Notices, 24 May 2020

Notices, 24 May 2020

There are various things that might be helpful to know during these extraordinary days.

Jane WinterAscension Day service still available online

If you missed the Ascension Day service on Thursday, you can still watch it back online by visiting our YouTube channel. Since we could not be together in person this year, several Clergy and lay people instead participated in a pre-recorded service of prayer for Ascension Day, with Rev Jane Winter (pictured right), who works for our Diocese, as our guest speaker.

TKC LogoThy Kingdom Come taking place now

Between Ascension Day and Pentecost, many churches will be praying as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. It’s not too late to get started and take part.

To find out more about how you can take part, we’ve created a page on our website and we’d encourage you to take a look and find out more about how you can be involved.

Ladies’ Meal Zoom Call

In recent months and years, our Benefice has run both a Men’s Meal and a Ladies’ Meal for socialising and fellowship across the churches. The Ladies group have started meeting on Zoom each Friday for a drink and a chat to help break the boredom and support one another. If you would like to take part, please contact us using the form on this website and we’ll put you in touch with the organisers so you can be included to receive a Zoom invite and the password.

Encouragements from Malling Abbey

The Sisters of the Anglican Benedictine Community at St. Mary’s Abbey in West Malling have been busy lately offering encouragement to our local communities and letting us know more of their life. They have recorded a video, published on YouTube, which is very much worth 20 minutes of your time to watch. You might want to make a note and watch it later when you have some time.

In the video they reflect on their calling and the joys and difficulties of cloistered life. It’s both poignant and beautiful and leaves the wider church with an interesting challenge to consider in the future.

The Nuns have also been busy participating in building local community. You may have seen the display in the window at West Malling Flowers with lots of messages and thanks.

With less traffic about, more people are hearing the bells of the Abbey when the Nuns pray. Conscious that many in West Malling may not know the meaning of the bells, the Sisters have contributed a Haiku to the window in the flower shop.

It reads

Nine strokes: the nuns’ bell
sounds across the air, lifting
minds and hearts to prayer.

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.

We now have approximately 150 volunteers in West Malling and about 70 in Offham and, so far, we are supporting around 80 people across the two communities with a variety of requests for help.

If you are fit and healthy and under 70 and are willing to support neighbours with picking up groceries or prescriptions, or running errands to the Post Office or similar, or you can help with befriending and speaking with people on the phone who otherwise live alone, please let us know.

Similarly, if you need help because you are elderly or vulnerable in other ways, or unwell, or needing to self-isolate and not leave the house at all, please let us know and we will fix you up with some people who live near you, who we have vouched for, and who have been given some basic training to help.

To sign-up to help or ask for help, please click the respective button below to find out more about the West Malling Volunteers if you live in West Malling. Or, if you live in Offham, click the button to sign-up to the Offham Community Network.

David’s day off

For the duration of the lockdown, David has decided to move his day off each week to Saturday. Without weekend commitments because of the lockdown and to help support family life, Saturdays will work better as a day off for now.

David’s annual leave taking place at present

Although David did not take his planned leave after Easter, he is taking the May half-term as a week of annual leave, as originally planned. Including his usual day off, he will be unavailable until this coming Friday, May the 29th.

Despite what it says above about his day off, he will be working on Saturday the 30th of May in the coming week to ensure all is ready for the Sunday’s online worship.

Amy Rutland writes about Fields of Life

Many people in St Mary’s congregation will know Amy Rutland. Both our churches will also remember the trip that Amy and other members of St Mary’s and St Michael’s undertook with Fields of Life last year to find out more about their work in Uganda. Amy has recently written a piece for the Fields of Life website about the situation in Uganda during this pandemic. She encourages us to think globally and act with compassion for those in other parts of the world where the impact of coronavirus is compounded by the lack of resources or economic resilience. Please do visit the site and consider whether you could offer any support.

Notices, 17 May 2020

Notices, 17 May 2020

There are various things that might be helpful to know during these extraordinary days.

Jane WinterAscension Day service online
(and from around the Deanery)

Ascension Day this year is Thursday the 21st of May. In usual circumstances, Malling Deanery likes to host a ‘Deanery Service’ with one Ascension Day celebration in which all of the 24 parishes of our local area can gather together to be as one. This year, St Mary’s was supposed to be the host with Rev Jane Winter (pictured right), Rochester Diocese’s Facilitator for Formation, Learning and Discipleship having agreed to preach.

Since we cannot be together in person this year, several Clergy and lay people are instead participating in a pre-recorded service of prayer for Ascension Day, and Rev Jane has kindly recorded a sermon for us.

The whole thing will be posted on YouTube as one service and available from all our local parish church websites as well.

Please do tune in this coming Thursday to mark Ascension Day, and also to mark the start of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ season of prayer; beginning to countdown towards Pentecost on the 31st of May.

TKC LogoThy Kingdom Come, 21st May to 31st May

Between Ascension Day and Pentecost, many churches will be praying as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. Rev David included an advert for this campaign in his online sermon today. To find out more about how you can take part, we’ve created a page on our website and we’d encourage you to take a look and find out more about how you can be involved.

Sunday School Quiz & Scavenger Hunt

Bethya, accompanied by her mum, is going to run a special Sunday School quiz and scavenger hunt for Offham and West Malling, today (Sunday the 17th of May) at 3.00 p.m. on Zoom.

Parents, if your children are interested in taking part, please contact us using the form on this website. We’ll then send you a Zoom invite and password.

While St Mary’s and St Michael’s have instituted special online safeguarding arrangements for our children while the lockdown is in effect, we would nonetheless advise that children take part in the quiz and scavenger hunt under your own parental supervision.

Ladies’ Meal Zoom Call

In recent months and years, our Benefice has run both a Men’s Meal and a Ladies’ Meal for socialising and fellowship across the churches. The Ladies group have started meeting on Zoom each Friday for a drink and a chat to help break the boredom and support one another. If you would like to take part, please contact us using the form on this website and we’ll put you in touch with the organisers so you can be included to receive a Zoom invite and the password.

Christian Aid week

If we were living in more normal times, this week in May would have been Christian Aid Week and St Mary’s and St Michael’s would have been out collecting to support this fantastic charity. Can we encourage you to visit the Christian Aid website today and consider making a donation to support their vital work world-wide?

Christian Aid always does a fantastic job seeking to create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. That challenge will only become greater when many poorer, developing countries are now starting to see infections from coronavirus. With charity shops closed, fundraising difficult and the Christian Aid Week impacted, many of their usual sources of income have also dried up. Please do help if you can.

Encouragements from Malling Abbey

The Sisters of the Anglican Benedictine Community at St. Mary’s Abbey in West Malling have been busy lately offering encouragement to our local communities and letting us know more of their life. They have recorded a video, published on YouTube, which is very much worth 20 minutes of your time to watch. You might want to make a note and watch it later when you have some time.

In the video they reflect on their calling and the joys and difficulties of cloistered life. It’s both poignant and beautiful and leaves the wider church with an interesting challenge to consider in the future.

The Nuns have also been busy participating in building local community. You may have seen the display in the window at West Malling Flowers with lots of messages and thanks.

With less traffic about, more people are hearing the bells of the Abbey when the Nuns pray. Conscious that many in West Malling may not know the meaning of the bells, the Sisters have contributed a Haiku to the window in the flower shop.

It reads

Nine strokes: the nuns’ bell
sounds across the air, lifting
minds and hearts to prayer.

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.

We now have approximately 150 volunteers in West Malling and about 70 in Offham and, so far, we are supporting around 80 people across the two communities with a variety of requests for help.

If you are fit and healthy and under 70 and are willing to support neighbours with picking up groceries or prescriptions, or running errands to the Post Office or similar, or you can help with befriending and speaking with people on the phone who otherwise live alone, please let us know.

Similarly, if you need help because you are elderly or vulnerable in other ways, or unwell, or needing to self-isolate and not leave the house at all, please let us know and we will fix you up with some people who live near you, who we have vouched for, and who have been given some basic training to help.

To sign-up to help or ask for help, please click the respective button below to find out more about the West Malling Volunteers if you live in West Malling. Or, if you live in Offham, click the button to sign-up to the Offham Community Network.

David’s day off

For the duration of the lockdown, David has decided to move his day off each week to Saturday. Without weekend commitments because of the lockdown and to help support family life, Saturdays will work better as a day off for now.

David’s annual leave

Although David did not take his planned leave after Easter, he does intend to take the May half-term as a week of annual leave as originally planned. Including his usual day off, he will be unavailable from Friday May 22nd to Friday May 29th inclusive.

Online worship will be provided in his absence as usual on the 24th of May and cover will be organised for funerals, other pastoral situations and any emergencies while he takes a break with his family.

Despite what it says above about his day off, he will be working on Saturday the 30th of May to ensure all is ready for the Sunday.

Daniel and Sarah in Brazil

Our CMS mission partners Daniel & Sarah Brito Medeiros have very kindly recorded our Bible reading for us this week. If you take part in Online Worship, you’ll be able to see them and hear from them and the situation in Brazil right now. However, since they’ve taken part with us and may be on your mind, we thought you might like a reminder of how you can find out more about their ministry and, should you wish to make a donation, to give to their work. St Mary’s and St Michael’s support them collectively as churches, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an individual gift if you wish. Find out more about them and their work and how to give on the CMS website here.

Thy Kingdom Come 2020


Between Ascension Day (May 21st) and the Day of Pentecost (May 31st), the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling all churches and Christians to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and specifically be praying for our friends and family to find new faith and hope in Jesus.

Since its start in May 2016, Thy Kingdom Come has grown from a dream of possibility into a movement. In 2019 Christians from 172 countries took part, praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ.

The basic challenge is to think of five people. They might be family members, friends or neighbours and commit to praying for those five people each day between Ascension and Pentecost. Pray that they draw closer to God and find fresh faith and hope in Jesus.

While the Coronavirus lockdown inevitably means Thy Kingdom Come will look different this year, while so many people are on lockdown we have a great opportunity to join in and little excuse to not take part!

There are all sorts of ways to pray and you can browse lots of ideas on the TKC website. However, here in West Malling and Offham, we are focussing on these three:

The Novena

A novena (from Latin: novem, “nine”) is an ancient tradition of devotional praying in Christianity consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days. That idea has been adapted into a beautifully illustrated booklet of prayers. You start on the Friday (the day after Ascension Day) and follow the booklet each day until Pentecost. The booklet is available to download from the TKC website as a free PDF to read on your computer, tablet or phone.

Morning & Evening Prayer

As you may know, Rev David is praying every morning at St Michael’s at 09:05 and every evening at St Mary’s at 17:05. During the period of Thy Kingdom Come, he’ll be using a special version of those prayers. You can download a booklet so you can follow along from home and pray with him using the liturgy. The booklet is also available to buy if you want a copy in your hands (see the link for details).

If you already have a copy of Common Worship: Daily Prayer, it’s the section on page 278 and following and you can follow along from there too.

For families: the Digital Family Prayer Adventure

Families (and the young at heart) can enjoy an ‘Augmented Reality’ app for your phone. You point your phone at a special map you can print off and then the map comes alive with games and activities to lead you into prayer. The map needs to be downloaded and printed out and the app downloaded onto your phone. All the instructions are on their website here and there’s a short promotional video below. We would love to hear how you get on with this new technology!

Want to try something else?

There are loads of ideas on the Thy Kingdom Come website. If none of these appeal, have a browse on the TKC website and see if there’s a way to pray that appeals to you. The important thing is simply to pray for those five people, family members or friends or neighbours or colleagues, and ask God’s blessing and for them to find faith in Christ.

Concerning Coronavirus and Public Worship III

 

18 March 2020

Dear Worshipper

Further update regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Public Worship

I am writing to let you know that, as of yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have taken the difficult and extraordinary decision to suspend the Church of England’s usual pattern of Sunday services, mid-week gatherings and all other regular church activities until further notice.

I have also received reports from a couple of local households that the virus may be present already amongst some people who regularly attend our two churches. There are possible symptoms locally but no confirmation that it is COVID-19 because those people have not been tested.

Clearly, the decision to suspend activity in all parishes is not a decision to be taken lightly and it does not mean the Church of England has shut up shop. As the challenge of Coronavirus (COVID-19) grips the whole world, and as the British Government asks every individual and every organisation to rethink its life, the Archbishops are now asking the Church of England in all its parishes, chaplaincies and ministries to serve the people of England in a new way.

Here in our Benefice, several things will be happening with immediate effect.

  1. Both churches will remain open during daylight hours for anyone to visit and offer their own private prayers. Please observe all current hygiene recommendations.
  2. At 9.05 a.m. in Offham and 5.05 p.m. in West Malling I will be in church, I will ring the bell to symbolically let the Parish know I am praying and then say Common Worship Daily Prayer. Please don’t attend. However you may want to join in with me by saying the offices from home at the same time. Daily Prayer is available online from the Church of England website, or a copy of the book can be purchased online. You don’t have to join in every day, or twice a day. Join in when you can.
  3. I am preparing resources to feed your faith and spiritual life while at home. I am also preparing a Booklet especially for those who have been told to stay in self-isolation. Each Sunday, I will publish material on this website. I will provide written prayers, notices, a recorded sermon from me, and links to hymns to sing.
  4. We will also be taking steps to link people pastorally together. In particular I want to make sure those who are more elderly or vulnerable have support from someone younger amongst the church community who may be willing to offer help with shopping, picking up prescriptions, phone contact, encouragement and friendship. Even if we’re in isolation, we don’t need to allow anyone to feel isolated.
    If you are under 70 years of age and could volunteer to help others, let me know or keep an eye on the website for how to sign-up to help. Likewise, if you are over 70, or if your immune system is compromised and you’ve been told to self-isolate, or you are unwell already, please let me know or use the website to let me know so that we can offer you assistance and help.
  5. Finally, in coming days, some of the ‘machinery’ of our parish’s life will need to continue. I will need to work on a plan with the Churchwardens and our PCCs to make sure we can continue in ministry and mission, decision-making, attending to the fabric of our buildings, and managing parish finances. Provided you still have an income in this extraordinary global situation and you have the means to do so, I would strongly encourage you to continue your giving to your parish church. If our churches see a sudden drop in income, it does present a significant risk in the medium to long-term. If you don’t already give by Standing Order, I would ask you to seriously consider setting up a regular gift with your bank. Even if you don’t want to leave it in place long-term, doing so while this situation continues would really help while we are all unable to put anything into the collection Sunday by Sunday.
  6. On the other side of that coin, can I also ask that if you are in financial difficulty as a result of the Coronavirus situation, please do let me know in confidence. We would like to help you as much as possible. There are places I can turn for help and I suspect our Churches Together Foodbank and our vestry charity Relief in Need may need to be very active in the days to come.

Theologically-speaking, the Church is the Body of Christ and that is true whether we are gathered together on a Sunday or dispersed in our daily life. Regardless of these times, we continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken world. For a while, being Christian and being Church together will simply look and feel different. We have a calling now to private prayer and to humbly serve those in. I would encourage you to play your full part in the days, weeks and months to come.

This will most likely be the last Pastoral Letter for a while since the situation is now clear and most likely won’t change until such time as we are given permission to worship together again. Perhaps, with such freedom taken from us from a while, we will gain a new appreciation for the blessing of our amazing buildings, and the blessing we find when we gather as a community to praise God and pray. What a day that will be when we can sing in worship together once again!

Please do keep in touch. Let’s keep doing community together and being church together. Pick up the phone, send an email, use the website, Facebook or Twitter, get creative where you can. Whether we are unwell or not, vulnerable or not, I suspect we will all need one another, let alone the Lord’s everlasting grace and love, in the days that lie ahead.

Please be assured of my prayers for you. Please pray for me too.

Yours in Christ

Rev David Green
Vicar

Concerning Coronavirus and Public Worship II

13 March 2020

Dear Worshipper

Update regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Public Worship

I am writing with a further update and instructions concerning our activities at St Mary’s in West Malling and St Michael’s in Offham given the current public health concerns.

Firstly in regard to our local communications, what has become very clear is that this is a fast-moving and fluid situation and sending letters is a relatively slow way in which to try and communicate with everyone, even if it does ensure everyone gets the information. Therefore, while I will continue to write if there are major changes in guidance, I would ask you to keep an eye on the church website for updates. If you do not have any Internet access, please phone me so I can add you to a list of people I know I need to communicate with in other ways.

The Church of England has now issued further advice to churches to both replace (in some cases) or supplement all that I shared with you before. The key new information is:

  • Do not attend church if you are unwell or asked to self-isolate.
    Please phone me if this is the case so that I am aware and together we can make suitable arrangements for your inclusion and pastoral care.
  • The administration of the Chalice at Holy Communion is suspended.
    Holy Communion will be offered in one kind only (the bread) and the Priest alone is to receive the wine.
  • Everyone should stand at the Communion Rail.
    Please do not kneel at the rail or touch the rail with your hands.
  • Shaking hands, or other direct physical contact is suspended.
    During the Peace, simply greet those in your immediate vicinity with a smile and the words “Peace be with you”. Don’t move around the church to greet others.
  • Priestly blessings or prayers with the laying on of hands are suspended.
    Prayers will be given in such circumstances without physical touch.
  • Refreshments are suspended.
    There will be no tea and coffee after services until further notice.
  • Passing around Collection Plates or Bags is suspended.
    There will be a collection plate at the back of church as you enter. Please place your offering in the plate as you come in (or if you don’t already do so, take this as an opportunity to start giving by standing order instead). There is an important side point here in that I would ask that you do make sure you continue to give, as best as you’re able and within your means. Our churches cannot easily withstand a massive drop in giving if people are not in church and therefore are not making any financial contribution.
  • Use of the Chasuble is suspended and other robes are to be regularly cleaned.
    Because I lack confidence that our historic and somewhat elderly Chasubles and Stoles would survive regular deep cleans, the only other option is not to use them. Clergy will be responsible for regular washing of their own cassock albs, cassocks, surplices, stoles and preaching scarves (as is always the case anyway).

Where it does not contradict what is written here, all of the previous advice I passed on to you still applies. The most key bit of advice remains that the best way of protecting everyone from the spread of a virus is for everyone to use universal good hygiene, – this means everyone, all the time, effectively disrupting the virus.

  • Catch it – sneeze into a tissue.
  • Bin it – bin the tissue.
  • Kill it – wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands.

Could church services and other church events be cancelled?

At this time there is no guidance to do that. Parishes have been asked to prepare a contingency plan should government advice change. I am now preparing that plan with our Churchwardens, other Clergy and Lay Ministers and PCC. Everything I said before about the benefits of meeting still applies and it is in times of adversity, that our community strength gives testimony to our faith in Christ, provides encouragement to all, and supports the weak, the vulnerable and the isolated. If the Government does ban public gatherings, the contingency plan will cover what happens next but, amongst other things, I intend to try and use our website to try and provide worship, prayer and a sermon each week for you to engage with from home.

Pastoral Visiting

Church of England guidance is now that those who are told to self isolate and/or are unwell, cannot receive pastoral visits. Instructions are for Clergy to do pastoral care over the phone in such circumstances. When I am visiting others who have decided not to attend church as a precaution, other ministers and I will continue to observe all sensible precautions in personal hygiene myself before and after such visits. Of course, if I or other Ministers get unwell, our contingency plan will need to cover that eventuality as well.

Keep talking!

It’s obviously vital that we keep a good flow of communication. Keep an eye on the website. I will write when appropriate. If you are one of our older members and decide to stop attending for a while, please let me know you’re doing that so we can support you. If your immune system is compromised for any reason, please let me know. If you become unwell and are told to self isolate, please let me know.

As we do each week, please join me in prayer for all those in authority, for our medical services and those on the front line, and for those who are unwell and their families.

Yours in Christ

Rev David Green
Incumbent

Concerning Coronavirus and Public Worship

5 March 2020

Dear Worshipper

You will be aware of the media coverage of the recent spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease and our own Government’s recent announcements aimed to limit the spread in the UK and mitigate the risks to public health.

It is always important to keep things in balance and not to feed unnecessary fear. More people will die around the world this year because of influenza, while many people who get Coronavirus may not even realise they have it. There is a sense in which this is primarily a moral panic. However, on the other hand, as fragile beings, we tend to be better off over-interpreting rather than under-interpreting danger and the disease does appear to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Therefore it seems timely, to write to everyone on the Electoral Roll and to provide a reminder of best practice in public worship. This is not just to combat Coronavirus but to avoid the spread of any infection. I think it is also important to stress that we need not avoid divine worship out of fear of infection, even as we balance the needs of fellow worshippers who are may be physically vulnerable and who may need extra support.

The following guidance is widely accepted in the Church of England as best practice and was recently re-endorsed by the Bishop of Rochester for all parishes in this Diocese. I would ask everyone to be mindful of the following:

Advice for Holy Communion

Washing hands: Myself and other ordained Priests presiding at the Eucharist, those handling the Chalice and servers will continue to follow proper hand washing and hand sanitizing techniques prior to the start of the service. We also use hand sanitizers immediately before the Preparation of the Table and the Eucharistic Prayer. We always do this anyway, and will continue to do so during the current scare. Congregations are also asked to follow general public health advice concerning washing your hands. Rather than sing “Happy Birthday” twice as you wash your hands, say the Lord’s Prayer instead! It takes about the same amount of time and will be of more spiritual benefit to you.

Intincting is not ideal: Intinction (dipping wafer into wine) is often felt to be preferable if you do have a stinking cold or other illness since it avoids the Communicant placing their lips on the Chalice and is sometimes seen as a courtesy to your fellow worshippers. However, it can be counter-productive if, by dipping, your fingers go in the wine! Those with gluten intolerance for whom traces of gluten can be hazardous are also at greater risk when other communicants have dipped their communion wafer into the wine.

The answer is to receive Holy Communion in one kind: If you feel unwell or are concerned about sharing the Chalice, the solution is not to to intinct (dip) but to remember that Anglican teaching and theology agrees that it is “valid” to receive the Sacrament in one kind since to do so is to receive the Sacrament in its entirety. If you do not wish to drink from the Chalice, simply receive the consecrated bread alone.

The Peace: In welcoming and greeting each other in church and as we exchange the Peace we will often shake hands. By washing hands thoroughly and by using clean tissues we can help to reduce the risk of infection significantly. It is perfectly fine not to shake hands with others if you are concerned about a spread of germs and simply to greet one another with the words ‘Peace be with you’, a smile and a wave. I have also asked our Churchwardens to ensure there is handwash available at the rear of church.

Advice for Pastoral Visiting

It is possible that we see a rise in the number of requests for Pastoral Visits at home and it is really important not to avoid any of our brethren who are unwell and in need of our love and support. Some may be ill themselves and told to self-isolate. Others, particularly those who are elderly or physically vulnerable in some way, may do so as a precaution and wish to avoid attending on Sunday for a period of time.

I want to reassure anyone in such circumstances that I will be very happy to conduct such pastoral visits and/or to do Home Communion with you. I will, of course, observe all sensible precautions in personal hygiene myself before and after such visits.

However, I will also need to call on the help of those who have been trained to operate in Pastoral Ministry as well and I would ask for your understanding if you are visited by someone from the Church but don’t get to see the Vicar. Particularly at this time when I am without administrative support, a rise in requests for visits will need to be carefully managed and fitted around my other commitments.

A final word…

Whether we are talking about Coronavirus or any other infectious illness, there is a balance to be struck in how we engage with the church community we call home when we, or people around us, are sick. I would encourage those who are not vulnerable to infection and are not unwell not to make decisions about their attendance at public worship on the basis of fear or panic. The Scriptures exhort us not to neglect to meet together, but to encourage one another (Heb 10.25) and faced with the panic of our society, the apostle John reminds us that there is no fear in love and God’s love casts out fear.

Furthermore, our Christian community gathering on Sundays for divine worship can be a helpful bulwark against difficulties and should, therefore, be embraced rather than avoided. Gathering for worship enables us to support one another, spot those who are missing for pastoral follow-up, organise ourselves to support the sick, and to pray.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns about the contents of this letter, have questions about our practice within worship or wish to arrange for a home visit.

Yours in Christ

Rev David Green
Incumbent

Annual meetings 2020

Photo by idono from FreeImages

Between March and May, it is the time of year when our parishes host their Annual Meetings*, sometimes known as the APCM.

In line with Charity law, the churches report on the year previous and publish their financial accounts. In addition, various officers are elected to serve in the coming year.

If you attend worship at one of our churches, please do make this meeting a priority. Even if you can’t be present, do take the time to read the reports (provided on this website as downloads) so that you can review all that has taken place in the last year, see how we are doing financially and (hopefully) be encouraged by the many good things that have been happening.

In each of the churches, we are also looking for new people to join our Parochial Church Councils (or PCC). PCC is a great opportunity to serve the church and to be a key part of the decision-making processes for our community. If you want to be a part of the key discussions affecting our future life, help to manage our building and finances, and get stuck in to seeing things happen, we would love to have you involved. Please consider standing.

St Michael’s Offham host their APCM on the 15th of March. St Mary’s West Malling host their APCM on the 17th of May.

Annual Report downloads

  • St Mary’s, West Malling Annual Report 2020
    (including Church Activities separate report) – not yet published.

* – Technically an ‘Annual Parochial Church Meeting’ or APCM.

Remembrance 2019

A photo of the St Mary's war memorial, taken early morning 2011For each of our three communities, please find below details of the Remembrance Sunday services.

Offham, 10.00 a.m.

The Sunday service starts at the slightly later than usual time of 10.00 a.m. and will follow the pattern for Churches Together services of remembrance. Rev Jim Brown will be leading.

After the service, just before 11.00 a.m. we will make our way outside to the War Memorial for the Act of Remembrance and the two minutes silence.

The congregation will be invited to join the Minister outside the church at the War Memorial where the names of the dead will be read aloud and wreaths laid.

West Malling, 10.00 a.m.

The Sunday service at West Malling will be a simply service of Remembrance, led by Rev David Green. Following the service, the congregation will make its way outside to the War Memorial for the Act of Remembrance and to observe two minutes silence at 11 o’clock.

Kings Hill, 10.30 a.m.

A special joint service takes place at 10.30 at the Running Airman Memorial on Gibson Drive with use of the Italian Market for larger crowds. Uniformed organisations will parade from the Control Tower to the Memorial for the service. Rev Matt Ross of Kings Hill Christian Fellowship and Rev Mark Montgomery of the Church of England will be leading the service.

West Malling, 2.30 p.m.

The Civic Service for Remembrance Sunday will take place at 2.30 p.m. in the afternoon. A parade will make its way up the High Street from about 2pm onwards. Please note the High Street will be closed to traffic while the parade is going on.

This year we welcome Ven Julie Conalty, the Archdeacon of Tonbridge as our guest speaker. Rev David Green will also be on hand to lead the service alongside other ecumenical guests.

After the service, wreaths will be laid at the War Memorial while the uniformed organisations form up in the road. Once again, the High Street will be closed around 3.30 p.m. in order for this to take place.

More details are available in the Events section of this website.

 

 

Harvest 2019

A photo of produce from Harvest Festival 2012 at St Mary's, West MallingOctober means it is Harvest Festival season for West Malling and Offham.

All-Age services will be taking place at West Malling and Offham as we celebrate all of God’s goodness to us in the food we eat and all that the earth provides.

This page provides some brief details for those interested in joining us for the Harvest celebrations.

Services

  • Offham Harvest All-Age Service, St Michael’s Church
    Sunday 6 October, 9.15 a.m. till 10.15 a.m.
  • West Malling Harvest All-Age Service, St Mary’s Church
    Sunday 13 October, 10.00 a.m. till 11.00 a.m.

Offerings

As usual, everyone is very welcome to bring a donation of food as part of their act of thanksgiving. Dried and tinned goods with a ‘best before’ date a good way into the future are ideal, but all and any gifts are welcome. This year, the donations will be passed on in equal shares to Pilsdon at Malling, the Kenward Trust in Yalding, and the West Malling Churches’ Foodbank (based at Pilsdon). All do fantastic work amongst those in need of extra help.

 

 

Pages:1234»