As you can well imagine, this is my third attempt to get this Update (or Beth’s Bulletins!) Into a coherent state. My apologies for the formality of this update.
As yet, neither the National Church nor Chester Diocese have updated guidelines on the leaked information about a second ‘Lockdown’, not helped by impromptu ‘guidance’ by individuals, but it looks at the moment as if we cannot worship in Church, but we can remain open for private prayer and live streaming, so we can still have our Sunday services digitally. For your information, I have attached a letter that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London have sent to all clergy.
The Bishop of Durham and other Bishops have strongly pointed out to this Government that no cases of Covid have been traced to a church which has had Sunday worship as the area of outbreak.
The RC church have joined us in asking the Government for an immediate re-think on the grounds of well-being as much as everything else!
For me, personally, and having been to St Peter’s for the one and only time since March, it seems, for the near future, Sunday worship, safely held with others as we do so well in this parish, is vital and very necessary to our own mental issues and to our wellbeing.
I sit on various committees etc and represent many aspects of church and community life and there is no consensus, only widespread confusion and, sadly, a sense of deep mistrust.
Mental Health then will be my focus for the next six weeks. You need to be my eyes and ears.
If you know of anyone who is struggling, even in a small way, please let me know immediately. They can be family, neighbours and friends, but we have to act with immediacy.
I am putting together boxes of goodly things to lift the spirits….they will include; holding crosses, blessing boxes, DVD/CD’s of wonderful things like: Round the Horn, The Goons, radio shows and various genres of music, battery operated candles, signposting people for additional help and, of course, chocolate!
I am open to all kinds of inspiration as well so let me know if you have any ideas as well.
We will also be joining in with the Local Authority’s Big Community Check-In project which I am helping to co-ordinate.
A massive thanks to Nikki for co-ordinating the Half term provision which enabled us, with a small input from another community group on the Friday, to make about 230 hot lunches, with an activity pack on light, DIY Christingles and the lovely service itself on Sunday evening. Thanks, too, to Sue, Irene, and Chris.
What a wonderful achievement which I know God will richly bless.
It was also videoed for the Diocese…
When I looked at myself, I wondered if this was not the time to ask for donations towards a facelift!!
Please bring all your shoeboxes to church when it is opened for private prayer or Nikki has offered to collect them.
All the thoughts of a Remembrance Eucharist (with buglers!) in church are now no more, but, I had, as you know, put together a Remembrance Weekend which the graveyard team have responded to so well.
This will still go ahead but I will look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow and put it on our Facebook page (thank you, Ian), Eastham Matters and in another Update to you all.
To this end…I will circulate a list of names of all those on our war memorial.
At 11.00 am on Sunday, could you light a candle, read though the names and pray the prayer which will come soon to you?
Everything that has been planned will go ahead until you hear from me otherwise.
Please start planning your Nativities for the trail, collect your angels and please, please, put up your winter lights as the community grows ever darker with the shop fronts closing..we need to light up as much as we can!
We have no clear guidance yet on funerals. I fear they will not be allowed in church again and we will be restricted to four or five at the Crem or graveside. Please pray that the Government will not enforce this at this vulnerable time.
At this moment, I can think no more about this and my prayer is, that as God looks on, we will align ourselves with his passion for us, his love for us, his commitment to us and his Light and strength for us.
And then, be able to pass this on this precious gift of God to everyone we meet, in any context we find ourselves in, for the next few weeks.
Love to you all, Bethx