Being Church at Home

From the Revd Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley

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

Sunday 7th March 2021

Greetings from the ministry team to everyone. Whether you come to church once a week, once in a while or once in a lifetime – welcome to the weekly eBulletin.

Coronavirus Update

Although under Government guidance  places of worship were allowed to be open during lockdown, the ministry team and churchwardens made the very difficult decision that St Nicholas, Wickham and St John the Baptist, Shedfield would close for private prayer during the week and for public worship on Sundays.

The ministry team and churchwardens have been keeping the situation under review in the light of national Church of England, Diocesan and Government guidance and the covid roadmap.

Given the reduction in the rates of coronavirus infections over the last few weeks we have decided that it is time to reopen our churches for those of you who feel comfortable coming back to church. We will continue to provide ‘Being Church at Home’ services for those of you who would rather not come to church just yet.

Our first services will be held on Sunday 14th March – Mothering Sunday!  Assuming there is no change in the situation between now and then we are planning to hold two services on Mothering Sunday.

  • At 9am there will be a service of Holy Communion at Shedfield
  • At 10:30am we will have Morning Service at Wickham 
  • Our bespoke Being Church at Home weekly services will continue along with this weekly eBulletin (which will contain details of the other services available on diocesan and national CofE online platforms). Printed copies of the eBulletin and weekly online services can be delivered to those unable to receive them online, just ask anyone who may be interested to get in touch with myself or Revd Jane.

We look forward to welcoming you at these services. Please remember to bring your face-coverings, to use the hand sanitiser and to follow the directions of the stewards so that we can come together to worship safely.

Unfortunately, given the continuing restrictions on meeting together we will sadly not be able to have the traditional daffodil bunches this year.

We are working on the plan of services for Holy Week and Easter and details of these services will be available next week.

The roadmap out of lockdown is a series of dates but this guidance carries no legal status at present. As we approach each date, official regulations will be drawn up and we will be monitoring these and guidance from the Church of England in order to make ongoing decisions about what we are, or are not, able to do at each stage. Full details of these will be available on the church websites and in this e-bulletin.

Current Government guidance can be found at:

Guidance can also be found on the Diocesan website

Appointment of the next Bishop of Portsmouth – Your help in selecting a new bishop

September 2010: the new Bishop of Portsmouth in our Cathedral

Following the announcement that Bishop Christopher will be retiring in April the process leading to the appointment of the next Bishop of Portsmouth is now underway, led at this stage by the diocesan Vacancy in See Committee.

The Vacancy in See Committee are still keen to hear from as wide a range of people from across our diocese with regard to our needs, and the skills we wish to see in the next Bishop of Portsmouth. To aid this process, the committee is asking people to respond to a set of questions. Please fill in the short survey here by noon on 10th March 2021.

You might also like to attend a public consultation event via Zoom at which you can advise the committee about the qualities you would like to see in the new Bishop of Portsmouth. Full details are here.

Revd Jane requests that you respond individually to the very straightforward survey detailed above, and also suggest to your friends and colleagues in the villages that it’s important that their invaluable community voice is also heard.

Lent 2021

Lent is very different this year but there are still opportunities to get involved.

Shedfield Lent Lectures 2021

Following the very well received Lent Lectures in 2019 and 2020 we decided to host this years’ lectures as Zoom webinars and the first two of these have been very well received.

If you want to attend you will need to the book in order to receive the link for the webinars but this is very straightforward and full details are on the website:

As these are webinars you don’t have to appear on the screen, only the main speakers will be seen!

This year the lectures are entitled ‘Perspectives on the Pandemic’ and include some high-profile speakers – one of the advantages of Zoom is that they don’t have to find the time to travel to Hampshire!

We have already enjoyed talks by the Rt Rev Dr Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford and our own Acting Archdeacon, Revd Canon Will Hughes. This week’s lecture will be given by Professor Maggie Rae, President of the Faculty of Public Health who will speak about ‘Covid 19: an unfair virus’

Future lectures are:

  • Mon 8 March, 7:30pm: Professor Maggie Rae, UK Faculty of Public Health: ‘Covid 19: – an unfair virus’. Details and booking here.
  • Mon 15 March, 7.30pm:The Very Rev Nick Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury: ‘Sacred Spaces’. Details and booking here.
  • Mon 22 March, 7:30pm:Dawn Champion, British Pilgrimage Trust: ‘Moving on: pilgrimage through the pandemic’. Details and booking here.

For further details, click here or email the Rev Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley here.

Also available ….

United Benefice of Shedfield and Wickham : Lent Course 2021

“Who do you say I am?”

The Easter story through the eyes of those who were there

Each session of this six-week course features a selection of Bible readings, reflections, poetry and art, inviting us to think and talk about one of the characters in the story.  Each has a different way of answering the question, “Who do you say I am?”

Revd Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley, creator of the course, says, “I’m conscious that the idea of a Lent course will generate very different feelings in people; some of you will relish the idea of getting together (even if it can only be on Zoom) to discuss the material, but I am aware that others will prefer just to think about this on their own.  This course will work for everyone.”

Revd Ruth and Revd Jane Isaac will be hosting an online Lent Group using Zoom on Wednesdays at 2.30 – 3.30pm from 24th February to 31st March.  We would love you to join us!  For the Zoom link please get in touch with Revd Ruth (contact details below).

The planned sessions are:

24th February “I don’t know this man!” : Peter
3rd March “I’m not sure” : Thomas
10th March “I’m scared of him” : Caiaphas
17th March “Why should I know him?” : Pilate
24th March “I don’t know how to love him” : Mary Magdalene
31st March “I know this man!” : Judas

Alternatively, you may wish to arrange your own Zoom Lent Group at a time that is more suitable time for you, or you might prefer to study the material on your own.  Do let Revd Ruth know if you would like to receive a copy of the course by email or a printed version.

Revd Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley

01329 280 905 

This Sunday’s services: online

This Sunday is the Third Sunday in Lent and in the Morning Service, prepared by Revd Ruth with a reflection by Revd Jane, we will be focussing on the Ten Commandments.

As usual you will also find a traditional morning prayer service on the church websites.

At a time when we are all being encouraged to ‘stay at home’ you may find that you have more time to pray during the week. If this is the case you may also want to have a look at the ‘Prayer During the Day for Lent’ which can be found on the Being Church at Home pages on the church websites.

Please be reassured that the Being Church at Home services can be accessed directly via the church websites as well as via the link you receive with this eBulletin.

What else is available this week?

In the Diocese:

Portsmouth Cathedral will be live streaming services as follows:

  • 8:00am – Holy Communion Book of Common Prayer
  • 11:00am – Sung Eucharist (with choir)
  • 5:30pm – Choral Evensong

Details of all these services can be found on the Cathedral website:

National Church:

A service to mark the Third Sunday of Lent will be held at 9am. The Service will be filmed in the Crypt Chapel in Lambeth Palace and the Revd Canon Chris Russell will have the theme ‘Overturning the Tables’. The service will be available on the Church of England youtube site: or their face book page:

Daily Hope – ‘church at the end of the phone’

The Church of England’s Daily Hope line, a free 24-hour national telephone line, offering music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services is  well worth recommending to those without internet access. The phone number is: 0800 804 8044

Lent Worship (BBC 1 Sunday 11.30am)

The Revd Kate Botley will introduce a service from All Saints, Hale Barns in Greater Manchester led by the Revd Clair Jaquiss.

Songs of Praise (BBC 1 Sunday 13.15)

In this weeks Songs of Praise Katherine Jenkins will be exploring the theme of personal prayer with young Christians living at a Christian prayer centre and hears how they incorporate different forms of prayer into their community life, and how they have experienced answered prayers.

To mark International Women’s Day, Katherine will also hear the remarkable story of two Christian sisters, Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, whose pioneering work led to the formation of the charity Save the Children, as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A Service of Celebration for Commonwealth Day (BBC 1 Sunday 5pm)

To mark Commonwealth Day, the Queen will give her annual message, recorded at Windsor Castle. Other members of the royal family will be filmed at the service in Westminster Abbey. The Dean of Westminster will lead prayers and blessings and the celebration will hear voices from around the world alongside music and readings.

Lent Talks – The Next Supper (Radio 4 Wed 8.45pm)

Theologian Dr Paula Gooder considers how the Last Supper has particular poignancy in the pandemic.

Next Sunday’s services:  Mothering Sunday

Assuming there is no change in the situation between now and then we will hold two services on Mothering Sunday.

  • At 9am there will be a service of Holy Communion at Shedfield
  • At 30am we will have Morning Service at Wickham

Please note the different timings of these services!

Our bespoke Being Church at Home weekly services will continue. Printed copies of the weekly online services can be delivered to those unable to receive them online, just ask anyone who may be interested to get in touch with myself or Revd Jane.

Please keep an eye on the website for any updates as the ministry team, churchwardens and PCCs will continue to monitoring the ongoing covid situation and arrangements may be subject to change.

With the assurance of our constant prayers for you all, from Ruth on behalf of the Benefice ministry team.

Third Sunday of Lent

Reading (1) Corinthians 1.18-25
Read by Edward

Reading (2) John 2.13-22
Read by Annabel

Prayer During the Day

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.