19th July has now come and gone. As a result, all legal restrictions around the Covid pandemic have now been lifted by the government. This has brought with it mixed feelings amongst many: fear, anxiety, caution, uncertainty, excitement, relief and joy. Some have been looking forward to freedoms they have not had for many months. Others feel vulnerable and have decided to continue to take a lot of precautions. It is clear that the pandemic did not simply disappear at midnight on Sunday. Cases are rising at a steep rate and this will continue to have an impact on our lives.
The main change is that rather than having restrictions imposed on us, we now have to make our own decisions about what is right for our churches. We have been advised to proceed with a great deal of caution. The Bishop of London, Chair of the Church of England Covid Recovery Group has said:
“The vaccination programme has been an answer to prayer but, while it has transformed the outlook of the pandemic, it has not eliminated all risk. So it is right, as the Prime Minister has said, that we all must exercise personal responsibility and carefully manage the risks from Covid-19. As Christians, called to love our neighbour as ourselves, we must also exercise collective responsibility and continue to take appropriate precautions to protect others.”
In Cheam Parish, therefore, we are going to remain vigilant over the summer months, relaxing some restrictions whilst keeping many others. We will review this position in early September when we aim to make further changes. We will follow the following from Sunday 25th July:
Test and Trace
We will no longer require booking for any of our service. We are, however, still expected to keep a record of those attending our services for Test and Trace. If you attend a service, therefore, you will need to sign in when you arrive, leaving your name and telephone number.
As our churches are indoor spaces, wearing face coverings is strongly recommended. We ask that you continue to wear face coverings inside our buildings at all times, unless you are leading part of the service, a member of a choir when singing, or have a good reason not to do so. This is about protecting and being sensitive towards others.
We are going to maintain the current seating arrangements in all of our churches, adhering to the reduced ‘1 metre plus’ rule. This means that we will be able to sit closer to others in the available seating, but we ask everyone to be aware of who you are sitting next to and how comfortable they may feel.
We recognise that a lot of people want to be able to sing again. We are delighted that from Sunday 25th July, our congregations will once again be allowed to sing, as long as face coverings are worn – with the exception of our choirs who are leading our music.
Sharing the Peace
Physical contact should still be avoided. Please continue to use other fun and creative ways to share the peace with one another, as everyone has been doing.
We will not be taking collections during our services, but a plate for cash collections will be available in each church and a contactless payment terminal at St Dunstan’s.
Current arrangements will continue, receiving communion in one kind only whilst standing. Communion rails will still not be used. All receiving communion will be expected to use hand sanitiser beforehand. We look at how we might re-introduce the chalice later in the year.
We will continue to practise high standards of hand hygiene. Hand sanitiser stations will be available at the entry to each church and at communion.
There will be those who will be disappointed that we are not making any further changes for the time being. There will be those who will feel uncomfortable that we are making any changes at all. Our position is very similar to that being adopted by most local churches. Like them, we are committed to making changes on a step-by-step basis, gradually moving to a more ‘normal’ situation as circumstances improve.
We welcome any feedback or questions and especially look forward to joining our voices with yours in song once again.
to whose glory we celebrate our houses of prayer –
the churches of St Dunstan, St Alban, and St Oswald:
we praise you for the many blessings
you have given to those who worship within them:
and we pray that all who seek you in these places may find you,
and, being filled with the Holy Spirit,
may become a living temple acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
With love and prayers to you all.
The Reverend Dr Nicholas Peacock The Reverend Beth Lewis
Team Rector Team Vicar
The Reverend Steph Nadarajah The Reverend Francesca Perlman
Associate Priest Curate
We will continue to follow the following pattern of services over the summer:
8.00am Eucharist on Sundays
9.30am Eucharist on Sundays
11.00am Eucharist or Morning Prayer on Wednesdays
10.00am Eucharist or Service of the Word
New Parish Curate
Francesca Perlman, our new parish curate, was ordained deacon on Saturday 26th June. She has now been to Sunday services at all three of our churches and many people have had the chance to meet her. If you would like to contact Francesca, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Event at St Dunstan’s
We had to postpone the event for families and children in the Rectory garden in June had to be postponed to due to widespread Covid self-isolation at St Dunstan’s School.
We will now hold this event at 4pm on Sunday 5th September. If you would like to attend, please contact Melody Thorpe (email@example.com).
A reminder that the last livestream of our Sunday service will be on Sunday 25th July.
There is still a chance to join online worship though Holy Ground – a new Facebook page for the people of Cheam, Worcester Park and Belmont. Every Tuesday, Steph Nadarajah, our Associate Priest, will be leading a short service of Night Prayer, often (though not exclusively) from the Northumbria Community at 9pm on Facebook Live.
Forthcoming Special Services and Events
Each of our churches will be holding special services and events in the coming months to reflect on our experiences of the pandemic. All of these events are parish events to which everyone is welcome:
A Service Of Lament, Hope, and Thanksgiving
Sunday 19th September, 10.30am, followed by a picnic and games in Cheam Park (note that there will be no 9.30am service on this day)
Open Weekend to include Celebratory Banquet - Date and time to be decided
An informal Songs of Praise and Afternoon Tea - Date and time to be decided
A Service of Remembrance - Date and time to be decided
Foundation Governors at St Dunstan’s, Cheam, Church of England Primary School
There are some upcoming vacancies for foundation governors at our parish’s church school. These are important positions in the gift of our PCC, which allow us to continue to support the school and its Christian ethos. If you are interested in being a governor, please contact the Rector for a further conversation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Croydon Episcopal Lay Conference
There will be a Lay Conference for churches in the Croydon Area on 6th November. Organised by lay people for lay people, this promises to be an interesting day with engaging speakers and workshops. For more information and details of how to book, see the below fl
Living in Love and Faith
The Church of England parishes within the Sutton Deanery are pleased to support the Living in Love and Faith course. All around us we see changing understandings of human identity, changing patterns in relationships and families, changing sexual attitudes and activity. You may ask yourself, therefore, what does it mean for followers of Jesus to walk in love, faith and holiness today? The course aims to help participants think through this question. Please give serious consideration to booking a place. To make things easier for us in Cheam Parish, one of the courses will take place at St Alban’s. For more information, please see the separate course flyer.
St Dunstan’s Churchyard
Large parts of the churchyard at St Dunstan’s have become very overgrown. It is going to cost around £2000 to clear this professionally. If you feel able to make a donation towards these costs, please get in touch with Louise in the office (email@example.com / 020 8641 1284). Many thanks to those who have donated already.
Prayers and Pastoral Conversations
If you would like us to pray for someone or something, or would like to have a conversation with Nick or Beth, please email them directly (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com) or through the office (firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8641 1284).