We do hope that you are all doing ok and getting the support that you need in these very difficult times.
Sadly, this week we have had to lock our church buildings and are no longer able to offer them for private prayer. Be assured though, that we ‘the church’ can be, and still are, alive and active in our communities. The buildings may be closed but our Christian discipleship continues, perhaps in ways we never thought possible two weeks ago, as we pray and care for each other, for our community and for our world.
The most recent updates as to how Government Guidelines are affecting the church are on the Church of England website: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches where you will also find some other prayers and resources.
As your parish clergy, Jim, Yvette, Andrew and I will continue to support you in any way we can. Our phone numbers and email addresses may be fouare below under ‘communication’.
Prayer and Worship
Morning and Night Prayer – Although we cannot meet in our church buildings, your clergy and others continue to pray Morning and Night Prayer every day on your behalf. A copy of the service we are using has been circulated previously and is available on the Church of England website following the link above and headed ‘Worship at Home’– do join with us from the safety of your own home. You may want to set aside a special area where you can be quiet, perhaps light a candle (please be careful!) and spend time in quiet prayer or reading your Bible. If you do have any special prayer requests, then let one of us know.
Light in the Darkness/ #candleofhope – thank you to all those who joined in with the Day of Prayer and Action on Mothering Sunday and placed a candle or light in your window. It’s not too late to join in – an Advent Arch or a simple light can be placed in your window as a sign of hope and support for your neighbour.
Rainbows – a number of families are placing coloured rainbows in their windows as symbols of hope. Children can then spot them as they go on their daily exercise. We’re never too old to paint a rainbow – give it a go?
Worship Resources – the Church of England have a lot of resources and prayers for you to use at the link above. There are also links to churches of all liturgical persuasions who are ‘live streaming’ their services.
If you are slightly less technologically able then there are a number of other options available:
‘Songs of Praise’ every Sunday at 1.15pm on BBC1
Sunday Morning Service on Radio 4 at 8.10am
Daily Service on Radio 4 at 9.45am.
Choral Evensong on Radio 3 every Wednesday at 3.30pm (repeated the following Sunday at 3pm)
If you have any other suggestions then please let me know.
Other Christian TV channels and radio stations such as Revelation TV, UCB, Premier Christian Radio.
Retreating at Home – a Reflection for Lent is included with this mailing. It has been written especially for this time of crisis by Revd Catherine Williams from Tewkesbury Abbey. Perhaps set aside time this Sunday Morning when you would usually be at church, to use it for reflection and worship.
Pastoral Care and Practical Support
A big thank you to our local communities and businesses who are working hard to provide practical support coordinated by our local parish councils. Do continue to look out for your neighbour and help out where possible. If you need anything and are unable to source it through friends and neighbours, contact your local Parish Council hub:
Welford – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07715 211340
Long Marston – email@example.com or 07753 904304 or 01789 721375or 07955 885529
Quinton – PCQUINNRS6493m@outlook.com or 01789 549432
Only use these official channels for help and advice and be wary of strangers offering help.
Emergency Church Contacts – If you need any support from the clergy, do contact us:
Revd Ros Greenhalgh (Rector) email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01789 751546.
Revd Andrew Goy (Pioneer Minister for Meon Vale) email: email@example.com Tel: 07554 932271
Revd Jim Edie (Assistant Curate) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01789 722416
Revd Yvette Grundy (Assistant Curate) Email: email@example.com Tel: 01789 750006
Phone Buddies – The Benefice ‘Phone Buddy’system has now been launched so you may well be receiving a phone call in the coming days. We think we have included everyone and managed to find correct phone numbers which will be held in strict confidence by your buddy and not shared with anyone else. If for whatever reason, you do not wish to be part of the phone buddy system, then simply tell the person contacting you and they will take you off the list. The phone buddies are purely a ‘friend’ on the end of the phone who can listen and chat. They are not there to provide practical support as they themselves may well be self-isolating. Thank you to our Buddies who are:
Welford – Sonja Dosanjh, Yvette Grundy, Tim and Ros Greenhalgh, Charlie and Bev Longbottom and Amanda Grinnell.
Weston – Kathy Bird
Long Marston – Jim Edie
Quinton – David Thurburn-Huelin, Jane Spooner, Andrew Goy, John Ryder, Judi Liucas, Linda Thomas and Barbara Craig.
BG’s and Tuesday Homegroup – Hilary Wade and Jacqui Peet.
Communication – keeping in touch
Emergency contacts: as above
Electronic Communication: if you are on email, then please let Tim Greenhalgh have your email address by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can keep in touch with you.
Telephone: if you are not on email, make sure we have your telephone number.
Social media: if you are on Facebook join the ‘South Warwickshire Church of England Benefice’ Facebook page. In addition, there are other Facebook groups in all the villages which you may want to join.
Finance – a gentle reminder to act.
Even though we are not meeting together physically as a church, expenditure continues as we maintain the fabric, pay for various utilities and pay our Clergy costs via the parish share. Set against that, regular giving on the plate has ceased, so too has our social and fundraising activities which are crucial to the survival of some of our churches. Please do consider how you might continue regular financial giving to the church – we are reliant on your help. Details of how you can set up a ‘Standing Order’ with your bank have already been circulated or can be provided by contacting Tim Greenhalgh on 01789 751546 or one of the church treasurers.
Thank you for your support at this difficult time.
Finally a prayer for us all to share before going to sleep written by the Church of South India:
God our Father, by whose mercy the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light: we place in your hands our unfinished tasks, our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes, knowing that only what you bless will prosper.
To your love and protection we commit each other and all those we love, knowing that you alone are our sure defender, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
With all our love and prayers.
Ros and the Clergy Team
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8.38,39).