I hope this update finds you well.
Further to discussions it has been agreed that for the remainder of our period under church restrictions this weekly letter will also act as the weekly ‘pew sheet’ that Monica has been sending out to date. At the beginning of the restrictions we discussed how best to communicate and at that time it was felt that continuing the pew sheet was the right thing to do for familiarity, and as we didn’t know how long we would be restricted for. The context has changed, and so we will now continue with this.
We are all keen to know when we may be back in our church buildings. Unfortunately, at this time, that is still an unknown timeframe. However, as I mentioned in previous correspondence, the Church of England are now implementing a phased return.
We are in Phase 1 of 3, which means that for the time being one nominated person can enter the church for checking it over, but also now for private prayer and worship. Within our Deanery we have discussed this and generally feel that we, as clergy, are uncomfortable using the churches in ways that the majority cannot, and will therefore continue to focus our public prayer and worship in the ways that we have been to date.
Phase 2 and 3, which are the gradual return of the use of churches for services, are not possible until the government have lifted restrictions on the use of churches. At this time they are explicitly closed on their direction.
I know that it is frustrating and causing significant heart ache for many, especially as we start to see other areas of society relaxing lockdown. However, we (locally) do not know the full the picture and why certain decisions are made or not made and need to trust in the advice and guidance as it is given.
The Bishops and Archdeacons wrote to clergy today and I include below an excerpt from that letter which addresses these concerns;
“We are receiving a number of enquiries about what next and we want you to know that we shall give you clear and prompt advice as it comes to us. Contrary to some media commentary, the Church of England is not dragging its feet over decisions re weddings, private prayer and the return to worship in our buildings. Archbishop Justin is a part of the Government task force which is making decisions about the next phases; and the C of E guidance, here on our website, has been prepared by the C of E Recovery group chaired by +Sarah, Bishop of London, to prepare us for the time when the Government permits us to return more fully to our buildings.”
Checking in and looking forwards
I will be hosting an open meeting on Zoom on Thursday 3 June at 11am. Here is the link – all are welcome! The idea is just to ‘chew the cud’ and reflect on where we are and where we might be going…
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 762 5813 0320
Thank you to Rev’d Judith for the lovely online service last Sunday. Judith is also preparing the service for Pentecost Sunday and you will be able to use that at this link:
Thursday Evening Zoom
I will be hosting an Evening Prayer this evening on Zoom, where we will be exploring a passage from Luke using the Lectio Divina method. All are welcome at 7:30pm using the following link:
Meeting ID: 717 8400 7120
Thy Kingdom Come
During this time of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ between Ascension and Pentecost I am asking if you would like to record yourself, either on audio or video, reading the Lord’s Prayer in whatever version or form you like and then email it to me. I am hoping to put together a creative ‘video’ using clips from those to create a Benefice Lord’s Prayer. Thanks to those I have received, and please do send some in if you haven’t already done so!
Bible readings for the week ahead:
Pentecost Sunday: Acts 2:1-21; 1 Cor 12:3-13; John 20:19-23
Monday 1 June: Rom 12:9-16; Luke 1:39-49
Tuesday 2 June: 2 Pet 3:11-15, 17-end; Mark 12:13-17
Wednesday 3 June: 2 Tim 1:1-3, 6-12; Mark 12:18-27
Thursday 4 June: 2 Tim 2:8-15; Mark 12:28:34
Friday 5 June: 2 Tim 3:10-end; Mark 12:35-37
Saturday 6 June: 2 Tim 4:1-8; Mark 12:38-end
Collect for Pentecost:
Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, ignite in us your holy fire; strengthen your children with the gift of faith, revive your Church with the breath of love, and renew the face of the earth,through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Faithful God, who fulfilled the promises of Easter by sending us your Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal: open our lips by your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The following names for prayer are those previously agreed to be included on the circulated Pew Sheet and will now be carried here. For amendments please could you email me direct. Many thanks.
For the Sick - Rob Allen; Lynne Applegarth; Phyllis Baker; Margaret Bandy; Sue Bennett; Sue Cheese; Terry Conway; Nick Frankau; Paul Glazier; David Goodwill; Mike Heywood; Joy Howard; Hubert Hutchinson; Ann Jarvis; Val Joslin; Mark Lindsey; Frank Long; Peter McHugh; Diana Rowlands; Ann Ricketts; Jim Tucker; Rosemary Walley; Rosemary Walton; Vivien Wheaton; Alan Wills, Anna Woodward; Pamala Young ; Hannah (Dennis Hunt’s granddaughter); Becky Wood (Rev. Tim Price’s daughter); Milly granddaughter of Jane & Alan Rudkin.
For the Bereaved - The family & friends of: Roger Partridge; Denise Nicholls; Andy Partridge; John Massey; Derek Wicketts; Dave Checkley; Heather King’s son.
With my blessings to all of you,
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector - Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
3 Home Farm
PASTORAL EMAILS - please to: [email protected]
HOME PRAYER & WORSHIP: https://twoshires.wordpress.com