Sunday, 26 July 2020

Recommencing Public Worship - 2nd August 2020

Dear all,

‘... My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.…’ Psalm 71:8

Since the Archbishop of Canterbury called for the closure of church buildings in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have, with other parishes, been offering worship and support in different ways. We are now in a position to trial worship in our church buildings once more.

At the time of writing, we are looking to offer worship in St Peter’s initially, with worship in St Thomas’ and St John’s to follow when practically possible.

Our worship in St Peter’s will be at 11.00am.

 Before arriving for worship. 
We want us all to be safe as we worship together. As a result, we are asking you to book a space to come. This will feel really strange, but I hope you understand. This will normally need to be done using links available on the pewsheet, on the parish Facebook page and on the parish website. Under usual circumstances, you will need to have done this by the Thursday before the Sunday you intend coming and we hope you may be able to book a few services in advance. Booking can also be made over the phone with Elaine in the Parish Office. 

For this week, please book your space by ringing Elaine on 01923 772785. She will be in the office Wednesday-Friday, 9.30 am-12.30 pm Booking will be on a first-come, first-served basis as we have limited capacity.

 What to expect.

As you arrive at church, a sidesperson outside will greet you. You will need to queue, physically distanced, down the side of the building. The Church of England has now issued clear guidance that face coverings should be worn to attend worship (following revised Government advice.) I am looking forward to seeing you all arriving wearing one, bringing some lovely Summer colour to our worship! Your face covering will need to be worn during the service.

As you enter (and leave) the building, please use the alcohol gel provided in the porch. Once inside, please pick up an order of service and a pew sheet (plus an activity sheet for children.) These are yours to keep so please take them home with you and bring back the service booklet next time you come.

A second sidesperson will ask you to make your way to your seat. Please remain in your seat for the whole of the act of worship. At the end of the service, clear in instructions will be given about leaving the building. Sadly we cannot offer refreshments at the moment.

We will be sharing in the Eucharist together. This will be a source of joy for us all as most of us haven’t been able to make our Holy Communion for many months. You will receive the fullness of Christ in the consecrated bread administered to you in our worship.

The clergy and sidespeople will be wearing face-coverings and PPE at various points, so some familiar people will look a bit unfamiliar at the moment.

There will also be some necessary notices given out in the service, but as I’ve said before, it wouldn’t be an authentically Anglican service without some notices in the service.

 Online Worship 

Worship live-streamed on Facebook and ‘live’ on Zoom has been such an important part of our life over these last months. Worship online is a strange phenomenon and yet has been vital and lifegiving for ministers and those ministered to alike.

Our online worship on Sundays and in the week, will continue to hold a familiar pattern going forward.

Sunday 10.00 am Parish Eucharist on Zoom

Monday       8.30am Morning prayer on Zoom
        9.30am Said Eucharist on Facebook Live
Tuesday      8.30am Morning Prayer on Zoom
Wednesday 8.30am Morning Prayer on Zoom
        9.30am Said Eucharist on Facebook Live
Thursday     8.30am Morning Prayer on Zoom
        9.30am Said Eucharist on Facebook Live
Friday         11.00am Service of the Word

Evening Prayer is held daily at 4pm on Zoom.

Obviously, all of this will continue to be a bit trial and error at the moment (especially as we return to using our buildings) and all of it is subject to revision as we learn from our experiences and as Government guidance and advice from the Church of England is updated.

A copy of this letter will be sent out in the post tomorrow.

Our learning curve remains steep.

Please pray for me as I continue to pray for you.

Fr Simon.

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