Letter to parishioners, 17 July 2020

Read a letter from Revd Stephen to parishioners, dated Friday 17 July 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am very pleased to be able to focus in this week’s letter on how our Benefice is moving forward in the offering of public worship after four months of lockdown.

From Sunday, 2nd August there will be a service in one of our churches, to which everyone in the Benefice will be welcome.  Obviously, the way in which our worship is conducted will have to be adapted to conform to the national guidelines.  However, it is important that we remember that these guidelines are in place to protect everyone as they gather together in whatever context.

The first difference that has to be embraced will be the need to ‘book’ to attend a service.  None of our churches are large enough to accommodate the maximum of thirty people laid down in the current legislation.  To allow for this I will be offering the opportunity to attend one of two services on 2nd August.  I will lay on extra service times if this proves to be necessary.  The services will be at 9am and 10.30am. In accordance with Canon Law, these will be services of Holy Communion.  On our first Sunday of public worship, these services will be at St John’s Church, Corby Glen.  Each service will last about thirty minutes.  This will allow the church to be cleaned after each service.  And remember, if there is the demand, I will offer services at other times as well.

If you would like to attend one of these services, please let me know in advance, whether by email, telephone or just a note in the Rectory letter box.  Whichever method you use, please do not forget that I must know in advance.  Following the relevant social distancing guidelines means that only a maximum of 26 people will be able to attend each service.  When you let me know that you would like to attend one of the services could you also let me know whether you will be attending alone or with someone else in your household/bubble – this will make a difference to how the seating will work.

We have all been living through some difficult and unusual times.  The last four months have been a challenge to us all in different ways.  The early closure of our churches has attracted much negative comment, but we are now in a position to turn that situation around.  We will be able to gather again for public worship but, just as with every other form of gathering, restrictions mean that our gathering will look and feel different.  That does not devalue the experience of public worship, rather it will help us to focus on what coming together to worship God is really about.

I do realize that many people in our Benefice are still feeling very unsure about how the relaxing of the national lockdown might affect them.  I do understand that uncertainty.  In order that those people might not feel disconnected from the Church, all of the provision for prayer and worship that have been in place over the last four months will continue.  Do carry on using the Benefice website and do not hesitate to let me know if there is any other way in which I, or Revd Aron, might support your journey in faith through the days ahead.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen