05 July 2020
This Blog takes the place of the printed Weekly Sheet for now
After Church Refreshments
After church tea & coffee will be on Zoom from around 11:45am – come and join us virtually, it would be lovely to see each other again.
We have now implemented a Waiting Room on Zoom for extra security.
The latest Information on the Reopening of our Churches and Church Hall
A number of queries have been raised following the new government and Church of England guidance about the reopening of church buildings for public worship, in particular how the government and Church guidance is clear that this can only be done when it is safe to do so, and the requirement of the Canons for there to be public worship every Sunday.
My view is that the Canons are like the skeleton in the body; they need to be strong and tough so that the body can thrive, but the skeleton is not the whole body. The Canons remain and are there for our good and the good of the whole church. They were not designed or are able to cover every circumstance of the Church’s life; they are not the muscles, the flesh, or the bloodstream, and without the Holy Spirit they are dead. As the guidelines make clear, the priority is safety, and I want to make it clear that if anyone asks for my direction in relation to longer-term delay in the opening of buildings for public worship my view is that we dishonour the intention of the Canons unless we open safely, and I will be very sympathetic to the incumbent and PCC as I make that call.
I hope this is helpful and enables us all to balance permissive and prescriptive well. Of course, in the Lord’s mercy, so much more has been given to us over these last weeks, especially with those who have joined our worship online. I am praying that as a diocese, we don’t miss what God has been giving to us in the responsibility we now have to reopen safely. Perhaps the time of July and August will help us in this preparing for this next stage and enable us to keep learning from what we have been through.
Can I repeat so many thanks to everyone for the resilience and endurance (even when it may have felt anything but) over these last weeks and reassert the recent message in the pastoral letter about rest, holiday and sabbath.
With love in Christ
- Private Prayer in Church: we are pleased to say that St Mary’s is now open for Private Prayer. We have implemented Social Distancing and other Measures for the safety of all who enter. There are restrictions in place and we only have 9 pews available, one per household. Please check our News Blog for updates and when St Mary’s is open.
- Public Worship is permissible in church buildings from 4 July. However, due to the size and layout of St Mary’s the PCC have agreed that we will not be open again on a Sunday just yet and at least until the beginning of August. New guidance from the government and the Church of England has now been issued and we are working through this. Please check our News Blog for updates.
- The Streaming of services will continue, and will continue, once we do reopen as numbers in church will be severely restricted and we hope to be able to give priority initially to those who can’t access online services
- Funerals are now permissible in churches and we will conduct them at St Mary’s on request. Funerals in church buildings are severely restricted at the moment. Immediate family only are allowed and no hymns may be sung. Please discuss options with a Funeral Director to see what’s best for your family and loved one. We continue to conduct funerals at the Graveside and the Crematorium.
- Weddings are permissible in churches from 4 July. They are limited to 30 people in total (including the minister) and hymn singing or an organist is not permitted at the moment.
From 4 July, baptisms can go ahead providing appropriate steps are taken to minimise risk and are limited to 30 people including the minister. During the coming weeks, Polly will be in touch with all those who had Baptisms cancelled to rearrange dates. we will be conducting Baptisms outside of the main services we will be conducting Baptisms outside of the main services. We will not be taking any new bookings at the moment until we have rescheduled those that were cancelled. It will be 2021 before we take new bookings. Please see the CofE guidance on baptisms for more information.
- St Luke’s and the Church Hall are closed to any public access. We are working towards reopening the Church Hall in September, but this cannot be guaranteed as we are awaiting guidance from the CofE.
This month we have a Ministry Letter from Revd Malc, articles from both of our Wardens, the Rose Queen, LAG & MU, Di & Mike Carter plus loads more. What are you waiting for? Head over and take a look!
You can send items for future editions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Midweek Get Together
Each week Revd Mike invites you to join with him on Zoom for a get-together.
This week 08 July: Generosity – a Bible Study. How did Jesus respond in a time of scarcity? This week, we look at the generosity of God, modelled for us in the way of Jesus. Click Here to Register
Funerals this past week
The first time for 4 months – thank God
Ian William Rimmer
Ian was a member of the choir at St Mary’s for many years
Please keep their families in your prayers.
A message from Revd Mike.
May I thank everyone who has kept their giving going during the past 3 months, it has been a challenging time and also challenging financially. From a church perspective, most of our outgoings remain the same whether the buildings are open or closed, so the challenge has been keeping the cash flow going to cover these costs. I am grateful to those who have been able to give extra and have given extra to the church.
Handling cash and cheques has caused us an issue during the pandemic and will continue to do so. Cash as we’ve not been able to allow anyone to process cash giving during this time, not that we’ve had much given in this way and cheques mean me having to visit the bank with them.
Joy & Sue attended an online Webinar about encouraging and managing giving during this time which advised that we should encourage people to move away from giving via cash & cheques and ask them to give via online or phone banking.
If you normally give via the plate each Sunday you can give securely via Give a Little by following the link below. If you’d like to give via online banking, which means we don’t lose the Fees, the details are below. You can set this up on your own online or phone banking unfortunately, we can’t process paper forms at this time.
Thank you for your support. Mike (Rector)
Wistaston & Rope War Memorial Project completed
An article and photos by Jonathan White
You can make a donation to this project here to cover the financial shortfall and for the upkeep of thr area: bit.ly/stmaryswarmemorial