, and we have so much to be thankful for, and we continue to lean on Him, in full expectation that what will happen will be in line with His will, and we want to be ready and available for Him when He moves. So, prayer requests!!!!
Thank God for good news. We have had one incredibly positive request from a primary school that we’ve had very little proper engagement with for some years. They have a new RE lead who, God be praised, is a Christian and has asked us to provide material for them to use and to link in with another school they partner with. Please continue to pray for more of this. God is ALWAYS at work, and we must never lose sight of the fact that He doesn’t actually need us, He invites us to take part in His work. More contact with more schools equals more opportunity to tell others about Him, so please pray that, despite all the restrictions, we can still engage with young people in a meaningful way.
We have been concerned about our flow of donations, and we have seen a significant reduction in giving. However, God continues to provide, and we have recently received funds from several churches that is very welcome! Please pray for our funding. God has enabled us to deliver so much over the years of our existence, and we firmly believe He intends to continue. However, as with all He does, He invites us to participate.
We will deliver a new Easter Experience. It won’t be the same, as it will not involve any live acting. However, we do believe it will be really well received. It will incorporate a video, supported by Sarah or Abby, which will allow the pupils to consider the story from the personal perspectives of many of those involved in the real events, and we are really prayerful that it will mean more children than ever will be able to engage in the story. Please pray for the process of contacting schools and arranging workshops for the month of March. This could be a fantastic opportunity, and we fully believe God will take us in a new direction through this.
As some of you may be aware, Sarah will be leaving us at the end of this term. This isn’t permanent, far from it, she’s off on maternity leave! This means we will need to be slightly adjusting our delivery, as, without Sarah, we will not be able to provide the same range of material. However, God, as ever, prepared us for this moment in time, by enabling us to employ Abby last year, and she is in an excellent position to take on much of what Sarah would have been doing in the summer term. Covid has meant we have had to reduce much of our delivery, and so well fully anticipate being able to provide a good range of assemblies, RE days, Iwonder prayer spaces and Transit workshops. We know we have a fantastic team of dedicated volunteers, without whom we would really struggle, and once again we are indebted to them. Please pray that this term will be one of preparation, allowing us to continue to deliver yet be ready for the necessary changes.
Finally, our secondary schools. We successfully engaged with Cheam High, but it looks like the new term will see very little physical engagement. Kate and Beca will continue to produce videos that seek to support young people and circulate them to our schools. Please pray that we will find the right people to support these, and that we may find new ways to interact, whilst still being ready to get back into the schools when they feel safe. Sutton Grammar have asked us in, but that was before this new wave of infections surged, so we’re expecting that to be cancelled. However, God is above and beyond all these things, so we keep relying on Him to provide the way.
Once again, bless you all for your support. Your prayers continue to sustain and uphold us. Please carry on!!!!!!
1. Protection and Wisdom. Please pray for protection for our primary schools and for wisdom for the school leadership teams. Also, please pray that we would know how best to serve our schools in this challenging and uncertain time.
Secondary Prayer Requests
1. Bookings - Please pray that Schools will reach out to us and start booking in for the academic year, we particularly want to focus on Pastoral Support for students so please pray schools will get in contact with us.
2. Online RE Lessons - One of our Schools requested that we do a number of online RE lessons, the first being Science & Faith, please pray this is received well by the School and the students.