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 16th May 2021


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

Coronavirus Update

Both our churches continue to be open for services and for private prayer for those of you who feel comfortable coming back to church. However, at present we will continue to provide ‘Being Church at Home’ services for those of you who would rather not come to church just yet, 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.

For those of you coming to church please can I remind you of the need to maintain social distancing on the way in and out of church. With the better weather it is very tempting to stop and chat with people we have hardly seen for ages but please abide by social distancing guidance and also be conscious of the feelings of others who are still feeling nervous about meeting others.

Although the Prime Minister outlined on Monday how Covid restrictions in various sectors would be eased from May 17th, there is little detail yet about any possible alterations to places of worship guidance.

The Ministry team and the Churchwardens are constantly reviewing the situation so

keep an eye on the church website and on and for the latest information.

Portsmouth Cathedral will be open for visitors and tourists from May 17th, as well as those spending time in private prayer. Visitors will be able to use a new mobile app hosting new interactive experiences including augmented reality, virtual tours, and audio guides. The details are here.

Funeral of Fred Montague

Fred’s funeral was held in St John the Baptist Church on Friday 14th followed by a private cremation at Wessex Vale. Sadly, Covid-19 restrictions meant that attendance in church was limited to 30 people only but I know that many of you followed the service at home and that Juliet and her family are very much in our thoughts and prayers.

It is anticipated that there will be a service of thanksgiving for Fred’s life at a later date during which his ashes will be interred in the memorial garden. Dear Fred – may he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Dates for your diary: 


Given the ongoing Covid situation PCCs have been given the option to delay their APCM until June to faciliatae the ability to hold in person meetings. The proposed dates for the APCMs in the benefice are:

Sunday 4th July – St Nicholas, Wickham

Tuesday 20th July – St John the Baptist, Shedfield

Summer Lecture Series

Following the success of the Shedfield Lent Lectures which were delivered as Zoom Webinars it has been decided that the Wickham Summer Lecture series will also be delivered online.

The lectures will be held at 7pm on Fridays from 25th June to 16th July.  Booking for the lecture series will be available from 31st May.

Four specialists in their field will share they expertise in this unique far-ranging webinar series.

25thJune        Tracey Shepherd – Glass and Eye

2nd July           Lt Col (rtd) Jeremy Prescott – The Sinking of the Laconia

9th July            Jane Painter  – St Nicholas Church: the first 900 years

16th July          Prod Dave Goulson – Averting the Insect Apocalypse


Other News:

Thy Kingdom Come: Ascension Day to Pentecost, 13th May-23rd May – Light up the world with prayer.

This year’s TKC resources are focussed ‘on encouraging and refreshing Christians wear of the pandemic’ says the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell. Archbishop Stephen has created a prayer journal for use during TKC and free copies are available in church (or delivery to you at home) on Sunday. A variety of prayer and other resources for all age groups is available at

Christian Aid Week 10th – 16th May

As we come to the end of Christian Aid week there is still time to make a donation!  This year the iconic paper envelopes are not available but you can use their e-envelope to give to Christian Aid’s ‘Give Thanks’ campaign which provides humanitarian support including food, water and healthcare in areas where Covid-19 vaccine programmes aren’t yet widely available.

Thank You Day

A national ‘Thank You Day’ is being planned on Sunday 4th July to mark the end of this phase of the Covid pandemic and to say thank you to everyone who has helped us through it. It is being organised by Together, a coalition of many organisations, including the Church of England.

Bishop’s valedictory speech

Bishop Christopher this week made his final speech in the House of Lords, in which he referred to his farewell service in our cathedral and challenged the government about how they plan to ‘level up’ economic opportunities for the most deprived. He also regretted the absence of a plan for social care in the Queen’s speech, especially after the experiences of care homes during the pandemic, and was surprised to discover nothing to address the inequalities of the gig economy or those working on zero-hours contracts. Read more of what he said and download the whole speech here.

Worship in the Benefice – Services this Sunday:

We look forward to welcoming you to St John the Baptist, Shedfield at 10.00am. 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.

As usual you will also find a traditional Morning Prayer service on the church websites as well as Prayer During the Day for Easter Season.

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 national Church of England service continues to be available at 9am every Sunday. This week the service celebrates National Sports Sunday. The service will be led by James Lusted, Sports Chaplaincy UK Ambassador and includes a contribution  from Warren Evans, CEO of Sports Chaplaincy UK.

More information, a downloadable order of service and details of the recorded version can be found online at:

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


Sunday Morning Stories (BBC 1 Sunday 10.30am) A couple describe how they offered their home to a Syrian refugee who wanted to become a doctor.

Songs of Praise (BBC 1 Sunday 13.15) In Dementia Action Week YolanDa Brown meets a woman who is helping people with dementia to remain active.


Sunday Worship (Radio 4 8.10am) – The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane reflects on the ascension in a service from Lichfield Cathedral.

Choral Evensong (Radio 3 3pm) will be a repeat of this week’s service from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

Next Sunday’s service: 23rd May (Pentecost)

Assuming there is no change in the situation between now and then there will be a Morning Service at 10am in St Nicholas, Wickham.

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

Dates for your diary:

Given the ongoing Covid situation PCCs have been given the option to delay their APCM until June to faciliatae the ability to hold in person meetings. The proposed dates for the APCMs in the benefice are:

Sunday 4th July – St Nicholas, Wickham

Tuesday 20th July – St john the Baptist, Shedfield

With the assurance of our constant prayers for you all, from Jane, Ruth and Juliet

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Sunday after Ascension)

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.