Parish Update - 22nd April 2020
I am sure that for most of us, we have just experienced what was the strangest Easter ever. I hope that you managed to find some way of celebrating this great festival, even if we were unable to spend it doing the things we would like to have done with the people we would like to have been with. Perhaps this year, we had far more in common with the disciples, who went into hiding after Jesus’ arrest. Their first Easter was characterised more by anxiety and fear than by the joy and celebration we have come to know.
Dave Walker produces some of the best church-based cartoons around. They can be funny, poignant, and truth-telling at the same time. I have bought us a year’s licence, which allows us to use these cartoons as we wish. The above cartoon of the ‘Beatitudes for a Global Pandemic’ (based on a text by Jayne Manfredi) is particularly thought-provoking. It draws our attention both to all those who are at the ‘front line’ of the pandemic, and also to the difficult issues that many people are facing through no fault of their own. Please use this cartoon as a guide for your prayer in the week to come, bringing a focus to all who, in different ways, are bearing the brunt of this crisis.
We are all now beginning to accept that that the effects of the pandemic are going to be with us for many months, if not years. Even if the current extreme restrictions on our lives do not continue, it seems highly likely that some restrictions will remain in place for a protracted period, in particular for those who are more vulnerable. From a church perspective, we should be prepared for the church closures to continue for some time. When we are eventually allowed to re-open, it is unlikely that we will be able to return to church life and worship as it was before. We have many vulnerable people within our congregations whose attendance at church may still be prevented. We all need to keep an open mind about how church is going to be for the foreseeable future and be prepared for a much simpler approach to worship when the time comes to re-open our doors.
As a result, I am keen to develop our online offering through the use of YouTube and Zoom beyond our current services. We will be using Zoom for a regular social gathering after the service on Sunday mornings as well as for a discussion group about the place of church and faith in the current environment. We also hope to try out an online bingo evening. All details are below and any other ideas would be appreciated – please do email me (email@example.com).
We will continue to livestream services at 9.30am on Sundays and 11.00am on Wednesdays. The exception to this in the coming weeks will be Sunday 24th May and Wednesday 27th May, when I will be taking leave. I will provide some suggestions for alternative services.
Some key dates:
9.30am Sunday 17th May: St Dunstan’s Day Festival Eucharist
7.30pm Thursday 21st May: Ascension Day Eucharist
9.30am Sunday 31st May: Pentecost
9.30am Sunday 21st June: St Alban’s Day Festival Eucharist
Appointment of Team Vicar
It is exceptionally good news that we have appointed the Reverend Bethany Lewis as our new Team Vicar in the parish. The current restrictions and suspension of public worship in our churches mean that she cannot arrange to move home and we cannot arrange the necessary induction service. She will begin her ministry in our parish, therefore, later in the year at a date to be confirmed.
The announcement, which was made on Sunday, along with a few paragraphs from Beth herself can be found here.
Parish Discussion Group
The present pandemic has presented us with a unique set of circumstances and challenges. We will be holding a series of discussion groups on Zoom to reflect on the place of faith and church in the current environment. Each session will consist of a time of conversation and will end with a service of Compline (Night Prayer).
The sessions will be as follows:
8pm Tuesday 5th May Where Is God In The Coronavirus Pandemic?
8pm Tuesday 12th May The Images And Iconography Of Coronavirus
8pm Tuesday 19th May Experiencing Church In Isolation
More information will follow on the website and in next week’s letter.
Sunday Morning Coffee on Zoom
We now have a regular informal gathering on Zoom at 10.30am every Sunday morning. Grab a drink and a biscuit and join in.
If you haven’t used Zoom before, it can be used through a computer (with camera and microphone), or by downloading the app on a smartphone or tablet. Visit www.zoom.us to download software or the app. To join us on Sunday morning, you can either simply click on the link below or enter the Meeting ID and password.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 884 0628 5452
Parish Bingo Evening
Roger and Lucy Brice have kindly offered to arrange two Bingo evenings on Zoom in May. This is in part to have some fun and in part to raise some funds for our parish. There will be a flyer to follow in the next couple of days, when we have confirmed details.
Parish WhatsApp Group
For those who use smartphones, we have a WhatsApp group so that we can stay in touch with each other. If you would like to join the group, please contact the office by emailing, giving your mobile number and confirming that you are happy to join. You will need to download WhatsApp from your provider.
If anyone would like to be contacted, please call (07928 833324) or email the Parish Office (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are happy to offer practical advice (where possible) or simply have a friendly chat. PLEASE DO NOT FEEL ALONE.
A reminder that the office at St Dunstan’s is now closed. Louise Page, our administrator, is working 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.
The closure of our church buildings poses us some potentially significant financial problems. We are asking people to:
Continue to pay regular standing orders.
Save your money to pay in a lump sum later in the year if you pay by cash or envelope in the weekly collection.
Consider either raising your standing order or making a one-off payment.
For more information, please visit the ‘Giving’ page of the website, where there is also a button for online payments. We would be extremely grateful for any additional help you can give.
Easter – In Time Of Grief
you call us to commitment
even at the point of despair.
Give us the faith to find in our anger and loss
a truthful place to proclaim you,
our resurrection and our life,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(From ‘All Desires Known’ by Janet Morley.)
With love and prayers to you all,
The Reverend Dr Nicholas Peacock
Team Rector, Cheam Team Ministry