Though all the World is Changing

Though all the world is changing,

God remains the same.

Our Rock and our provider,

The Name above all Names.

Though every firm foundation

Seems shaken, broken, gone,

The One who made the stars:

His love goes on and on.

For God’s grace is sufficient

To cover every sin.

He rose again, victorious.

God knew that He would win.

We put our trust in Jesus

And hold on through the storm.

He’s ever good, he’s faithful.

He comforts the forlorn.

Though all the world is changing,

Our God remains the same.

He has control of Nations

And all should praise His name.


Amy Jarvis

Antidotes to Anxiety

I thought I might share a few simple tools to help us combat the anxiety we’re experiencing, perhaps daily, and often at night. I suggest some things to do, then ways to help us think differently to combat those worrying thoughts. Being a Christian, I tend to integrate these techniques with my faith perspective, so I’ll offer those links which I hope might be helpful to some.

Anxiety is always triggered by uncertainty, and we are all living in very uncertain times. Those of us who don’t usually experience anxiety much are getting a taste of what it’s like for those who battle with it regularly.

Things to do:

Every morning, when the daily reality of this lockdown kicks in, write a gratitude list. Try to list at least 10 things that you can genuinely be thankful about. Speak them out loud to yourself, dwelling on each one. Gratitude is at the heart of the Christian faith: ‘Give thanks in all circumstances.’ (1Thessalonians 5:18) Thanksgiving helps change our mood.

As is widely known, exercise helps our mental wellbeing, so integrate that into your daily schedule at whatever level you can manage; in your chair, round your house or beyond.

When anxious, tension locates in our bodies. Try this exercise:

Actively tense all the muscles in your feet, holding for five seconds, then slowly relax the muscles over five seconds and pause to enjoy the feeling. Do the same with your calf muscles, clenching them tight, then releasing them in the same rhythm, slowly work all the muscle groups up to your shoulders and head, then finally tighten all the muscles in your face and gently release them.  This takes time and concentration, and often helps when we can’t sleep!

Follow this with a simple breathing exercise: breathe in slowly through your nose, imagining the breath going right down to your waist, expanding your lower back, shoulders down, over 4 seconds. Breathe out through your mouth slowly for four seconds. Repeat a number of times. One of the Hebrew names for the Holy Spirit is ‘ruach’ which means breath. I like to turn this exercise into a simple prayer: ‘Breathe in me…(inhale), breath of God…(exhale)

Things to think

When we’re anxious we’re often thinking bad things are going to happen, and sometimes we dwell on the worst-case scenario. This is called catastrophising; living in the catastrophe that hasn’t actually happened. This happens a lot for us at the moment. Most of our worst fears are never realised.

Jesus said something very helpful in his Sermon on the Mount, that tomorrow has enough worries of its own, so just concentrate on today’s challenges. He knew he was going to face the cross, so he lived that wise advice, seeking God’s will for the day ahead.

Another technique is imagining a real place you know which is calming, lovely, or an experience which is soothing like walking along a beach you know, a place in your garden with a favourite mug of tea. Practice imagining it so you can ‘call it to mind’ when you feel frightened.

And finally:

‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.’ (Philippians 3;6)

Rachel Firth

Life in Lockdown #2

In these strange times we are finding news ways of staying touch, and we are connecting well in Broughton Gifford. We are looking after each other and we clap for the NHS in the different parts of the village on Thursday evenings. I met Rosie and her carer recently along the lane behind St Mary’s. It was a beautiful evening and we watched the horses. This morning I went to Jenny’s with my folding chair and flask of coffee. We sat in her garden and mulled over things, two metres apart of course.

I have been to Broughton Gifford cemetery a few times. It is a peaceful place to pray and there is a wonderful view of the church tower above the trees. It was lovely to hear our bell before the Sunday service. We all feel so included. I was standing outside the church last Monday at 2pm, waiting for the hearse to go by, when Alan came to record the bell. It was good to see him, if only briefly. Every encounter is precious.


Life in Lockdown #1

This time has been a real blessing for me, I know it’s not been for a lot of people who have been ill, lost loved ones or friends or have had to work through all this under very stressful circumstances but I’ve felt the Lord has just put the brakes on my life for a bit. I’d let things get out of hand with work and it was just taking over my whole life in so many areas I’d not realised until recently. I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed spring as much as I have this year and it’s been great to give the Lord the first fruits of my time. I’m so grateful for this time that I would not otherwise have had with the family in normal circumstances. I pray that as things slowly get back to normal the Lord will help me to keep him at the centre and appreciate the things that I’ve taken for granted.