Letter to parishioners, 24 July 2020

Read a letter from Revd Stephen Buckman to parishioners outlining arrangements for re-starting public worship on Sunday 2 August

Dear Friends in Christ,

Last week my letter to you all was focused on some of the preliminary arrangements that have had to be put in place in order that we might once again join together in public worship.  Before reiterating the procedures that will have to be in place for Public Worship to resume in our Benefice, I think it is important that we pause for a moment and reflect on what is happening.  Everyone in the country is living under a set of restrictions that have been put in place to protect us from a pandemic that has the potential to kill.  Over the last week or so, I have received quite a few grumbles about those restrictions.  What is strange is that some of these seemed to be based on an assumption that I have made the restrictions up!  Could I reassure you that the regulations come from the Government and the National Church authorities.  As with every other walk of life at the moment, these regulations are not optional.  The Church is not exempt from the need to keep people safe, in fact it could easily be argued that we have a responsibility to lead the way. 

So, here is a reminder of how Public Worship in the Benefice will be working from Sunday, 2 August:

  • There will be two services of Holy Communion each Sunday, the number of services will be increased if the demand for places at services increases.
  • These services will be at 9am and 10.30am.
  • Each service will last approximately 30 minutes, giving enough time for the church to be cleaned before the next service.
  • At the moment, I am expecting the services to take place in St John’s Church, Corby Glen and St Andrew’s Church, Irnham on alternating Sundays.  Please note, that services will only be in one church on any given Sunday.  The services on 2 August will be in Corby Glen.
  • If you wish to attend one of the services, you must contact me in whatever way is easiest for you so that I can add you to the list of those who have booked a place. 
  • If you are coming with other members of your household/bubble you should let me know that as well because:
    • I need an accurate number of congregants for each service.
    • This will have an effect on how the seating is planned in each church.
  • There will be a strict limit on the maximum number of people who can attend each service.  Please note that we are allowed no leeway whatsoever in this matter.

Gathering for Public Worship is a matter of great joy.  After so long without the opportunity to come together in prayer and worship, we should be celebrating that we can now do just that.  It will look and feel different.  But, the Church’s primary function is to lead people in prayer and worship, and that is exactly what will be happening from Sunday, 2nd August.  Let us thank God for that.  Let us also remember that when Our Lord walked this earth everything he said and did was ‘new’ and ‘different’.  The religious authorities hated it because they could not control it.  That is where we are now.  We are not in control, and that will cause pain and fear in many people.  But, the Churches are opening again.  We are able to celebrate together but in a new and re-focused way.  I pray that you may find comfort as you take up the opportunity to join with others in prayer and worship.  For those who cannot join us, all the normal materials for prayer, worship and reflection will continue to be posted on our website.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen