Weekly Pastoral Letter 21st June 2020
St Andrew's Pastoral Letter
Second Sunday after TRINITY Pastoral Letter
PASTORAL LETTER FOR ST ANDREW’S CHURCH BURNHAM ON SEA
This week there will be a Youtube services for Sunday.
We will have a service available to you via, post, church website, email and YouTube & Facebook and the website – A Church Near You.(ACNY) It would be wonderful (where possible) to all join in this occasion on Sunday at 10.0a.m. as an act of solidarity and prayer. The YouTube service should be available on Saturday evening.
In a ‘Normal’ world our Curate – Margaret would have been going off on her pre-ordination retreat this coming week.
She would have been celebrating the Eucharist for the first time as a priest on next sunday
However, the ordinations have been posponed. The Bishops are seeking to make plans for an ordination around Michaelmas (end of September). Please pray for Margaret at this time and for her fellow curates.
ST ANDREW’S OPEN FOR INDIVIDUAL PRAYER – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
St Andrew’s Church open – Monday, Wednesday & Friday at 10a.m. to Noon
You may have read in the media that the government has given permission for churches to be open for the limited use of private prayer. Private prayer – is one person saying their own prayers – it is NOT public worship and no one will be leading prayers for others.
This has PCC agreement, and subject to the government advice not changing and finally subject to all the conditions of a risk assessment based on the Church of England template for Risk assessment – the church may open in a limited way.
Those who wish to pray will be asked to sanitize their hands as they enter and to maintain social distancing. There will be a One - Way system in place so that social distancing is not compromised. Soft furnishings and hassocks have been removed in readiness.
With one eye to the future
When we are given permission to open out church for public worship we will do so observing the government advice on social distancing. We will also be following the Archbishops C19 Task force guide lines. It is possible that we may receive permission from the beginning of July 5th – that date is speculative at the moment. I will inform you of when we can open for public worship via the ministry of Sharon, Tony , Margaret, John and myself with an email – or letter through the post. This will contain practical guidance on our worship – and what you can expect from the Church to remain safe.
Not everyone will be able to recommence attending church if you are in the extremely vulnerable group identified by the government guidelines given by the NHS. Some of you will choose not to attend even if you are not in this group – and that is understood.
Each person must follow their own judgement in this matter – and we must all respect each others decisions. The YouTube services will continue even after public worship is permitted and copies of this email and a postal version will continue to be sent out.
However, to assist with our own planning for public worship at St Andrew’s it would be helpful to gauge the numbers interested in attending public worship – we can then create social distancing measures accordingly.
So, the ministry team will be asking you this simple question in this coming week
Question: When public worship is permitted at St Andrew’s – will you be attending at 8am or 10a.m. or will you defer public worship attendance for the time being?
Please ponder your answer in readiness to discuss this question.
Thursday Prayer at Ten" As we cannot meet for Holy Communion and fellowship on Thursdays let us pray "together but apart" in the presence of Christ whilst remaining in our own homes.
You are invited to devote 15 minutes, starting at 10 a.m. with the "Our Father" then praying for the weeks cause and concluding at 10.15 by saying the "Grace". This is NOT on the internet it is simply committing to that time each week by praying "together whilst apart".
Here is the prayer for Thursday prayer: 25th June Armed Forces Day, We remember them especially today..
“Almighty God, in you alone we find safety and peace. We commend to your gracious keeping all the men and women who serve in the Royal Navy, the Army, the Air Force and the reserve forces, who face danger and put their lives at risk so that others might live in safety, and offer much needed expertise in times of national crisis.”
FOODBANK – Thank you for the donations left at the Vicarage. The Foodbank is receiving a huge number of requests for help while people wait for grants and benefits to come through. If, you can support the foodbank donations can be dropped off in Tesco or at the Vicarage.
Tinned Potatoes and small bags of sugar are a particular need at the moment Thank You.
INTERCESSION TOPICS FOR THE WEEK
Monday Burnham on Sea Hospital and Medical Centres
Tuesday Burnham & Highbridge Foodbank – its ongoing work
Wednesday Those working in our care homes in Burnham
Thursday Our Town Council
Friday Our schools - limited re-opening
Saturday Margaret and all those who were to have been ordained on this day.
Sunday For the CHURCH – Those who would normally have been ordained Deacon
A prayer for all those affected by coronavirus
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND – There is now a FREEPHONE number with a daily reflection – so if you would like to hear a recorded message by Archbishop Justin Welby – ring 0800 804 8044
The Parish pump –
This is a section to share any news across the congregation. I welcome any contributions which need to be with me by 12 Noon on Tuesday in the week leading up to the Sunday – so that postal copies can be sent out in time
Belated Birthday greetings to members of our congregation this past week
In an effort to normalise life a little we are planning to create a parish magazine for August – available in the last week of July. Articles and news to Revd Richard Sigrist by July 20th please.
It would be good to have some stories of life in lockdown Burnham.
Mr Neil Biddiscombe – Neil is in the second year of Ministry training through the Salisbury course that Sharon, Paul and Margaret did. Neil lives in Burnham and usually attends St John’s Church in Highbridge He is married to Jane who is a nurse at Weston Hospital. As part of his course Neil has to do a ‘placement’ in his home parish – and so he will be with us – via Zoom, the phone and other means for June. He may phone you – I have pointed out PCC members and some other office holders in the church who he might like to talk with.
Neil writes “Conversations with the parishioners would include some introductory questions like how long they have been Christians, what brought them to faith, why they worship at St Andrews before some specific questions such as:
- What does being a Christian mean to you?
- If I asked you to tell me what the Good News is, what would you say?
- Where do you see God at work in Burnham on Sea (God, not the church!)
- What do you think of the Church of England’s response to Coronavirus?
- Your thoughts on the St Andrews church building being closed and the affect that has had on BoS during the last 2 months
- Whether not having communion has affected you?
- How you are worshipping, praying at the moment”
From the Ministry team – John, Tony, Sharon, Margaret & Graham