Dear Church Family,
Some simple adding up shows that this is the 17th letter I will have written to you since the beginning of the lockdown period. At the beginning of the crisis, I’m not sure I imagined we would still be distancing from one another in July. What has become clear is that, although we can envisage returning to gathered worship in the coming months, we will be doing so at a distance from one another for the rest of 2020 and most likely into 2021.
Yesterday the government and Church of England released some further information about the re-opening of churches. There is good news about congregation sizes on a Sunday; which will allow gatherings of more than 30 people, still following social distancing, but only if the building size allows it. Singing and sharing the peace are still prohibited, although a soloist or cantor is permitted if they are kept at a safe distance, preferably behind a Perspex screen. Holy Communion is allowed ‘in one kind’ (bread only), provided we distribute it safely. Perhaps the most telling piece of information was the part informing churches they didn’t have to open until October if they didn’t feel it safe to do so.
This information hasn’t altered our plans at this time. We will begin to gather together as previously outlined:
August: 9.30 am at St Peter’s on Sundays
9.30 am at All Saints’ on Wednesdays.
September: 9.30 am at St Peter’s on Sundays
11.15 am at All Saints’ on Sundays
9.30 am at All Saints’ on Wednesdays
Until then, if you are able, please do join in with the services online: www.facebook.com/huttonparish
Perhaps you could ask a friend or relative to set up Facebook for you, provided it is safe to do so? This would enable you to join in with the community of 20 or so people at 9 am each weekday for Morning Prayer.
In other news, please do pray for Bishop John and for our Deanery churches here in Brentwood. We are currently seeking a new Area Dean to take over from Fr Paul Hamilton, who has faithfully served the local churches in this role for the last 5 years. What we face as Anglican churches in the next 5 is unknown as the financial and social costs of Covid-19 begin to take hold. From a Hutton Parish perspective, we can say that God has most certainly been at work during this time, leading us into a time of active mission within our community and beyond. Other parishes in the Deanery have also experienced the Holy Spirit in action as they have continued to reach out in mission during this difficult time. The church has to emerge from this period with a renewed focus and vigour to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a hurting and confused world.
I have always maintained that any church has to earn the right to share this hope with its community. People need to be able to trust their local church. They need to see that it is a loving community, committed to one another and to its neighbours and neighbourhood. We must continue to find new ways to do this because, as Christians, we have something that is worth sharing! The transforming love of Jesus offers each of us new life – something our communities will need as the world around seems increasingly uncontrollable and daunting.
I am pleased that Fr Mike Power, the Bradwell Area Mission and Stewardship Advisor, will be joining us for Sunday worship tomorrow. Mike will be preaching on the Parable of the Sower and presiding at Holy Communion for us. If you cannot access the live stream, then do read through the Gospel text from Matthew 13 this week and reflect on how you might be able to plant those seeds of the Gospel on good soil. Where is the Lord leading you to faithfully sow the Good News into the lives of others? And do take heart here: sow the seeds wherever you can and allow God to do the watering! Some seeds may be lost but some might grow into lives of love and faith in those who most need it. Let’s all seek to be generous sowers of the Gospel!
If you want to join in with the service on Sunday then the service book is here:
And the pew-sheet is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0gvgjs5k90yf9ro/newsletter%2012%20July%202020.pdf?dl=0
With every blessing,