Notices, 12 July 2020
Here are the latest notices and relevant information for the Benefice.
Update on re-opening our church buildings
While the buildings are now ready for services, in line with current Government and Church of England guidance, there are still challenges in working out how we re-open, particularly when we know we cannot fit everyone into the building that we would normally expect to see on a Sunday.
Over the last ten days, Rev David has had meetings with our Churchwardens, the Lay Ministers and retired Clergy who help minister regularly in West Malling and Offham, and with our Housegroup leaders. Based on those discussions, he has put forward a plan which will be discussed by both PCCs on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Once the plan is discussed and (hopefully) agreed, we will begin to publicise how we intend to re-open and what you will need to do if you wish to attend offline church services. The online worship will continue alongside the offline services to try and cater to those who are shielding, those who feel a little anxious about returning to church, those who are happy to let others go first, and those who have to work or are otherwise unable to come.
As always, we will try to communicate regularly and often so you know what’s happening. The promised video showing ‘how to’ use the building and be present in worship is coming. It will be published when we have an agreed plan of action.
Further delay to Trio Parish Magazine
While Trio is mostly prepared and ready to go, we are holding on for its publication a little while longer until after PCC meetings have taken place this coming week and a plan is agreed for the re-opening. There’s obviously going to be a number of special arrangements in place for our church services going forward, and Trio is a great opportunity to try and communicate those changes to a wider audience. It’s also worth noting that there isn’t a Trio edition in August and so the next one will be out at the start of September. So we hope you will bear with us for now.
Trio will be distributed electronically, in line with current restrictions, via email and will be available to download from this website from around the 16th or 17th of July.
Domestic Violence has been a major issue during lockdown. For women who live in fear of such violence, being closed off from the world has the potential to only make things worse. Our local Women’s Refuge is running low on dry goods and toiletries and has put out an appeal for fresh supplies. Gail Crutchfield is happy to collect them from you and take them to the refuge. Please phone Gail at 01732 845187.
Opportunities for theological study
Our friends at St Augustine’s Theological College, based at West Malling Abbey, have released details of their Autumn programme. If the lockdown has given you more time for prayer and study of Scripture, you may be looking for something to take you further in your knowledge and understanding.
Of particular interest may be the “Introduction to Biblical Studies” taster module and the new “Theology for Disciples” course, which provides lay people with greater opportunities for learning and a consideration of their own calling. Finally “Changing Times” is a short, four week course of guided prayer and reflection on the changes that the lockdown has brought to our lives.
Many churches and parishes would love to have a fantastic theological college right on their doorstep. What a great resource for us to call on. Have a look at their website and see if anything might appeal to you.
Ladies’ Meal Zoom Call ends
The Ladies Meal Zoom Calls have now come to a conclusion. We will wait and see what’s possible with Ladies Meal and the Men’s Meal in coming months.
Volunteer Networks in West Malling and Offham
St Mary’s in West Malling and St Michael’s in Offham are working with the respective Parish Councils, local clubs, other churches, community groups, societies and agencies to provide a network of volunteers who want to help, and link them with people who need help during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In both communities, the organisers are considering next steps as the lockdown is eased and there are fewer people in need of help. More and more of those who had asked the volunteer network for help are now getting out and about more and managing their own affairs once again.
We are continuing to run the networks for the time being as they have been run. We are conscious of the risk of a second wave and want to be ready if that should occur. We will be reviewing the networks as Summer turns to Autumn to see if they are still needed or not.
David’s day off this week
Rev David’s day off this week will be Saturday the 18th of July.