Dear Church Family,
As you read this letter, I shall be somewhere between Hutton and Pembrokeshire driving to our long-awaited family holiday. It’s not the trip we had planned for this summer, but we are excited to be able to get away amidst all the business of family and parish life. So please pray that all four of the Smiths get some wholesome ‘R&R’ whilst splashing about on bodyboards in the (not very) tropical waters off the Pembrokeshire coast!
2020 will certainly go down as a memorable year in all our lives and the global pandemic has led to changes nobody expected. The ripples will continue for many months and years to come. You may have heard that I was commissioned as the new Area Dean of Brentwood last Wednesday. It is unlikely this would have happened had it not been for the financial difficulties the Church of England and the Diocese of Chelmsford were already facing, and COVID; and its impact means that changes that the diocese was due to make by 2025 have been brought forward to 2021. By the grace of God, I have been asked to serve the Deanery and its ongoing mission and ministry in this time of change. Please keep me, the synod and chapter in your prayers.
This month will see us open up All Saints’ every week for a service of Holy Communion at 9.30am on Wednesday mornings. The first services since lockdown! The churchwardens have been working hard to ensure that the church is as safe as it can be for worship to resume. Please do ensure you have a mask or face covering and be prepared to follow instructions on where you can sit and how you may move around the building. Each of these Eucharists will follow The Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion service we use at 8am on Sundays. Please also note that if you choose to come to this service, you should not attend any other service in the parish, in person, during that week.
Our live-streamed Sunday Eucharists will continue on Sunday mornings, 9.30am from St Peter’s. A reduced congregation will be allowed in, and we would ask that you come prepared to follow the instructions outlined above! Please do refer to the guidance from the extra parish mailing you received this week about attending services in the next 2 months.
My thanks to the 58 of you who filled in the Questionnaire last month. The results are in and have given the PCC some food for thought. I am encouraged by the kind messages of support given as part of the feedback. It’s no surprise to me that 65% of you are missing receiving Holy Communion but what did surprise me was the willingness of many of you to move to a different regular service to allow social distancing to take place. 19 people from the 9.30am service at St Peter’s said they would attend either the 11.15am service at All Saints’ or the Wednesday morning Eucharist instead. This is a very positive outcome as it will allow us to spread the congregations out to ensure safety. If you are one of the people who indicated you would attend the Wednesday morning service at All Saints, you can do so this week (5th) at 9.30am.
This weekly letter will continue over the summer with “guest” writers – something different from my weekly ramblings! I hope you have a good break if you are going away and I look forward to seeing some of you at our services in the coming weeks.
With every blessing,