Notices, 20 September 2020
Here are the latest notices and relevant information for the Benefice.
Services of Public Worship continue despite the new restrictions
Last week, the Government announced greater levels of restrictions on social gatherings with it being illegal to gather socially in groups of more than six from Monday the 14th of September.
It has since been clarified that the new regulations will not apply to public worship or individual prayer in church buildings. Neither do they apply to Christenings, Weddings or Funerals. Although within an act of worship, “households” are limited to a maximum of six people from that household present amongst the larger congregation.
As a result, we are continuing with our current plan of providing one church service in each parish on Sundays as well as the Wednesday service at St Mary’s, West Malling.
However, the new restrictions are also a salient reminder to everyone to be vigilant, to use face coverings, keep suitable physical distance in social situations, and wash our hands and sanitise regularly.
BCP service on Wednesdays update
Because of the recent change in Government restrictions on social activities and the rising number of Covid-19 cases nationally, we are going to keep the current plans in place for a bit longer and wait to see what happens before we make changes to the Wednesday service. There will continue to be a 9.30 service every Wednesday using the Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion service.
Harvest Festival 2020
Sunday 4 October – Offham
Sunday 11 October – West Malling
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Harvest will be a little different this year. In each of our two churches, our Flower Arrangers have kindly agreed to decorate the church for Harvest as usual. Then on the Harvest Festival Sunday in your church, you will be able to visit the church any time between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to enjoy the flowers and arrangements (think of it as a little bit like a flower festival). There will be also one or two (safe) activities for those who wish to give thanks to God and pray. There will also be a food collection. Dried goods (and anything with a long shelf life) are especially welcome, but those who grow things in their garden can also contribute home-grown offerings. As in previous years, we will give our food collections to Pilsdon (also hosts of our local foodbank) and the Kenward Trust in Yalding.
We need volunteers
To make this work, we need stewards for the Sunday to greet visitors, help them sanitise and sign-in for Track and Trace, but then also guide them to the activities. A sign-up sheet is at the back of church or you can contact us via the website to let us know you’d like to help.
St Mary’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Because of the lockdown in March, St Mary’s was unable to host its APCM and parishes have now been given until the 31st of October to complete their business and host the annual elections.
Having discussed the matter with the PCC, we are conscious that capacity in the building is greatly reduced and some people are still shielding and, in our nation, Coronavirus cases are on the rise. Therefore, we are looking to host the APCM online via a Zoom call.
However if, because of available technology, you would be excluded by that decision, please would you let Rev David know as soon as possible. If you are happy to give the technology a go but are not sure what to do, also please speak with Rev David.
The date, time and details of the APCM will be confirmed as soon as possible.
Ride and Stride thank you
Thank you to everyone who took part in Ride and Stride on Saturday the 12th of September. Thank you to those who rode or strode to raise money for our parishes and for Friends of Kent Churches and thank you to those volunteers who helped welcome and manage other riders and striders who came to visit our parishes.
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, organisers are staying alert when we can see cases rising and some restrictions being made more rigorous. We are continuing to run the networks for the time being as they have been run and we will have to wait and see whether the need rises. We are conscious of the risk of a second wave and want to be ready if that should occur.
Our churches are now open again for Public Worship
Our two churches are now open once again each week for Public Worship. However, it is not quite as simple as just throwing open the doors and welcoming everyone back. Because of two metre distancing rules, our capacity is severely restricted. We have had to create groups in which people can rotate their attendance in the building and take part in Online Worship on the Sundays when other groups are in church.
Therefore, it helps enormously if you inform us ahead of each Sunday whether you wish to come or not so that we can work out whether we have capacity for you. Please click the button below for the correct page for your church to find out more about the changes, what we need you to know and what we need you to do.
West Malling Worship at
David’s day off
Rev David’s day off this week is Saturday the 26th of September.