Hello to everyone from the Rectory!
As you will have heard from Boris Johnson last night, it has become necessary for the whole UK to go into another ‘lockdown’ situation to contain the rapid spread of the new variant of Covid-19.
After careful consideration with the clergy team, senior church leaders and the Covid Safe Committee we have agreed that it is prudent and wise to make appropriate changes to our public worship and church services.
Both St Mary’s and St Swithun’s will remain open for private prayer on Wednesdays of each week. Please ensure you follow the guidance for staying safe if you choose to enter the church for private prayer.
All services, where we are gathering in person will be suspended for the time being. This includes St Mary’s, St Swithun’s and St Mary’s Chapel. We will review this on Monday 15th February in the light of infection rates and updates from the government at or before that time and then update you of any possible changes.
In the meantime, be encouraged – we will have our On-line (YouTube) services every Sunday at 10.00am and we can continue to meet on Zoom for our fortnightly prayers times and communion services. The ways to access these events will be communicated via the Central Office in good time.
Please make the most of the Pop-Up Church groups that come into their own at times like this – and let us know if you haven’t already been connected to a group but would like to join one. It will be an important season for us to proactively support and engage with one another – so please don’t wait for a call to come to you, take the initiative, call someone and be a source of encouragement and support to them through a shared conversation.
We will be considering other ways to support our church and villages communities during this lockdown period.
The decision taken to do hasn’t been taken lightly, but it is I believe the necessary step to ensure that we remain as safe as possible during this particularly challenging time whilst the roll-out of the vaccines ramps up. I am announcing the decision today but will ask both PCCs to ratify it as a means of making sure we have followed the correct process. Given the risks we face and the situation we find ourselves in I am sure that they will do that.
Please be assured of our thoughts and prayers for your safety and well-being.
With every blessing,
Paul, and the team advising on these matters.