The big news is that public worship has been suspended for the foreseeable future as well as the church closing its doors. Weddings and baptisms have also been suspended, as well as lent courses, bell ringing and all other church gatherings. In relation to funerals, these will continue, albeit with significant restrictions.
On the one hand, this will have an impact on our lives together as the people of God. On the other hand, if offers us exciting opportunities to be the church in a new and different way. Far from having to “shut up shop”, we must face the challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.
Our lives are going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more by the prayer and service we can offer each day. Whilst we may not be able to pray with people in ways we are used to, we can certainly pray for people, and offer practical care and support.
In circumstances where people are self-isolating because they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has been symptomatic, no pastoral visits can be undertaken until their isolation ends. However, we can still provide pastoral support via the telephone and other means of communication.
Numerous resources are available which can enable us to continue practising our faith which are set out below.
There is a range of new and existing Christian resources available for people to engage with at this difficult and challenging time in the life of the nation and the world:
● Search for “Stroudwater Team of Churches” on Facebook. We will be live streaming a simple act of worship at 9am, 12noon and 6pm daily – do join us.
● Download the free app “Time to Pray” on your mobile or tablet
● The website www.achurchnearyou.com offers advice and livestreams of services
● The website www.churchofengland.org offers a daily prayer for you to join in
● BBC Radio 4 Long wave and DAB. Daily Service at 9.45 am
● BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship. Weekly at 8.10am
● Songs of Praise BBC 1 TV at 1.15 pm
If you require any help and support, or simply would like a chat, please do not hesitate to contact any of the following individuals:
Revd Steve Harrison 07466 858975 firstname.lastname@example.org
Revd Liz Palin 01452 741147 email@example.com
Revd Dave Bishop 01453 822332 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike & Jacky Naylor 01453 822728 email@example.com
Chris Amys 07867 482586 firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you are all keeping well.Just to let you know that:
1. For those who miss sung worship we are providing links, on our Facebook page, to a range of worship songs/hymns (traditional and modern) that are available on Youtube.
2. As Steve has already mentioned we are planning to live stream morning prayer on Sunday, starting this coming week; Steve will lead morning prayer at 10.00am, while Liz and I will take it in turns leading evening prayer at 6pm.
3. I am not aware of the CofE livestreaming another service so you may want to consider *Trinity Cheltenham are live streaming a service from 10.00am and can be found on this link http://trinitycheltenham.com/live-stream/
4. * Alternatively you can watch a live streamed worship service from Wesley’s Chapel (starts 11.00am every Sunday): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUAUqhmhevz5sqhh72LIMxA
5. I have recorded Psalm 23 if you would like to watch that and the link is: https://youtu.be/T33YrRrwyyQ
6. I have also recorded an action song, which is popular in the schools I visit and can be found on this link, whcih will help you keep fit and worship at the same time! https://youtu.be/pN-NWhZhhXs
We continue to hold you all in our prayers ad if there is anything, for yourself or our communities that we can prayer for, please let us know.
We hope you are all keeping well, with every blessing,
The church at St Michael & All Angels is involved in every aspect of our village, sometimes in ways that are obvious, sometimes less so. We realise many people have an attachment to the church, those who were married or baptised, those who have admired its historic interior and those who have an affection for the church as a place of prayer.
Our aim is to maintain, conserve and enhance the church so that it continues to serve the local community for years to come. However, the church building is in need of constant upkeep and renovation. Roof repairs have cost approximately £2,000 in 2019/2020, and £5,000 in 2018/2019.
Following the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak, the church at St Michael & All Angels is now closed until further notice in accordance with Government guidance, this will result in a significant drop of income from collections. In addition, there is no income from weddings, baptisms and funerals. We appreciate that many of us will be facing hardship at this time but nevertheless when the time is right, we are appealing for much-needed funds to ensure the church can serve the people of Eastington for future generations.
As St Michael & All Angels Church is closed until further notice, we will not be able to decorate the Church with flowers to celebrate Easter. Here are a couple of photos of the various flower arrangements from Easter in previous years to enjoy.