Newsletter - 9th September 2021
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
We hope you have all had a good summer, even if the weather has been somewhat variable at times!
This newsletter is to update everyone on our latest position on the pandemic across all three of our churches in Cheam Parish. We acknowledge a continued range of different feelings about coming to church with the lifted restrictions. Whilst many have embraced new-found freedoms, many others still feel cautious. We need to provide an environment in our churches where all can feel comfortable and safe.
Following the lifting of government guidelines on 19th July, we committed to making step-by-step changes rather than immediately returning to ‘normal’. We made some cautious changes to our practice which were detailed in the newsletter sent and published on the website on Friday 23rd July. We also promised to review these guidelines in early September.
Following a further risk assessment this week, we have made some further changes and will be following the below guidance in St Dunstan’s, St Alban’s, and St Oswald’s from Sunday 12th September:
We are still expected to keep a record of those attending our services so that we can quickly inform people in the event of a Covid infection in our churches. If you attend a service, you will need to sign in when you arrive, leaving your name and telephone number.
We recognise that face coverings are a divisive issue. The government, however, continues to expect face coverings to be worn in enclosed and crowded environments (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own).
As a result, we strongly recommend that face coverings are worn in our buildings. We ask people to give serious consideration to wearing face coverings as a minimum:
When moving around the church building, including during the distribution of communion;
When in close contact with others;
When singing, as it can increase the risk of catching and transmitting the virus (this excludes choirs).
Whatever your own opinion on face coverings, please be considerate and sensitive to the needs of others.
Seating in our churches can now return to pre-Covid arrangements. Each of our three churches is different, so different solutions will need to be found for each. In all churches, however, there will be an area designated for those who wish to continue practising social distancing.
Sharing the Peace
We continue to advise that physical contact should be avoided. Please continue to use other fun and creative ways to share the peace with one another.
We will still 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 will 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.
Church Groups and Activities
Church groups and activities are permitted to start again, as long as a risk assessment is completed and agreed by the clergy. We look forward to many of these starting again in the coming weeks. See the notices below for information.
As ever, we welcome any feedback or questions and thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding. Our parish guidance will be reviewed once again by the end of October.
A prayer from Pádraig Ó Tuama:
You changed your mind.
And we, too, change our minds
We want to change
Change with us
you want to.
(From Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Comminity, Canterbury Press 2017)
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
Upcoming Special Services
A Service of Lament, Hope, and Thanksgiving
10.30am Sunday 19th September at St Dunstan’s
A service for young and old, reflecting on our experiences of the pandemic and looking to the future. We will also be celebrating International Chorister Day.
The service will be followed by an informal picnic and games in Cheam Park – weather permitting! Please bring your own food, drink, picnic blankets/chairs, and any outdoor games you may have.
Songs of Praise
4.00pm Sunday 17th October at St Oswald’s
A celebration of singing followed by refreshments. More details to follow.
Restarting Parish Groups and Activities
The regular Coffee Morning at St Oswald’s will resume at 9.30am on Wednesday 8th September.
‘Sing for Joy’ – the fortnightly singing group at St Oswald’s will meet again from Wednesday 22nd September, from 1.30pm-3.00pm.
The Friday Drop-In at St Alban’s starts again on Friday 17th September at 10.30am.
A group will be meeting weekly for Silent Prayer at St Dunstan’s Church on Mondays at 4.30pm from 13thSeptember.
The Knitting Group will meet in St Dunstan’s Church Hall at 2.00pm on every other Tuesday from 14th September.
The organisers of the Loaves and Fishes lunches at St Dunstan’s hope to start again on Thursday 21st October.
Sunday Schools and other activities for families, children, and young people will gradually resume in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye on our weekly parish news sheet and website for more information.
Holy Ground – Online Worship
A reminder that you can 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.
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 (email@example.com).
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, the conference is called 'Inside Out' and promises to be an interesting day with engaging speakers and workshops. To register, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inside-out-the-croydon-area-lay-conference-tickets-156085492911
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).