Church of England Diocese of Southwark Benhilton

ALL SAINTS' OPENING FOR PRIVATE PRAYER - SUNDAY 21st JUNE

15 Jun 2020, 1 a.m.
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Important Information for the Health of our Community

THE RE-OPENING OF ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH: Her Majesty’s Government has said that it will be lawful to open churches for PRIVATE PRAYER from this coming Monday, 15th June. We do not know when PUBLIC worship will be permitted, but today’s announcement is a very welcome first step in that direction, taking into account the need for each of us to exercise great care during the gradual dismantling of the lockdown. Following HMG’s advice, reflection on the Church of England’s guidance, discussions with the PCC and consultation with the Churchwardens:

BEGINNING ON SUNDAY 21st JUNE, ALL SAINTS' PATISH CHURCH WILL BE OPENED FOR PERSONAL, PRIVATE PRAYER EACH SUNDAY FROM 8.45 a.m. UNTIL 12.00 MIDDAY. We invite you to visit All Saints’ for prayer during that period each Sunday and to stay for as little or as long as you wish. To this end our cleaning team is ensuring that all surfaces in the church that are easily touched are regularly disinfected and cleaned.

The focus of our devotion on these Sundays will be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, already enthroned in a monstrance on the nave altar surrounded by candles and flowers. As we experienced on Mothering Sunday, after which we had to lock our dear church, this kind of personal and private prayer is a very powerful way of spending time with the Lord. We should come with love and expectancy in our hearts. For from his sacred presence in the Blessed Sacrament wave upon wave of healing love cascade upon us to give us his blessing.

(It is hoped that eventually - even after normal worship has been restored - we will work out a couple of other time slots each week for the church to be open in this ‘supervised’ way for personal and private prayer.)

THE DAILY MASS will continue to be offered privately without a congregation in the locked church every day at 7.30 a.m. Please email or phone in any prayer requests or thanksgivings to be included, and don’t forget to pause at that time each day, wherever you are, to associate yourself prayerfully with the Holy Sacrifice being offered in our parish church to the praise and glory of God, and for the blessing of all for whom we pray.

CLEANING OUR HANDS: A cleaning station has been set up just inside the main church door so that we can all cleanse our hands with the hand sanitisers on arriving and departing, using the disposable paper hand towel, if necessary, then putting it in the bin provided.

HOLY WATER STOUPS These remain empty for the time being.

LIGHTING CANDLES: At the beginning of the time set aside for personal and private prayer, large candles will be lit at each of the shrines in the church. If you would like to light a candle as you pray, please light it directly from one of these large candles, as there will be no taper or hand held candle-lighter available.

SOCIAL DISTANCING IS VITAL:

(1) Every second pew is blocked off.

(2) With the exception of members of the same household, everyone is asked to keep two metres apart.

(3) Everyone is asked to observe the ‘one-way’ system: i.e. to use the centre aisle when we come into the church, and the side aisles when we leave.

THE TOILETS are going to remain closed during this time. In emergency, please speak to one of the Churchwardens

ONLY 'TAKE-AWAY' HELPS TO PRAYER WILL BE AVAILABLE: Those who need a booklet of prayers will have to bring their own. But each week Father David will prepare a sheet of prayers and a short meditation or two. Please do not return these on your way out, but take them home so that multi-handling cannot happen.

‘SUPERVISION’: Father David will be in church for the duration of the time set apart for personal, private prayer, as will the two churchwardens. Please don’t hesitate to approach us if you need help or information.

The last few months have been very trying for just about everyone, and being deprived of worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ has been part of the emotional, spiritual and psychological pain many have experienced - especially those who live alone. Like you, we look forward eagerly to the full restoration of our worship of the Lord in the beauty of holiness, on Sundays as well as during the week.

In the meantime we are so grateful for this first little relaxation of the lockdown, and we thank all in our church family for your patience and understanding.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Father David Chislett SSC (Vicar)

Carolyn Melius (Churchwarden)

Linda Roots (Churchwarden)