28 June 2020
Whilst Public Worship is suspended this Blog will take the place of the Weekly Sheet
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
Earlier this week, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Recovery Group, welcomed the Government’s announcement that church buildings will be able to reopen for public worship from 04 July, providing physical distancing remains in place.
She said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today that we will soon be able to begin to meet and worship together in our church buildings again. The last three months have been an extraordinary time – the first period without public worship and the sacraments in England in more than 800 years. There will be real joy as we begin to come together again – if even at a physical distance – but I also know that many will be understandably cautious at this news.”
Read her statement in full here.
The press release from the Church of England also confirmed that detailed advice for parishes and cathedrals will be updated, as necessary, “in the coming days to reflect the detail of the Government guidance once published.”
The Government has yet to publish its guidance, and the Church, therefore, has also yet to respond. Nevertheless, we wanted to write to you to confirm that this is the current position as we appreciate there are still many questions unanswered. We will communicate any updates via the diocesan website and the Coronavirus Briefing as soon as we can over the coming days.
We are very aware that not all church buildings will be ready to hold regular services on 04 July and it is important that this happens only when you have confidence that you can do so safely. As has been the recurring theme to the guidance in recent weeks, it is permissive not prescriptive.
We also wanted to highlight new guidance from Lisa Moncur, Diocesan Registrar, who has today written directly to all clergy advising that when a church reopens for Sunday services, banns for forthcoming weddings should be read in the usual way as required by law. You can find this advice in this Coronavirus Briefing and on the diocesan website.
So, may we continue to pray as we await further guidance, and may we continue to bless and support one another as we look forward to being able to meet again in our churches.
We will write again in due course.
- 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 from week beginning 29 June 2020.
- 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. We await further guidance from the government and the Church of England. 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, no hymns may be sung and there can be no organist in attendance. 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.
- Baptisms are not permitted in church until further notice. Emergency baptisms can take place in a hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygiene precautions and physical distancing as far as this is possible.
- 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.
The Midweek Get Together
Each week Revd Mike invites you to join with him on Zoom for a get-together. The MGT was cancelled last week so we will run this again this week.
This week 01 July: Hope – a Bible Study. What it means to hope during times of hopelessness. In the Bible, hope is about waiting, not for circumstances to change but for God himself.
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
Funerals this past week
Eileen Muriel Chilton
Jacomina Alida Day
Please keep their families in your prayers.
The cracks are where the light gets in
Bereavement, unemployment, sadness… it might feel like the darkness is closing in.
Yet despite the suffering and difficulties, perhaps it is just the start of the journey to something better.
Archdeacon Ian reminds us of the first chapter in the Gospel of St John: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” and says, “whatever darkness you might know in your life today, I hope you can hold on to St John’s promise.”
Looking ahead to the time when we can meet for public worship again, Ian says: “I hope that we will return with a greater awareness that Christ is not locked down in a building, however beautiful that might be, his presence, his light, is all around us illuminating this world he has made and if we just look we will see and we can wonder…if we have learned anything, let it be that our buildings are but one small part of the full revelation of God and we should not allow ourselves to become obsessed with what happens in them.”