Church of England Diocese of Canterbury High Downs

Message from our Rector, Revd. Steve Lillicrap

 Worshipping in our Churches after July 19th

For some of us it will be a great relief that the Covid Restrictions are ending on July 19th and for some it is a reason for greater anxiety, with Covid infection rates increasing and not expected to peak until mid-August. Vaccination has given a good amount of protection but is not 100%.

I have been thinking and praying what it means to follow Jesus' instruction to love one another in these circumstances and it is something that we as wardens with the Ministry Leadership Team discussed very fully when we met, virtually in this past week, thinking about our Sunday worship as we move forwards.

One thing that has been lacking in our worship has been the ability for us all to sing out God's praises. The lifting of restrictions enables us to sing as congregations but as we discussed this we felt that we need to encourage everyone to take care of one another.

So we will be able to sing. We will start using our service books and hymn books, but not the same copies each week. We will have a safe way of them being distributed and collected in. (They can be put out in the pews and left there after the service to be collected in at a later date).

To keep each one of us as safe as possible we ask that we continue to wear face coverings in Church, especially as we start singing. We need to remember that the wearing of a face covering does not protect the wearer but does protect everyone else. This is a way we can show that we care for one another. We are also going to maintain social distancing and the use of hand sanitiser as we come in to Church and leave it. Continuing these measures will allow us to start congregational singing in as safe a way as possible, whilst still caring for one another.

We will continue to note who is in a particular Church for a particular service in case of the need to contact trace, but I thank God that so far we have not needed to do contact anyone. The QR codes will remain in place for those using a digital registration.

Some of our churches have started using local readers and intercessors - we are encouraging each church to do so from 25th July, restarting the rotas they used to have. Please look out for these from your churchwarden.

We are intending to continue to post a sermon and hymns on the website for those who still feel unable to attend church at present. The Breakthrough YouTube channel will continue to host a service alongside our physical service.

John 13: 34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

God bless