I hope you are all well and beginning to come out of the last 3 months of ‘lockdown.’
In some ways, it now feels like the end of winter hibernation except that far from doing nothing I’ve spent almost all of my time working from my desk. At first, it was lovely not having to go out to meetings etc. I was able to catch up on a lot of work; my desk has never been so tidy in 30+ years as a Vicar. And then we all discovered Zoom……………… The Church of God never sleeps!
Two interesting bits of support from the Diocese appeared on my screen this week. First from Bishop Keith in a Pastoral Letter addressed to the clergy which resonated with me and my colleagues around and about:-
“We understand that many clergy are feeling tired, even exhausted, with this new way of working and with all that the current pandemic has brought. We need to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint and we must ensure our own wellbeing is sustained.
It is really important that we continue to practise our sabbath rest, taking a day off every week. Please also continue to take the two consecutive days off per month. We would also encourage you to take holiday leave as you usually would. Many retired clergy and lay readers will be able to provide cover but do ask for help from your rural dean or archdeacon if you need any specific assistance. Almost half the year has passed and we cannot sustain ourselves without taking some time to rest, even if holidays away from home are not yet possible.
We would also encourage you to take some time for prayer and reading or have a retreat at home.”
I am particularly thankful for all your support and in particular the help we get from Gill, James, Gavin, Linda and Simon in maintaining the worship and pastoral life of our community whilst balancing it with their own work and personal commitments. Many of you have commented how blessed I am, and all of us are, in having such a talented team.
Secondly, we heard that the Diocese has given every parish a grant of £2000 to be spent as they see fit, with the hope that it will be used, after much prayerful thought, to help build up the wider mission of the parish post Covid. In other words it is not to be lost in the general parish finances. We have discussed possible uses in the Standing Committee and Facilities Team, but I am very keen that as many of you as possible should have the opportunity to contribute ideas as to how this windfall could be used. Do let me know.
It’s still very hard to say when the Church will be open again for ‘normal’ service. Most of our discussions so far have been around opening up for private prayer. We now have a number of protective gels, signs etc and so I expect we will be able to open the Chapel next Sunday (28th June) from 2.00pm to 4.00pm with access through the outside door and with only 4 inside at any one time. Everyone will have to observe social distancing, either standing up or the sitting in the 4 seats provided. All the other furniture has been taken out, including the candle stand. The altar rail will be closed. We will be able to monitor what’s going on through CCTV and a free-standing security camera.
We shall also consider having funerals in the Chapel, although this presents a different set of problems. This will have to be on a case by case basis. We shall have to limit numbers and ensure that social distancing is observed. As keeping the Chapel safe and clean to all who go in is paramount, we shall have to leave a 72 hour gap between using it for private prayer and funerals. So, it may not be possible to open every Sunday for private prayer – it all depends upon dates and times etc. We shall endeavour to keep you informed by email and Facebook.
Funerals at the graveside in the Churchyard are possible even now, with a limit of 10 people around the grave.
Christenings and Weddings are still not possible. At the time of writing there is no indication when those restrictions will be lifted.
As to other news during the week, the choir took part in a special service on YouTube last Sunday to mark ‘Music Sunday.’ From what I could make out, a joyful noise was made unto the Lord!
The Bible Study Group on Wednesday night and Coffee Morning on Thursday are still very popular. Joining details are the same as last week but do contact me if you’ve lost them. If you have problems in getting in at the time, please call my mobile 07778 859935 and I’ll help you.
The Sunday Group had a very successful Zoom session last Sunday afternoon. Thank you Nichola for organising it. She is looking at having another session next month
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">Don’t forget the service will be available on the telephone from Sunday 2.00pm and throughout the week on 01925 568220. You can also watch the service again on Facebook, where you will also find all the weekday services. You can now watch the Sunday services on our YouTube channel from Sunday 2.00pm. Just search for Daresbury Church. The service sheet is attached</span>
With God’s blessing,