Covid-19 - Cheam Parish Update 30th March 2020
The last two weeks have been an extraordinarily demanding time for all of us. Isolation at home, either alone or with family, along with the anxiety that Covid-19 has brought, means that we are all under significant stress.
The full closure of our church buildings has been a real shock, although we all understand why this has had to happen. I am thankful for all the messages of support I have received for the work we have been trying to do to keep parish life going in some form. I am also grateful for all the help that people have given in recent days. We will continue to do our very best in these trying circumstances.
I hope to send out a weekly update on parish life. This will be emailed to our regular email list at St Dunstan’s and passed to the churchwardens at St Alban’s and St Oswald’s to distribute to members of their churches. If you would like to be added to the regular distribution list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming that you would like to be added and the email address you would like to be used.
This email is equipped with links in blue which will take you straight to the relevant online resource.
The office at St Dunstan’s is now closed. Louise Page, our administrator, is able to work from home. She can be contact by email (email@example.com) and we now have an office mobile number (07928 833324). Louise will continue to work Tuesday to Thursday mornings.
Worship and Prayer
We will regularly be live-streaming services on from the Rectory on our YouTube channel as follows (orders of service will be available on the parish website):
Sundays at 9.30am – A Simple Eucharist (Common Worship Order 1)
Wednesdays at 11.00am – Holy Communion (Common Worship Order 2/BCP)
Our Prayer at Home booklet is also available to download. Accompanying videos are available on our YouTube channel.
Other recommended sources of worship are:
The Church of England;
The Diocese of Southwark;
Any other churches you can find – use this as time to explore! A list can be found here.
Children and Young People
At St Dunstan’s, we have tried Sunday Schools sessions both on YouTube and also via videoconferencing (Zoom). If you would like more information, please email the office and Louise will put you in touch with the St Dunstan’s team.
There are some excellent resources for worship and activities with families and children available on the Diocesan website.
Holy Week and Easter
Details of the services are below. Accompanying resources will be uploaded to the parish website in due course.
Sunday 5th April 9.30am – Palm Sunday Eucharist – livestreamed from the Rectory on YouTube.
Stations of the Cross:
Meditations will be uploaded onto YouTube by Monday 6th April.
These will be following the book Walking the Way of the Cross (Stephen Cottrell, Paula Gooder, and Philip North), available from Amazon.
Thursday 9th April 8.00pm – Maundy Thursday Eucharist – livestreamed on YouTube.
Friday 10th April 12.00pm – The Liturgy of Good Friday – livestreamed on YouTube.
Sunday 12th April 9.30am – Easter Day Eucharist – livestreamed on YouTube.
At St Dunstan’s, a small group has telephoned all members of the parish for whom we have contact details. I am aware that members of St Alban’s and St Oswald’s have also been contacted.
If anyone would like to be contacted, please call or email the Parish Office. We are happy to offer practical advice (where possible) or simply have a friendly chat. PLEASE DO NOT FEEL ALONE.
Please be aware that as this a moment of emergency and national concern, there is an exemption from GDPR restrictions.
There are some further possibilities for developing our ‘remote church’ offering:
We would like to have a Parish WhatsApp Group for general messaging and support. If you would like to join, you will need to contact the Parish Office to confirm (1) your mobile telephone number and (2) that you are happy to be part of the group. You will also need to have WhatsApp installed!
I am interested in holding a Virtual Coffee Morning after the Sunday morning live service on the videoconferencing platform Zoom. Please let the office know if you are interested and I will send you an invitation.
Small Study Groups and Prayer Groups can also be held on Zoom. If you might be interested in joining such a group after Easter, please let the office know.
We are open to any other ideas. We are also acutely aware that not everybody can easily access these offerings.
Wider Cheam Support Group
We are still looking to set up a wider support group across Cheam. Many of those who have volunteered are members of our parish, for which many thanks. We have encountered some important safeguarding concerns which need to be addressed before we take this any further. Volunteers would be dealing with vulnerable people and it is important that all the right steps are in place to guarantee safety.
The current restrictions mean that we are likely to face some financial challenges across the parish in the coming months. This will be driven by a lack of plate collections each week and lost income from rentals. I will be contacting churchwardens and treasurers to assess the financial implications of not being able to hold church services or rent our buildings in the coming weeks and months. We will communicate these details when we have them.
I would like to ask everybody in our churches:
If you give regularly by cash in the collection plate, please consider:
Changing to a standing order as soon as possible;
Sending us a regular cheque to cover your giving;
Saving money and paying a ‘lump sum’ later in the year.
If you already give regularly by standing order, please consider:
Raising your standing order to help us cover our costs;
Paying us a one or more additional payments.
If you are able to do any of these, please contact the office so that we can point you in the right direction. We would be extremely grateful.
We also hope to set up a payment option on our website.
We are aiming to continue with our planned interviews for the Team Vicar position on Tuesday 7th April and will be doing this via videocall. Please pray for all those involved in this process.
Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
We are not currently allowed to hold baptisms (unless in emergency) or weddings. Those with bookings should consider suitable dates later in the year.
Funerals can only be held at the crematorium or at a graveside, with a much shortened service and attendance is limited to immediate family. Memorial services will be possible when restrictions are over.
I’d like to end with a prayer, penned by Andrew Nunn, the Dean of Southwark Cathedral:
A Prayer In Lockdown
The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)
Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake.
With love and prayers to you all,
The Reverend Dr Nicholas Peacock
Team Rector, Cheam Team Ministry