Positive Covid result – a letter from Rev David

28 December 2021

Dear Friends

Christmas greetings! I hops this email finds you well.

I am writing to let you know that I have tested positive for Covid-19. Yesterday I informed the Churchwardens and our fellow Ministers that I had tested positive that day for Covid-19 on a lateral flow test. Unfortunately this result has now been confirmed by a PCR test and so there’s a need to pass that information on to our wider community.

At present none of the other members of the family are testing positive and I feel fine. I’ve got a bit of a cold, a hoarse throat and I feel a bit run-down, but nothing too serious.

The reason I think it’s important to let everyone know is because the truth is that there is no way of really knowing at what point I became infected or, indeed, if I was infectious at some point over the Christmas period. From the 22nd onwards, I was involved in activities and services and ministry every day. Obviously I was presiding at the Eucharist on multiple occasions and distributing wafers (albeit masked and gloved) at services on the 24th and 25th and 26th. I also then took part in a family event in the afternoon of Boxing Day.

I was conducting daily Lateral Flow Device tests throughout and they all came back negative until the one I did yesterday (the 27th).

I think the likely culprit for my own infection is probably either the Christingle making on the 23rd or the family get-together on the 26th. Both were longer periods of time spent together with a number of adults and children.

As much as I think it’s important to be honest about it and let you know, I also want to reassure those of you who may be feeling anxious about having received Holy Communion at some point over Christmas. Any contact I have with people at Holy Communion is fleeting at best and we are taking all available precautions with gloves, masks, hand-gel etc. Given the precautions, it’s unlikely that anyone was close enough to me for a long enough period of time to catch Coronavirus from me.

But by sending this email today, I am hoping to achieve three things

  • Firstly, to make sure you’re aware so that you can be vigilant for your own health. I am sure you are doing this anyway but be on your guard for symptoms, and use Lateral Flow Devices;
  • To reassure anyone who may be anxious that the chances of an infection from me at Holy Communion are low. The amount of time spent near to me, and the precautions we are taking, make that unlikely.
  • To be clear about what happens for church in coming days.

There is quite a bit of confusion about how long I need to isolate for and to what extent congregations need to know. I don’t expect to hear from Track & Trace, given the volume of positive tests in the country at present and my previous experience of their levels of efficiency during less busy times. By the time we hear from them, it will probably be too late to be useful.

The long and short of it, however, is that I am on annual leave now anyway and by the time I am due to be leading services in church, my isolation period will be over. The plan to host the Joint Benefice service at St Mary’s in West Malling on Sunday the 2nd of January at 10 o’clock is unaffected.

If you have any concerns or queries, feel free to ask. Please do pray for me that this doesn’t become anything more serious, and please do look after yourself. Clearly there is a lot of it about!

Yours in Christ

Rev David Green
Incumbent, West Malling and Offham

Rev David to take a sabbatical in 2022

A photo of Rev David GreenThe Bishop of Tonbridge and the Diocese of Rochester have recently confirmed that our Vicar, Rev David Green, will be taking a Sabbatical between the 31st of January and the 1st of May in 2022.

A Sabbatical (or “Extended Ministerial Development Leave” to give its proper title) is a period of study leave defined as three calendar months away from the parish, in addition to the Vicar’s usual annual holiday allocation. It is expected that the sabbatical includes either the Christmas or Easter period so that the Vicar is away for one of the major festivals in the Christian year.

This sustained period away from normal duties promotes professional development and personal enrichment and will normally consist of three elements – some element of learning through study and theological reflection, a retreat to set aside time to renew the Vicar’s faith and relationship with God, and then also rest. For those Vicars who have family like David, as part of their rest a family holiday is recommended.

Having been ordained ten years, David was technically due for his EMDL in 2019 and was making early plans to take the sabbatical in 2020 when the Coronavirus Pandemic hit. Having now marked ten years service in our parishes and thirteen years overall as an ordained minister, and after a very busy and unusual period of ministry during the Pandemic, and with a new Curate due to join David in the Summer of 2022, the Bishop, Churchwardens, our Parochial Church Councils and David have all agreed that this is now the right time for the Sabbatical to take place.

Will we be able to contact Rev David during the Sabbatical?

The short answer is no. You will not be able to phone him or email him or call upon him for pastoral care or ministerial duties during those three months. It is also not acceptable to contact his wife Kerry and ask her to relay messages to David.

He will not be taking services of any kind, undertaking pastoral care, leading meetings, doing school assemblies, attending school governor or charitable trustee meetings or conducting any work connected to his role as the Vicar of our parishes.

While he will be travelling for some of the time, it’s entirely possible that you may see him around West Malling or Offham. Please don’t feel you have to ignore him, but please don’t talk to him about church business. He is taking a break.

How will the churches be operating while Rev David is away?

Plans have been put in place to keep things running as normally as possible. Some of our local retired Ministers, our Lay Ministers and other occasional preachers will be supplemented by guest Clergy from the Diocese of Rochester to cover our Sunday services, including Holy Week and Easter.

In Offham, the 9.15 a.m. Sunday service will take place each week as normal. In West Malling, the 10 o’clock service will take place each week and the Wednesday 9.30 a.m. service will also take place weekly. The 8 o’clock service will unfortunately only be able to take place on the first Sunday of each month.

Our administrator, Amy Southby, will continue to provide a contact point for christenings, weddings and funerals and will help to run the administrative side of parish life in David’s absence. The Vicarage phone line will re-direct to Amy. David’s email will also be checked regularly (but not by him).

There are some things we are still trying to work out. For example, how we run the Online Worship is an open question and you’ll see elsewhere on our website that we are looking for people to help.

Who’s in charge?

The Churchwardens are in charge of the parishes during David’s absence with support from our Area Dean, the Rev Wil North, for certain legal tasks like approving headstones or the reading of Banns for Marriage.

What will David be doing?

David is currently putting the final touches to his plan but he will be taking a Retreat week, he’s organising a week’s holiday in Cornwall with his wife and children, and for his studies he plans to travel and do some research into the last 18 months of the Pandemic and the experience of Online Worship. Through visiting other churches and speaking with their Clergy, he hopes to reflect on what’s been good, what’s been lost, what might stick long-term and how the church has grown. He will also be thinking theologically about questions of absolution, benediction and consecration over the Internet.

What is the church’s role during the Sabbatical?

  • Pray for David and his family.
  • Respect his time away from the parishes by not disturbing him.
  • Support the Churchwardens and our other Ministers by getting involved in the life of the church. Offer to help with some of the tasks that David often does.
  • And in case you are wondering, If you run into the family at the supermarket, yes you are allowed to talk to them.

Advent & Christmas services 2021

This is the complete rundown of all the Advent and Christmas special events and services taking place in Offham and West Malling this year.

Mon 13 Dec, 7.30 pm
Carols in The King’s Arms, Offham
The King’s Arms Pub, Offham
The King’s Arms play host to an evening of carol singing with the odd glass of mulled wine in three to lubricate the vocal chords!

Christingle service at Offham

Offham Christingle (22 December)

Fri 17 Dec, 9.30 am
West Malling CEP School Christmas Service
St Mary’s, West Malling

Sun 19 Dec, 4.00 pm
Christingle service, Offham
St Michael’s, Offham
An afternoon candle-lit service for all the family with carols, a family-friendly talk from our Vicar and Christingles for all the children.

Sun 19 Dec, 6.00 pm
Carol service, West Malling

This service is also being live-streamed.
St Mary’s, West Malling
Readings and carols telling the Christmas story. Led by St Mary’s Choir, our new Choir Scholars, the Junior Choir Treblemakers and our Director of Music, Richard Hammond-Hall, come and be part of the congregation and join in the singing.

A photo of the choir from the Carol Service at Offham, 2012

Richard King and friends,
Offham Carol Service (17 December)

Tue 21 Dec, 8.00 pm
Carol service, Offham
St Michael’s, Offham
A candle-lit evening service of Christmas readings and carols with guest Richard King and friends leading a special guest choir to complement the congregation’s singing!

Fri 24 Dec, 3.30 pm
Christingle service with nativity

This service is also being live-streamed.
St Mary’s, West Malling
Candle-lit Crib service with a Nativity play from St Mary’s Sunday School and lots of carol singing. Christingles will be distributed at the end for children. Come early to avoid disappointment. If you miss out, you may like to come to the second service at 5 p.m (see below). Often attended by families with pre-school children but all ages are welcome.

Fri 24 Dec, 5.00 pm
Christingle service with nativity

St Mary’s, West Malling

A photo of the Nativity play from St Mary's, 2012

Christingle with Nativity, West Malling
(Christmas Eve)

A repeat of the 3.30 p.m. service. Candle-lit Crib service with a Nativity play from St Mary’s Sunday School and lots of carol singing. Christingles will be distributed at the end for children. Doors will not open until after 4.30 p.m. when the previous service concludes. Often attended by families with primary-age children but all ages are welcome.

Fri 24 Dec, 11.15 pm
Midnight Communion, West Malling
This service is also being live-streamed.
St Mary’s, West Malling
The first service of Christmas Day is a traditional Midnight Mass with Carols and Holy Communion.

Sat 25 Dec, 8.00 am
Holy Communion (BCP)

St Mary’s, West Malling
Traditional language, reflective and quiet Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion service.

Sat 25 Dec, 9.15 am
All-Age Communion service

St Michael’s, Offham
Child-friendly Eucharist service to celebrate Christmas Day. The children are encouraged to bring one of their presents to ‘show and tell’ as part of the service.

Sat 25 Dec, 10.00 am
All-Age Communion service

This service is also being live-streamed.
St Mary’s, West Malling
Child-friendly Eucharist service to celebrate Christmas Day. The children are encouraged to bring one of their presents to ‘show and tell’ as part of the service.

Sun 26 Dec, 10.00 am
Benefice Service for first Sunday after Christmas

St Michael’s, Offham
There is no 8 am or 10.00 am service at St Mary’s, West Malling on this Sunday. Instead, we come together as one congregation for a joint Benefice service at St Michael’s, Offham starting at 10 o’clock. Rev David Green will be leading.

Sun 2 Jan, 10.00 am
Benefice Service for second Sunday after Christmas

St Mary’s, West Malling
There is no 8.00 service at St Mary’s, West Malling and no 9.15 service at St Michael’s, Offham on this Sunday. Instead, we come together as one congregation for a joint Benefice service at St Mary’s, West Malling starting at 10 o’clock. Canon Alan Vousden will be leading.

An important announcement

A new Curate for West Malling and Offham

Kelly Parsons

The Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge, working in partnership with the office of the Bishop of Rochester, is pleased to announce that Mrs Kelly Parsons has been appointed as Assistant Curate to the Benefice of West Malling and Offham, subject to the completion of her Phase 1 training as an Ordinand and a satisfactory final report from St Augustine’s College, where she is training.

It is anticipated that Kelly will begin work in our Benefice in the Summer of 2022 and she will be ordained to the diaconate in September next year. She will serve her title in our Benefice for at least three years as a full-time stipendiary Minister under the supervision of the Rev David Green who will be her Training Incumbent.

Kelly currently lives and worships in Hadlow and works full time at Hadlow College where she teaches young adults with learning and physical disabilities and manages a team of Learning Support Practitioners. She is married to Michael and they have three children; Rebecca (22), Jack (19) and Olivia (16). They also have a spaniel called Jasper!

Kelly’s background in in teaching and she holds a degree in Applied Animal Science. She started to explore a calling to ordained ministry in 2018.

Kelly is really looking forward to taking up this post and to getting to know everyone. She would very much appreciate your prayers at this time. She says “my journey to this point has been a complete rollercoaster and I feel like I have felt every emotion. I have grown so much and learnt so much and I am excited to explore this next stage of my training and the shaping of my ministry.”

Stage 4 out of Lockdown

Christmas update

We are keeping a close eye on announcements from the Church of England and from Government concerning ‘Plan B’ but it would appear that our churches have effectively been operating with Plan B in effect for some time, and so no changes to our current practice is required.

We currently anticipate that Christmas services will go ahead as planned, but please do pay attention to the instructions on Covid safety provided on this page (see below).

But please…

  • sanitise your hands as you enter and leave church;
  • wear a face covering (including for singing);
  • social distance (1m+)

If the service you are attending is likely to be busy and well attended, we encourage you to take a Lateral Flow test before leaving home.

Please don’t come to church if you test positive for Covid-19.

15 December 2021

On 16 July, the House of Bishops’ Covid-19 recovery group issued new guidance in response to the Government decision to move the nation to ‘step 4’ on the roadmap out of Lockdown. The approach taken by the Government in this step is to remove most coronavirus legislation but to promote guidance that emphasises personal responsibility.

Our Vicar, Lay Ministers and retired Clergy colleagues, our Churchwardens and the PCC have considered this new phase of life and we are providing our agreed plan online and in letters sent to members of the Electoral Roll in both churches.

Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27).

Within the New Testament, we also see the principle clearly established that those who are ‘stronger’ should curtail their relative strength in order that ‘weaker’ brethren are not caused to stumble (Romans 14). For a while yet, we will be a mixture of able-bodied people and less able-bodied people in a complex Venn diagram that overlaps with those who have been vaccinated twice, those who have yet to be offered their second jab, and those who (for whatever reason) have not been vaccinated at all. We believe it is imperative, therefore, to curtail some of our freedoms so that all may walk in pilgrimage together.

Each set of Churchwardens and PCC has to act for itself and decide what’s best and there are differences between our two churches that mean the rules are broadly similar, but there are one or two key differences for each venue. Those differences are clarified below. With our individual contexts and such theological principles in mind, we have updated our risk assessments and agreed a plan. It could be considered cautious but it also represents careful and steady progress.

Pattern of services

  • From Sunday the 15th of August, the Sunday 8 o’clock service at St Mary’s, West Malling will re-start.
  • The Wednesday 9.30 a.m. service at St Mary’s, which was started in the last year, will also continue.
  • Offham’s 9.15 a.m. Sunday service continues as normal with All-Age Worship on the 1st Sunday of the month and either Morning Prayer or Common Worship Holy Communion on the other Sundays.
  • West Malling’s 10 o’clock Sunday service continues as normal. From September, with the launch of our new Choral Scholars project, All-Age Worship will continue on the 2nd Sunday of the month with the choir invited on 1st and 3rd Sundays. The fourth Sunday will be either Morning Prayer or said Holy Communion. Choral Evensong will take place roughly once a quarter.

Capacity and seating and face coverings

  • In Offham, from Sunday the 15th of August, the A and B labelling on the pews will be removed and we will no longer use a fortnightly rotation of attendance. There is no need to book to attend church. Just come when you want to come.
  • In West Malling, we will retain the A and B labelling on the pews. For Wednesday and Sunday services, we will continue to use that pattern and the deliberate spacing of people. We have a big church and we will use that space sensibly to keep people distanced. There is no need to book to attend church. Just come when you want to come.
  • For Weddings and Funerals, we will allow full capacity attendance.
  • Social distancing is still required but the key distance is now 1m+ and not 2m.
  • We continue to request that you sanitize your hands when you enter the building and wear a face covering throughout the service (unless you are medically exempt).

Liturgy

  • From Sunday the 15th of August, in both churches, we will resume singing. Congregations will not remove their face coverings to sing. The Choir at St Mary’s will not wear face coverings to sing but they will use the spit screens.
  • From Sunday the 15th of August, we will resume the use of our seasonal Service Booklets and the Hymn Books. If you have been keeping church hymn books or prayer books at home, we would be grateful if you could now bring them back. Between services the books will be quarantined for 72 hours.
  • Holy Communion continues to be received in one kind (wafer only) because the One Cup is still suspended. We plan to explore ways of enabling the presiding Priest to intinct (dip) each wafer before distribution so each person could get bread and wine.
  • At St Mary’s in West Malling, children’s work cannot re-start yet because we lack sufficient leaders. Volunteers welcome!
  • At St Michael’s in Offham, children’s work is re-starting.

Opening for private prayer

  • From Monday the 9th of August, both churches will once again be left open during daylight hours for individual, unsupervised private prayer.
  • Those who wish to visit should sanitize their hands on entry and use a face covering.

Pastoral visits

  • Clergy and Lay Ministers may now undertake Pastoral Visits. If you are house-bound and would like Home Communion, or would otherwise appreciate a pastoral visit at home, please do ask. Rev David and our pastoral carers will be available for visits from Monday the 9th of August onwards. We would expect to wear a mask and sanitize our hands when visiting you at home.

Online worship

Online worship continues to be provided each week. We have recently acquired the ability to live-stream services at St Mary’s and we’re currently testing that out. Going forward, we anticipate a mixture of pre-recorded and live material for those who cannot attend.

What is not coming back yet

  • The Common Chalice at Holy Communion.
  • Use of kneelers or pew cushions or other soft furnishings.
  • Freedom to sit where you like. Social distancing of 1m+ between household groups remain key.
  • Physical contact at the Peace.
  • The Offertory bags are not being handed around. A Plate is at the back of each church. St Mary’s can handle contactless card giving. We continue to encourage giving by Standing Order as the best way to give.
  • At St Mary’s in West Malling, for the time being, we will continue to use a Nave Altar.

It is vitally important that we continue to look after one another and support each other, regardless of circumstance or health or vaccination status. It is really important to us as leaders that no-one feels excluded or unable to participate and we would reject any notion that only the vaccinated, or any other division of people, are allowed to be included in our church’s life. So please do contact us if you would like to ask questions, talk about our plans or if there is any other help or support we can offer. Please be assured of our continued prayers for you during these difficult and extraordinary days.

Rev David Green,
the Lay and Ordained Ministers,
the Churchwardens and PCCs
of West Malling and Offham
22 July 2021

Annual Meetings 2021

Photo by idono from FreeImages

Between March and May each year, parishes must 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.

Unfortunately, because of Coronavirus, the restricted capacity of our church buildings means that we cannot host our APCMs in person. Instead, we will host them online using Zoom teleconferencing software.

If you have not received details of the Zoom invitation via a letter or email, please contact us to be sent details.

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 19th of April 2021 at 7.30 p.m. St Mary’s West Malling host their APCM on the 20th of April 2021 at 7.30 p.m.

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

The Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021

It is with great sadness that we have learned the news of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday the 9th of April 2021.

Prince Philip’s long life and his unstinting support of the Queen over more than 70 years of marriage have contributed immensely to the life of the nation at home and abroad.

He will also be remembered for his personal initiatives and support in many spheres, not least his encouragement of young people, particularly with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, founded in 1956.

Local plans

The Union Flag currently flies at half-mast at St Mary’s in West Malling and will do so until 8 a.m. on the day following the funeral.

On the day of the funeral (Saturday 17 April), the tenor bell will be tolled at St Mary’s 99 times in the hour before the funeral at 3.00 p.m. You should be able to hear the bell toll roughly once every 30 seconds, excluding the quarter hour chimes, throughout the whole hour.

In more normal times, we would anticipate opening our churches to offer local residents the chance to sign a Book of Condolence. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 safety restrictions mean that the Palace has requested that books are not signed.

Instead, the nation has been encouraged to send a message of condolence online via the Royal Family’s website. Follow this link to send your message now.

Prayers

We invite you to join us in remembering His Royal Highness in prayer with these words:

Blessed Jesus,
Lord of Lords and King of Kings,
we give you thanks
for the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh .
for the grace and mercy
he received from you,
for his faithful love and support
of Her Majesty, The Queen,
and his service to this nation
at home and abroad.
Enfold him in your everlasting arms
grant him rest
and raise him up at the last
in the company of the saints in light. Amen

We remember, too, the Royal Family in their bereavement.

O God, our sovereign and shepherd,
who brought again your Son, Jesus Christ,
from the valley of death,
comfort, we pray,
The Queen and all the Royal Family
with your protecting presence.
Fill them with your Holy Spirit;
and with your heavenly peace;
and bring them at the last
to your everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Re-opening our church buildings

We are pleased to be able to announce that our church buildings in West Malling and Offham will re-open for Public Worship from Sunday, the 14th of March 2021: Mothering Sunday.

Having consulted with our Churchwardens, our local Retired Clergy, Lay Ministers and PCCs to canvass opinions, together we have agreed that we feel now is the right time to re-open.

While we were always confident in our risk assessment and the safety of Public Worship (with our Covid-19 restrictions) throughout this closure, it felt right to suspend gatherings because of the grave situation for the country as a whole. In solidarity with all those other organisations, businesses and charities that were not allowed to open, we also closed our doors and continued via online worship only.

With the Government’s roadmap now established and an increasing number of sectors starting to re-open, we feel the time is now right to resume Public Worship. We will follow the same pattern that was in place from July to Christmas last year with services on Sunday in West Malling and Offham and one on Wednesday (using the BCP) in West Malling. 2m distancing, face coverings, no congregational singing and all other Covid-safety restrictions are still in place. As the year progresses, and if things further improve, we may be given permission to relax some of those restrictions.

We are also aware that an increasing number of people have had their first vaccination and now we are at a point nationally where anyone over 56 years of age has the chance to receive it. That doesn’t yet help your Vicar (!) but it does help a good proportion of the various congregations.

At Offham, sadly we must continue with the eight household limit and a fortnightly rota of attendance. The Churchwardens will be in touch about that with members of St Michael’s. At St Mary’s, the limit is 26 households and the expectation is that there should be no need to book ahead given the greater capacity.

No-one should feel obliged to attend if they wish to take a more cautious approach. We will continue to offer Online Worship for those who would still like to worship with us in that way – whether because of their circumstances, or out of understandable caution for their health and the health of others.

If you have any questions or comments you wish to make, please do contact us in the usual way. If you are in need in any way, please do ask for help. We will be very pleased to help and speak with you.

Rev David Green
10 March 2021
on behalf of himself, the Churchwardens and PCCs
of West Malling and Offham

A warm welcome to Amy

Amy Southby

Amy Southby

At the start of November, St Mary’s and St Michael’s welcomed Amy Southby as our new Cluster Administrator to support Rev David, our Churchwardens and the organisational side of church life.

In a development of the role, the Pilsdon at Malling Community have also partnered with us and the rest of the Cluster. Amy will work with West Malling, Offham and Pilsdon while a second administrator (as yet unannounced) will work with Kings Hill, Wateringbury, Mereworth and West Peckham.

Before taking on this role, Amy worked predominantly in the recruitment industry. She studied at the University of the Arts in London and holds a BA Honours degree in Journalism. In recent years  Amy moved away from office-based positions and worked for the Royal British Legion as a carer for elderly veterans; something she found very rewarding.

Amy lives in Aylesford with her two children aged 11 and 6, her cat and her dog.

Amy says of herself:

Having worked in administration and as a carer, I decided that I wanted to find a role that encompassed elements of both job roles. As much as I enjoy working in administration, I missed interaction with people. So, when the Cluster Administrator job advert popped up on my computer, I didn’t hesitate to apply. I am very much looking forward to meeting everybody and getting to know all the faces that make up St Mary’s and St Michael’s.”

Advent and Christmas 2020

The impact of Coronavirus on our world will have a major impact on our plans for Advent and Christmas 2020. Many of the time-honoured traditions of our worship and celebrations at Christmas will have to adapt to the changes in our circumstances.

We remain committed to celebrating Christmas, the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, as fully as possible. However we are also committed to being loving neighbours and responsible members of our local communities and want to ensure everyone is kept safe and healthy.

** update about Tier 4 **

Kent is now in Tier 4 and while Government have said churches can open for communal worship, Rev David has written a letter (and recorded a video) to provide some pastoral guidance and advice as you ponder whether to attend.

Dates for the diary

What’s happening and what’s not happening this year?

A photo of the choir from the Carol Service at Offham, 2012Wed 23 Dec, 8.00 pm
Live-streamed Carol online service from St Michael’s, Offham

St Michael’s, Offham
We live-streamed a special service on our YouTube channel for all those who wished to take part in our Carol Service for 2020. From the beautiful, ancient church of St Michael’s we hosted a candle-lit evening service of Christmas readings and carols with our Director of Music Stewart Biggs, guest Choirmaster Richard King leading a special guest choir.

If you missed the service on the night, you can still watch it on catch-up via YouTube. If you want to sing along, an Order of Service is available to download with all the words of the carols.

Congregation, St Mary's, Christingle 2011Thu 24 Dec, 4.00 pm
Pre-recorded Christingle online service with nativity from St Mary’s, West Malling

St Mary’s, West Malling
Although the highly popular Christmas Eve Christingle cannot take place in church this year, we hosted a special Christingle service on our YouTube channel on Christmas Eve.

Rev David spoke about the Christingle, our Sunday School presented their special Zoom nativity, while Richard Hammond-Hall and St Mary’s Choir recorded the Christmas Carols for us to sing along.

The words of the Carols will appear on screen but, if you want to do so, you can download an Order of Service so you can sing along from home.

Fri 25 Dec, 8.00 am
Holy Communion (BCP) in church

St Mary’s, West Malling
Traditional language, reflective and quiet Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion service. This service will be ticketed. 21 households maximum capacity. To book, please contact us.

Small girl, St Mary's, Christingle 2011Fri 25 Dec, 9.15 am
All-Age Communion service in church

St Michael’s, Offham
Child-friendly Eucharist service to celebrate Christmas Day. The children are encouraged to bring one of their presents to ‘show and tell’ as part of the service. This service will be ticketed. 8 households maximum capacity. To book, please contact us.

Fri 25 Dec, 10.00 am
All-Age Communion service in church

St Mary’s, West Malling
Child-friendly Eucharist service to celebrate Christmas Day. The children are encouraged to bring one of their presents to ‘show and tell’ as part of the service. This service will be ticketed. 21 households maximum capacity. To book, please contact us.

Fri 25 Dec, from 7.30 am
Christmas Day Online Worship

For those unable to come to church in person this year, an act of Online Worship will also be available on Christmas Day. You can log on anytime from 7.30 a.m. onwards to take part.

Sun 27 Dec, 10.00 am
Benefice Service for first Sunday after Christmas in church

St Mary’s, West Malling
There is no 8 am at St Mary’s or 9.15 at St Michael’s on this Sunday. Instead, we come together as one congregation for a joint Benefice service. Canon Alan Vousden will be leading and we gather at St Mary’s, West Malling. This service will be ticketed. 21 households maximum capacity. To book, please contact us.

There will also be an act of Online Worship available from 7.30 a.m. for those who are unable to come to church in person.

 

What is not happening this year

For the avoidance of any doubt, here’s the list of things we are sadly unable to host in 2020.

  • The Christmas Tree Festival (St Mary’s, West Malling)
  • The West Malling Community Choir Christmas Concert (St Mary’s, West Malling)
  • The Heart of Kent Hospice Christmas Concert (St Mary’s, West Malling)
  • Carols in the Pub (Kings Arms, Offham with St Michael’s, Offham)
  • Christingle services in both churches (although there will be a service online)
  • Midnight Communion on Christmas Eve (St Mary’s, West Malling)
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