Notices, 17 May 2020
There are various things that might be helpful to know during these extraordinary days.
Ascension 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.
Thy 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.
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.
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.