In the Bleak Midwinter
By Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen
Snow on snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Lo-ong, long ago

This famous winter song’s been coming to my mind a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about all of us as a church going through winter during covid. Come February, will we have fallen into a sort of frozen tundra, being holed up in our homes and not able to see each other? And I wondered if there was any way that we at CTR could journey together through this winter by forming little “Together Groups”, no more than five or six folks a group. Together Groups would meet online or around campfires once a week or every other week to check-in with each other, pray, laugh, and provide help if needed. If this idea captures your imagination, would you ask the Holy Spirit to give you names of five CTR folks you could call and invite to be in your group? 

I tested this idea out in January, and the Holy Spirit gave me names, one at a time. I called the first person and she said yes! So then I prayed and got a second person’s name and called that person and she said yes! And so I continued praying and now I am part of a beautiful group to journey together with through winter. Thank you, God! We are five women and one man, and I look forward every week to our hour together (and then some). 

After you’ve got your group and figured out when you all can meet, ask the Holy Spirit to give you ideas on how to structure your time together. Or email ([email protected]) or call me, and I’ll give you some ideas

Now some of you may be thinking “But many people within a half mile radius of my home don’t know the comfort or community of Jesus. I’d really rather reach out to my neighbors. After all, they may need simple help or lighthearted, getting-to-know-you conversations. Who knows what God could do with a caring connection with our neighbors during these constrained and lonely days?” So CTR has another initiative called “Connect Groups”. 

To start a Connect Group, just be yourself, act normal. Simply knock on a door or hang a note at a neighbors front door, whether you know them or not, or call them if you have their number. Whatever your approach, connect with each one and offer the idea of a Connect Group to journey through winter together as a neighborhood, or lane, or floor in an apartment building via zoom or around a campfire. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to which houses or people to invite. And again, email me for ideas on what to do with the five people once you’ve assembled them.

The song In the Bleak Midwinter ends: 

       What can I give Him,
       poor as I am?
       If I were a shepherd, 
       I would bring a lamb;
       If I were a Wise Man,
       I would do my part;
       Yet what I can I give Him: 
       g-i-ive my heart. 

Let’s give our hearts to each other and our neighbors this winter, shall we? The Lord being our helper, I say Yes!

In Christ’s Love,
Mother Wendy Dixon

p.s. If you’d like to join a Together Group and don’t know where to start, please reach out to me (Mother Wendy- [email protected]). I’d love to help get you connected!