Newsletter - 26th February 2020
On Monday 22nd February, the government announced its ‘road map’ for the gradual relaxation of lockdown measures. This has been discussed in detail by clergy, churchwardens and the PCC, and we have agreed our own plan for re-opening our parish’s three churches. First, we will first complete a fresh risk assessment for each church, reconsidering all the measures we have had in place. Our plan is then to take the following steps, which are broadly parallel to the key dates announced by the government:
Step 1: Re-Opening Churches for Holy Week and Easter - from Palm Sunday (28th March)
We aim to offer:
Palm Sunday (28th March) – a morning service at each church;
3 pre-recorded online services to be published for Monday-Wednesday of Holy Week;
Maundy Thursday (1st April) – a Eucharist at at least two churches;
Good Friday (2nd April) – a service at at least two churches;
Easter Sunday (4th April) – a Eucharist at each church.
Step 3: Re-Opening Churches Ongoing – from Easter 2 (11th April)
We will return to our previous Covid-secure limited pattern of services:
Sunday Morning Eucharist at St Dunstan’s (also livestreamed where possible);
Sunday mornings at St Oswald’s and St Alban’s alternating between a Eucharist and Service of the Word/Private Prayer;
Wednesday Eucharist at St Dunstan’s;
Some weekday services at St Oswald’s and St Alban’s where possible.
Step 4: Further Re-Opening – not before Pentecost (Sunday 23rd May)
The government plans to implement further easing of the guidelines no earlier than 17th May. We will review our risk assessments in view of these changes and revised guidance from the Church of England, giving particular attention to:
Re-starting the 8am Eucharist at St Dunstan’s;
Increasing limits on attendance.
Step 5: Further Re-Opening – not before Trinity 4 (Sunday 27th June)
The government hopes to relax social guidelines significantly no earlier than 21st June. We will review our risk assessments in view of these changes and revised guidance from the Church of England, giving particular attention to:
Re-starting other services, groups, and events;
Increasing or removing limits on attendance.
Whilst we should be hopeful about a return to a more ‘normal’ church life over the coming months, the pandemic has proved to be far from predictable. Some of these steps may need to be delayed and some restrictions may still be necessary for a long time to come. At the time of writing, it is unclear what, if any, social distancing guidelines will continue to be in place in the longer term. There may also need to be ongoing limits on the capacity of our churches. We await further guidance from the Church of England on music and singing, but do not anticipate a return to choral singing in our churches until after Easter.
In the meantime, we should all be delighted that we can celebrate the great Easter feast in our churches once again, albeit in a limited manner. The prospect of consecutive Easters marked beyond the walls of our buildings was certainly not welcome!
To close, here is a prayer from the New Zealand prayer book, which is based on the story of Noah and the Great Flood:
God our light,
make your Church like a rainbow
shining and proclaiming to all the world
that the storm is at an end,
there is peace for those who seek it
and love for the forgiving. Amen.
(from A New Zealand Prayer Book)
With love and prayers to you all.
The Reverend Dr Nicholas Peacock The Reverend Beth Lewis
Team Rector Team Vicar
Regular Online Services
Our pattern of online worship on our YouTube channel will continue up as follows up to and including Sunday 21stMarch (Passion Sunday):
Sundays at 9.30am – Parish Eucharist livestreamed from St Dunstan’s (also available to watch during the week).
Midweek Worship – pre-recorded and available to view from Wednesday each week.
For those who are unable to attend our own weekly online services, we also recommend:
The Church of England weekly worship, available online each Sunday here.
Worship broadcast from Southwark Cathedral, details of which can be found here.
The ‘Daily Hope’ phoneline (0800 804 8044), which has been set up specifically for those unable to join online services.
Holy Week and Easter Services
We will shortly confirm details of services from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. Attendance at these services will have to be booked in advance (see below).
Regular Services after Easter
After Easter, we will return to the pattern of services we were following up to our closure after Christmas. Attendance at these services will have to be booked in advance (see below).
9.30am Eucharist on Sundays from 11th April (also livestreamed most weeks)
11.00am Eucharist on Wednesdays from 14th April
10.00am Eucharist on Sundays 11th April, 25th April, 9th May, and 23rd May
10.00am Service of the Word on Sundays 18th April, 2nd May, 16th May, and 30th May
10.45am Eucharist on Sundays 18th April, 2nd May, 16th May, and 30th May
10.00am Private Prayer on Sundays 11th April, 25th April, 9th May, and 23rd May
We have limited capacity in our churches due to social distancing. We don’t want to turn anyone away, but to be sure of a place at one of our services, please contact:
St Dunstan’s: The Parish Office (07928 833324 / email@example.com)
St Oswald’s: Bryan Hopper (07787 755142 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
St Alban’s: Carol and John Adams (07504 442279)
The family services planned for 21st February, 21st March and 18th April will still take place. These will be pre-recorded and uploaded to YouTube. We hope that the services on 16th May, 20th June, and 18th July will be in church.
Whilst we do not expect to be able to meet together during Lent, we have several services and activities available to help mark this season of penitence and preparation for Easter:
Lent Group: From Separation To Restoration – The Exile As A Lens For Life
The Babylonian Exile is one of the most important events in the Hebrew Bible. Like the Exodus, the Exile was key in shaping an Old Testament understanding of God. It is at the centre of many of the prophetic writings, psalms, and histories. Trying to understand the biblical voices of faith from the Exile can help us to understand our own experiences of God today. Our Lent Group will explore four themes that emerge from the Exile – separation, lament, hope, and restoration.
The group continues on Tuesday evenings at 8pm – 2nd March, 9th March, and 16th March. Please email Nick, our Rector, if you would like to take part (email@example.com). He will send you the Zoom meeting details.
Midweek Worship: our midweek worship during Lent will be particularly reflective and will use selected psalms to focus on the themes of the Lent Group. This will be available on YouTube from Wednesday each week, up to and including 24th March.
Suggested Reading: Nick has suggested the following books to read during Lent:
Living His Story by Hannah Steele (the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2021) - SPCK (2020)
Candles In The Dark: Faith, Hope, And Love In A Time Of Pandemic by Rowan Williams - SPCK 2020
Prayer: Where To Start And How To Keep Going by Stephen Cottrell - Church House Publishing 2020
Ministry Team Announcement
Further to the announcement that Beth will be licensed as Vicar of St John, Belmont (a post she will hold alongside her current role as Team Vicar in Cheam Parish), we can now confirm that she will be licensed at an informal service on Zoom on Tuesday 13th April. Attendance will be limited.
On Sunday 7th February, we announced that the Reverend Stephanie Nadarajah will be joining Cheam Parish in the part-time role of Associate Priest. Steph is currently part-time Vicar of Christ Church and St Philip, Worcester Park. She will be licensed in her new role on Wednesday 12th May – more details to follow.
We hope that we can reveal our exciting plans for ministry in our area after Easter. In the meantime, please keep Beth, Steph, our own parish, and the parishes of St John, Belmont and Christ Church and St Philip, Worcester Park in your prayers.
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 / 07928 833324).
YouTube is available universally. For reasons of privacy, we will not be praying for people by name during our online services, unless there is a specific request to do so and permission has been sought from the person to be prayed for, or their next of kin. We know this is not ideal, but ask for your understanding.