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We returned to public services on the 7th June with simultaneous live streaming for those unable to attend. While we are thankful to be able to be together physically, the restrictions of social distancing and the compulsory use of masks created a tangible sense of incomplete fellowship. Other weekly activities of prayer meeting, adolescents and micro groups have continued virtually but all involved are keen to be able to be together physically as restrictions are further eased.
For Portugal, the months of July and August are vital with tourism accounting for 15% of the Portuguese economy. The southern region of the Algarve is already feeling the effect of COVID-19 with the unemployment numbers for May being three times the level of May 2019. Porto, as one of the most popular European city break destinations, also relies heavily on tourism and seeing the centre of Porto virtually deserted at the end of June is causing concern among many.
On Sundays during the summer months, we will be studying the gospel of John, looking at how Jesus related to those with doubts, needs, and questions and have encouraged our members to invite their friends and contacts who are curious to know more about Jesus. We will also be preparing materials to enable our members to explore Christianity further with their friends and contacts in a small group context in their homes.
We will be meeting as a team to plan and pray how we can intentionally contact and build relationships with those who live in and around the church location. One of the areas being developed is an increased web presence and we hope to launch a CPV website in early July.
As a family we plan to take a short break within Portugal in mid-august before Alana returns for her final year of study in Belfast.
Give thanks that we are able to have public worship again.
Pray for those in Portugal (and in CPV) who work within the tourism or service industry and who are concerned about job security and economic stability.
Pray for the planning and preparation being carried out over the summer.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them” Matt 18:20