2020 August 16 - Pew News


Services in Churches across the land are presently constrained by the effects of the covid-19 virus, and the safeguards that have been required. We are working within the advice and regulation provided by both the Government and the wider Church. We are presently listening to the views of our established congregations, which - as you may imagine - include many shades of opinion. For news of our first steps towards a return to gathered worship, more below.

We continue to open the Parish Church to allcomers for a limited period each week for private prayer. The opening times are Sundays 12 noon-3pm; and Thursdays 10am-3pm; until further notice. The Parish Hall is presently closed to general bookings, though may be re-opening to certain of our regular users in September.

The local church continues to worship together through ‘Zoom’, and this is anticipated for some time. The Rector will be delighted to add to those names already registered with us. Just send him an email. The church is also effectively active pastorally, through the use of telephone, email, and by acts of care; together with face to face interaction where this is permitted. Please let the Rector know if you are aware of anyone who will benefit from contact from him or another church member presently.

This Sunday’s worship (16th August)

At 09.30am we worshipped together virtually in our Parish Communion, with hymns and address. At 1600 we held a gathered service, initially scheduled for the Rectory Lawn. Participants were asked to book in advance, so that we could adhere to guidelines as to numbers, and would not have the difficulty of turning people away upon arrival.

The presiding minister at our 09.30am Service was Revd Andrew Doye, with the assistance of Martin
Brown. Our preacher was Andrew Doye.

The readings in our morning service: Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8, Matthew 15: 21-28, and the ‘Song of Entreaty’, based on Psalm 143.

The Rector writes

I find our Gospel reading for 16 August to be both important and inspiring. The story of the Caananite (or Syro-Phoenician) woman coming to Jesus to plead for her suffering daughter is, I think, an interesting picture of intercessory prayer of us. Yes, it is true, she is asking of a flesh and blood Jesus, a rabbi and preacher there before her; but it is not simply with the eyes of faith that we determine that her approach has a lot to say about the approach of any one of us to God.

The key recognition is that she is bold to ask; is humble, without self-abasement; and that it is all held together in the manner of ‘faith’ ... for which she is commended. Here, is prayer for you and me. In comparing herself obliquely with the dogs that lie beneath their master’s table, she is not laying her own self-worth at that lowly level, in response to his testing words; but is rather saying, ‘call me what you will, that’s up to you; I am still here, and I am still asking: how about it?’

Pursuing our faith and our prayer has been challenging for us all in these past five months. I am hopeful that we might be ready to move a little further in the direction of some careful gathering in the weeks ahead; whereby, our bold prayer, and our reaching out to God, gains further opportunity.

On Sunday 16th, we intended to hold an outdoor service as a first step into returning to gathered worship. In the event, the weather intervened, and we indeed went inside where a congregation of 28 enjoyed the first service in the Parish Church since March.

It was welcome, and it was instructive. How would it feel to gather with face masks (if inside the church); without singing, or choir; discouraged from shouting out our responses; required to sanitise, to keep careful distance, and (horror!) to book in beforehand? None of these things is familiar to us; but each of them may have to be the way for some time to come.

Different answers were apparent, and will be in the weeks ahead, as to whether this constrained expression of worship is such as has people wanting to come along; whether it is all too soon; whether we are content in the open air (whilst the weather permits), but not yet confident to go inside; or whether, as some said, the real McCoy is being back in the historic building, and it can not come soon enough. I myself will be shaping my own views in this period of gentle experiment. Others, too. And I urge you to pray for this delicate process.

I don’t wish to drive us into sectors and camps; but I am aware that for the past weeks, those who can not or will not use electronic technology have been ‘the disenfranchised ones’, and that it is time to provide for them more evidently. In all this, though, protection of our wider community must be central.

So, feeling my way as we go, my plan for next weekend is as follows: a ‘zoomed’ service at 09.30am (Morning Prayer, with hymns and address); and a simple prayer book evening prayer (BCP) at 1800 in the parish church. I have no idea how many will wish to be there at 6pm, and would be highly surprised if we run into a problem of numbers, but I will ask again for those coming to let me know in advance - by 12 noon, Saturday.

Social distancing, and sanitising will be required; as will face coverings. We will not be using prayer books or printed materials, and it will be perfectly possible to participate either from memory or simply by hearing the office read. If you do have your own prayer book (which you will take home with you) you are welcome to bring it along, of course.
Forgive my planning at just a week’s notice, but there is an important process of reception going on here. Even if I am on my own that evening, I shall be highly content to be saying the Evening Office in my Parish Church.
Best wishes,
Andrew Doye, Rector

Worship for the week ahead

(‘remote’ through the medium of ‘Zoom’)

Monday 17th Tuesday 18th Wednesday 19th Thursday 20th Friday 21st
08.30am Morning Prayer

Sunday 23rd - 11th SUNDAY after TRINITY
0930 Morning Prayer (contemporary language) with hymns and address

6.00pm Said Evening Prayer (traditional language), IN THE PARISH CHURCH

The Rector is off duty on Friday this week.


Any gathered worship which we are to offer requires new and unfamiliar things of those participating. Please honour the constraints that apply, including that of confirming your wish to attend in person; and bringing a face covering for any gathering indoors.
PLEASE HELP US ... TO HELP YOU! (More details above)
The church clock is undergoing repairs, off-site - hence the disappearance of the hands from the clock face for the period ahead.

Please be aware we have concerns regarding the lychgate and the adjacent stretch of the churchyard wall. The lychgate has been secured with props, pending repair works, and is safe to pass through. Notices and cones ask drivers not to park alongside the section of the wall which requires a more complex and lengthy repair process.

Rectory Lawn - anybody wanting to make use of this space for a family or recreational event (that complies with the latest government guidance), please have a word with Andrew or Karen Doye who would be delighted to make it available.

The parish church will be open again this week for private prayer from 10am to 3pm on Thursday and from midday to 3pm on Sunday. There will be a single route in and out, and within the
 Church. If you come into the Church within these periods please take care to use the provided
 hand sanitiser at the entrance and the exit, and to observe social distancing. Books and other
 written materials have been removed from the parts of the Church that are accessible. Please be
 aware that the toilet facilities will not be in use.

Annual Church Meeting (‘APCM’) will take place at 11am on Sunday 25 October 2020. We do
 not know at this stage whether the meeting will be a physical gathering (in church or Hall) or will
 be primarily by electronic means; or indeed a mixture of the two.

 However, an important element of this meeting is to elect new members to the Church Council
 (‘PCC’) and the Deanery Synod. If you are interested to stand, please convey this to the Rector,
 the Wardens, or PCC Secretary; or, if you would like to know more as to what the roles involve,
 please have a word with one of these or any existing member of the PCC.

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