Church of England Diocese of Oxford Adderbury

Parish news 28 June

27 Jun 2020, 10:15 a.m.
June_28_Part_1_6jDwDiQ.mp3 Download

Thank you to Chris for playing the hymns, our Church school children who wrote the prayers and Ryan for editing for us.

This week’s service will be available this weekend on YouTube.

Don’t forget the ‘dial-a-service’ for those who don’t use the internet. Just ring local number 01295 235441 and you will be able to listen to the Sunday service without the hymns. Please share this with anyone you know who might appreciate it.

Church Opening for private prayer

The church will be open Wednesdays 5 -7pm. Thank you to those who have volunteered to look after the church during that time, and to clean.

If you’re dropping in, please take sensible precautions.

We will listen to feedback and change the times if necessary.

St John's Milton will be open on Tuesdays between the hours of 5 and 7pm.

Next week there won’t be a parish service

because I’m having some time off.

So its an opportunity to either drop in to see how another church does things, or to join the Diocese of Oxford Service which goes live at 10am,

or the Church of England one which airs at 9am.

We will be allowed to open our churches for services from 4th July but it is not yet clear what restrictions will need to be in place, and I know that many people are concerned about keeping a social distance and the safety of gathering indoors.

The Bishop of Oxford has written to all clergy

‘The most important principle is to prepare prayerfully, thoroughly, carefully and locally, with clergy and PCC’s consulting together about how to resume public worship. This is not a decision to be rushed. Every parish and benefice is different. There are serious health and safety considerations to be worked through in every place. We will be able to meet in our buildings again, but this will be far from a return to normal life before lockdown.

Understandably, there will be many who want to return to normal as soon as possible and who may put pressure on clergy and PCC’s to act very rapidly. This should be resisted. Whatever pattern of worship is offered will need to be sustainable and will, most probably, need to continue alongside the virtual worship and fellowship which has been so fruitful during the lockdown. We may, therefore, need to look at simpler patterns of worship for a time, especially in multi-parish benefices.

In advance of the guidance, there are some things we do know: we will not be able to sing together, at least for a time. Holy Communion will need to be administered in one kind. Congregations will need to be socially distanced from one another. Services will generally need to be shorter (but we may need more of them). There cannot yet be refreshments served or long conversations at the door. There will need to be good hand hygiene. Many of our congregations will continue to be shielding or have family members who are vulnerable or who may be hesitant about returning to public worship. Movement throughout the church will need to be thought about carefully. There will be additional cleaning requirements. There will be restrictions about the numbers who are able to come, depending on the size of the building, because of the need for social distancing.

All of this will place additional demands on clergy, wardens and lay ministers; all of whom have given out so much in recent months, and all of whom will need rest and re-creation in the coming weeks. The needs of our communities will be different but possibly even greater in the autumn and winter. Taking time for holiday and good rest over the summer will be absolutely vital, and this should also be a factor in planning a resumption of public worship.

We will issue technical notes and guidance from the government, the national church and the Diocese as soon as this is available, and we will try and ensure that it is as simple and consistent as possible. All of the senior team, our Area Deans and the staff at Church House understand that this will be a time when there will be lots of questions and detailed and prompt advice will be needed. We are here to help and support. We anticipate that the guidance available in the next few days will cover buildings, ministry, youth and childrens work and, of course, weddings. The Church of England nationally is pressing for greater clarity on outdoor worship but, at present, this is limited by the numbers allowed by law to assemble in public.

I have been enormously encouraged in dialogue with clergy chapters across the Diocese to see what is a genuine renewal of ministry and of church life taking place in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. The level of mutual support has been very evident. So has the way in which people recognise the need for different ways forward in neighbouring benefices, according to the circumstances and resources available. There has been very little unhealthy competition but a huge amount of care and support for one another. I am confident that this will continue in this next transition.

While we are waiting to hear details about what we are allowed to do, we are discussing what may be practical but we’re also keeping the wider picture in mind. Even when we can meet in church for worship, the restrictions will make it very different to what we are used to as ‘normal’ and we want worship together to be a positive, uplifting experience, not a negative one where we continually look back to ‘what used to be’. God is among us just as much now as he was in January, and he is leading us to experience him in different ways and follow him on a different path.

Tech-y person needed!

When we eventually are able to hold services in church again, it will be important that we continue to provide them digitally as well for those who can’t get to church physically. The best way to do that would seem to be to stream or record them, preferably with some editing. But we don’t have many people in the congregation who know how to operate the technology required so if you have a family member or contact who does, who would be willing to give a hand or some advice, please let me know.

Almighty and Everlasting God,

we thank you that you have brought us safely

to the beginning of this day.

Keep us from falling into sin

or running into danger;

order us in all our doings

and guide us to do always

what is righteous in your sight;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.