From the Vicarage
Writing an article two to three weeks before
publication date always carries a risk about its timeliness/relevance. In the present situation, that risk is even
greater. So, whilst the information and
guidance here is correct in mid-August, things may change.
I am grateful to everyone who has maintained our buildings
and grounds over the last few months, and to those responsible for our finances
for all they have done. Certainly, there
are financial challenges ahead at national, diocesan and parish level. I am grateful too for all those people who
have/are telephoning people to check on them and to those who have run errands,
collected groceries, and prescriptions for others. In particular, I need to thank Mark Murphy,
Neil Townsend, and Steve Phillpotts for getting involved from day one and
coordinating things across the area.
It has been great to get back into church and have Sunday
services again and I have been very pleased with the numbers that have attended
those services. They are not what we are
used to nor are they what some would like, but it is still significantly better
than where we were a few months ago.
Looking ahead, I would like to be able to say that things will continue
to improve but, given the fragile state of things at present, we must be
prepared for a reduced number of services and services in different formats for
the foreseeable future. September should
see a return to weekly services in most churches but it is unlikely that we
will be able to hold more than one service in a church on any one day and this
will have an impact on services at Harvest and through Advent and
Christmas. It is something I will be
discussing with Parochial Church Councils over the next couple of months.
We are still facing a dangerous virus and must be
patient. As St Paul’s well-known
words tell us, love is, amongst other things, patient. Patience is listed as a fruit of the Holy
Spirit, whilst, understanding and fortitude are gifts from the same
source. I suspect we are going to need a
good supply of all of these in the coming months. People and situations will annoy us; tempers
may get shorter as the days do, but it is in the darkness that lights can
shine. So, we must step up and make sure
our actions and our words are as Christian and loving as our prayers and
hymns. This is when we must show what we
are made of and remember the three key Christian virtues of faith, hope, and
love and as St Paul reminds us, the greatest of these is love.
Take care and may God bless you.
As I said earlier, this is continually changing but the
situation at the time of writing (mid-August) is set out here.
When attending Sunday services, you will need to:
- Use sanitiser as you enter/leave
- Give your name and telephone number
- Wear a face covering as you enter/leave/move around in
church but you may remove it when sitting down, if you remain socially
distanced from people outside your household/bubble. The use of face coverings is MANDATORY. These do not have to be clinical grade masks,
just material that covers mouth and nose.
- Stay in your seat/pew unless you need to leave church or
are asked to move by a churchwarden/sidesperson
- Refrain from gathering at the back of church
These can now take place in church but there are
restrictions on numbers and some of the components of the service will have to
be changed slightly to reduce physical contact as much as possible.
Any enquiries about any services should be made to Rev Andy
Shaw (Fr Andy) on 01253 799895 or email email@example.com