Being Church at Home

From the Revd Jane Isaac 

Being Church Together in the United Benefice of St John the Baptist, Shedfield and St Nicholas, Wickham

Sunday 20th September 2020 

Greetings from the ministry team to everyone and – whether you’re joining us from home or come to church once a week, once in a while or once in a lifetime – welcome to Being Church Together.   

Bags of love from our Mothers’ Union members!

Inspired by a presentation given by Liverpool MU at last year’s national MU conference in Portsmouth and undeterred by all that Covid-19 restrictions put in the way of easy organisation, Shedfield and Wickham members created ‘bags of love’ for the parents and carers arriving at school on their children’s first day in Year R.  Containing a tea bag, chocolate bar, packet of tissues and specially written prayer, the cheery yellow bags also included a card suggesting making time for a cup of tea, a sweet treat, a little cry and a prayer when the children’s grown ups got home!  The bags were a great success: ‘Thank you so much,’ one mum emailed to Shedfield committee member Deborah Casper, ‘…it was such a kind and thoughtful thing to do.  This is my first child going to school so I really appreciated the support.’

Our photos show (l) posies and Bags of Love ready for Shedfield branch MU members to share with parents and carers of Year R children at St John the Baptist CofE Primary School in Waltham Chase and (r) Wickham MU members and headteacher Graham Cutter ready to greet Year R families arriving at Wickham CofE Primary School.

Opening times for private prayer

Back in June the restrictions on church opening were eased and incumbents were given the option of making churches available for private prayer.  Three months on, I’m delighted to be able to share the news that with the occasional exception for weddings, baptisms and funerals, for the time being both St John the Baptist, Shedfield and St Nicholas’, Wickham will be open for private prayer for the extended core time of 10.00am–5.00pm on Mondays–Saturdays and from 12.00pm–5.00pm on Sundays.

We’re all very aware that restrictions may be returning, so do please keep an eye on the church websites and noticeboards for any changes and remember that the wearing of facemasks is mandatory in church at all times.  To stay up to date with the latest diocesan Covid-19 advice and updates, go to the diocesan website coronavirus pages: portsmouth.anglican.org/coronavirus 

Annual Parochial Church Meetings

All being well, having been postponed since April, APCMs and the annual public meetings for the election of churchwardens should now be able to go ahead in October:

St Nicholas’ Church: 11.15am on Sunday 18th October

St John the Baptist Church: 11.15am on Sunday 25th October

It may be possible to access the meetings via Zoom: we await more information from the Diocese and will let you know more information as soon as possible.

Revd Ruth’s ordination

Thank you for your contributions towards a gift for Ruth to mark her ordination as priest on 2nd October (6.30pm in St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield).  There’s still time to make a donation – either in church on Sunday or by contacting Revd Jane, Adrian Jordan or Fred Crosskey.  Sadly, social distancing requirements mean that only the Bishop, the incumbent, Archdeacon and Ruth’s immediate family and friends will be in church, but we’ve recently had the great news that the service is to be livestreamed by the diocesan Communications team via the diocesan Facebook page, along with a downloadable copy of the order of service. We will share the link as soon as it’s available via this mailing and on the church websites.  As far as I can tell from the records, this will be the first ordination to be held at St John the Baptist Church in over 175 years!

Ruth will celebrate holy Communion for the first time in St Nicholas’, Wickham at the 10.00am service on Sunday 4th October and at St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield at 10.00am on Sunday 11th October.  We haven’t shared Sunday communion together as ministry team and church family since mid-March, so these will be truly special occasions for us all. Do include Ruth and the family in your prayers as she prepares for this significant moment in her ministry and her life in the parishes.

This Sunday worship online: Being Church at Home

This Sunday is the fifteenth after Trinity and Trinity 15 readings are used in today’s morning prayer service, prepared by Revd Ruth.  Our online Sunday morning service has been prepared this week by Ruth – and will be shared by those of us in church too.  ‘Harvest’ is the theme, at home and in church.

Public worship this Sunday, 20th September: Harvest

This week’s Sunday morning service will be at St Nicholas’, Wickham: 10.00am–10.45am (you will be able to come into church from 9.40am).  Hosted by the Wickham team on behalf of the benefice, congregation and friends from Shedfield and further afield are very welcome to Being Church at Church, which links with our online Sunday service for those at home.  A small ensemble of St Nicholas’ choir members will be singing that traditional harvest favourite, ‘We plough the fields and scatter’, along with a beautiful seasonal anthem by contemporary composer John Rutter, ‘Look at the world’.

On Sunday 27th September, the harvest focus continues at St John the Baptist, Shedfield at the 10.00am service.  Despite the very the challenging circumstances, our flower teams are planning some special autumnal arrangements for both churches: this is wonderful news and we are very grateful.

Harvest festival contributions of tinned and dried goods for local foodbanks are more than ever welcome this year.  Baskets will be available in both church porches from next Sunday, 20th September.

And finally…

Poster spotted outside a ‘Covid-19 secure’ church last week: ’Jesus cleans the heart.  We disinfect the pew’!  Keep safe, everyone.

With love and the assurance of our constant prayers for you all, from Jane on behalf of all the benefice ministry team 

Spiritual Communion

A service of Spiritual Communion for use during the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has made it necessary for the Church of England to suspend all public acts of worship. Using the national Church of England’s recommended liturgy as its guide, the ministry team has prepared this short act of Spiritual Communion for you to use at home.