Following the meeting of our Parochial Church Council tonight I am pleased to say that whilst public church services at St Mary’s are suspended, the church will be open for folk to come in and use the space for personal prayer and reflection 9.30am – 10am on Thursdays and 10am – 11am on Sundays. Candles can be lit and there will be prayer resources available to use. Please advertise the attached poster if you are able.
I’m also happy to report that funerals and weddings can still go ahead in churches.
We will also be looking into ways of streaming sermons, talks, services or devotions for folk who are online. I’ll keep you in the loop.
This Sunday will be Mothering Sunday, and there will be a gift for mums, grans, aunts etc to pick up from church 10am – 11am. The Church of England is also promoting Mothering Sunday as a Day of Prayer, when we remember especially those who are sick or anxious, and all involved in our Health Service. The Church of England is also asking people to place a lighted candle in their window at 7.00 p.m. as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.
Some congregation members who give to the church’s mission and ministry via a cash offering on a Sunday will be wondering how they can continue to donate. The collection plate will remain available for offerings whilst the church is open for prayer 9.30am – 10am on a Thursday and 10am - 11am each Sunday, or you may want to consider giving by standing order or direct debit at this time. Please speak with Peter Stanley, our Treasurer or Roy or Eleanor our Churchwardens for more information, or return your Promise Project form if you haven’t already done so.
Because of the Archbishops’ announcements today, the planned leaving service for Bishop Tony and Lucille has been cancelled. However, there will be a livestreamed interview with Bishop Tony 3.30pm this Sunday 22nd March (more details to follow). Bishop Tony and Lucille will be returning to the Diocese for a Farewell Service in the autumn when we will have the opportunity to celebrate together their ministry among us.
Our planned Annual Parochial Church Meeting will be postponed until Pentecost (31st May)
In the meantime, regular updates regarding the Church of England and the Coronavirus can be found on https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches
With God’s blessing at this very challenging time. Keep safe, keep well.
Fr. Andrew Fisher