Third Sunday after Trinity - 28th June 2020
The announcement on Tuesday that churches will be able to re-open for public worship was anticipated (well leaked?) but no less welcome for that. You may think that it has all gone a bit quiet since then, and you would be right. The reason for that is that we are yet (at time of writing) to receive government guidance about the re-opening – guidance we are required to follow. There is much to think about even while we wait for the guidance, and the Bishop of Oxford wrote to Clergy, lay ministers and wardens on Thursday with encouragement and thanks. The text of that letter is next to the weekly sheet below, but I would draw you attention to one section in particular:
It may… be several days before you have all the information you need to begin to plan for physical services to start again.
At this important point in the journey we want to underline some key principles for the Diocese. The most important is to prepare prayerfully, thoroughly, carefully and locally, with clergy and PCC’s consulting together about how to resume public worship. This is not a decision to be rushed. Every parish and benefice is different. There are serious health and safety considerations to be worked through in every place. We will be able to meet in our buildings again, but this will be far from a return to normal life before lockdown.
Understandably, there will be many who want to return to normal as soon as possible and who may put pressure on clergy and PCC’s to act very rapidly. This should be resisted. Whatever pattern of worship is offered will need to be sustainable and will, most probably, need to continue alongside the virtual worship and fellowship which has been so fruitful during the lockdown. We may, therefore, need to look at simpler patterns of worship for a time, especially in multi-parish benefices.
It is my hope that as many churches as possible will be able to open for worship when it is safe to do so. In the coming days we will be having conversations about returning to Sunday worship, but please note that the situation will vary between churches as each tries to respond to the situation.
In the mean time some of our churches are already open for private prayer, even if on a reduced scale. The details are:
Boxford - Sundays 10am-4pm
Chieveley - Sundays (10am-12pm) and Wednesdays (4pm-6pm)
Farnborough - Wednesdays (12pm-6pm) and Sundays (11am-4pm)
Peasemore – Open every day as previously.
West Ilsley – Sundays (9.30am to 6pm)
This week our online service will be available from 8.30am on Sunday morning on the benefice website at this link - please pass this on to anyone you think might appreciate it. If you are in contact with people who are not online, please do pass on the numbers for the initiatives from the central Church of England and the Diocese of Oxford:
'Daily Hope' on 0800 804 8044.
The Oxford Diocese line is reached via 01865 920930
Also included in this along with the Weekly Sheet and letter from Bishop Steven we have a sermon from Douglas for the feast of Petertide (on Monday) and a sheet with notes on the Saints' days of the week.
I am still hoping to broaden the input to our worship. If any of you can help and would be willing to record bits of a service - preferably video but audio would be fine - and then email them to me then I will do the editing. If you can offer a reading or a prayer, please let me know (email@example.com)
Please do still encourage others to keep in touch with what is going on by signing up to these updates just cut and paste the link to them in an email:
Very importantly, if there are any people who you know would like a hard copy of this then please print it off for them or let me know, and I’ll take care of it.
For now, as always, all the best, God bless, and keep safe
Second Sunday after Trinity
28th June 2020
Letter from Bishop Steven
Re-opening places of worship
from 4th July
A Sermon for
Saints for this week
For the week commencing
28th June 2020