Notices, 2 August 2020
Here are the latest notices and relevant information for the Benefice.
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
The funeral of Stewart Betts
The funeral of Stewart Betts will take place on Monday the 3rd of August at 11.30 a.m. in the churchyard at St Michael’s, Offham. Unfortunately, due to Government guidance during the pandemic, attendance at the graveside burial is limited strictly to Stewart’s family.
However, friends may like to note that the funeral cortège will leave “The Cherry Shop” near Aldon Lane at 10.00 a.m. and make its way slowly past Offham Village Green, Stewart’s home on Teston Road and past the Cricket Club on Church Road on the way to church. Community members are warmly invited to line the route to pay their respects. A Guard of Honour from the Cricket Club will take place on Church Road.
At approximately 10.30 a.m. Rev David Green will receive the coffin into St Michael’s and keep vigil for the hour prior to the service. Because of public health restrictions, St Michael’s will not be open to the public during this hour. The funeral will then take place at 11.30 a.m.
St Michael’s regulars and friends may also like to note that, later the same day, a short service of thanksgiving and remembrance will take place in the Churchyard at 4.00 p.m. to which farm staff, St Michael’s friends and the local community is welcome. Those attending should be advised that the whole service will take place in the open air and there is limited seating available for those who are disabled or in need of assistance.
Summer Trio Parish Magazine is out now
The Summer edition of Trio is now available. It has been circulated via email to everyone on the Electoral Roll and to all those who usually receive it. It is also available from this website as a download.
There won’t be an edition of Trio in August and so the next edition will be published for the start of September.
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.
Updates and events at St Augustine’s Theological College
There are two new updates from our friends at St Augustine’s Theological College, based at West Malling Abbey.
Last year, St Augustine’s established a bursary fund in the name of their treasurer, John Tattersall, who was retiring after many years of service. The Tattersall fund provides financial help to lay people who wish to study theology but do not have the resources to pay for tuition or books (more details here – PDF file). The beneficiaries include folk who believe that theology will enrich their discipleship in the business of daily life, as well as those embarking on vocational discernment.
Over the last months, they’ve had significant calls on the fund and so they have undertaken some fundraising to maintain this important resource. The climax to the campaign, which it is hoped will raise the final £3,000 of the £10,000 goal, is the ‘Butterflies and Bursaries’ walk. A group of people will stroll from Wye Church to Chartham Village Hall in time for a late lunch (20km). For those of a more genteel stamina, there is a optional start from Chilham Rail Station, which reduces the walk to 8 km. For more information see the website.
Secondly, the College’s online ‘lockdown’ retreats have proved immensely popular, with around a thousand participants thus far. On the 26th July, we begin the final part of our trilogy, ‘Windows of Hope‘, during which three of our associate tutors reflect on how the Christian hope inspires us to look forward ‘after lockdown’.
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
With a wedding taking place next Saturday, Rev David’s day off this week will be Friday the 7th of August. Those who like to know these things may also wish to note that, due to the re-opening of church at the end of July and beginning of August, David has put back his summer leave a second time and will now be taking some time out between August 17th and 31st inclusive.