Notices, 30 August 2020

Notices, 30 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.

Worship at
West Malling
Worship at
Offham
It may take you a bit of time to watch, read and work out what you want to do about worship in church. So we advise you to enjoy the Online Worship first and perhaps look at this information later!

Beirut appeal

Most of us will have heard about the awful explosion in the docks area of Beirut, Lebanon last week. For many years, St Michael’s in Offham have supported a charity called Embrace the Middle East. Embrace ME has worked in the Lebanon for over a century. In the past, St Michael’s sponsored children and we now give to support their education efforts more widely.

We are currently collecting across the Benefice for a gift that we will send to Embrace ME to help them and to help the people of Beirut. As well as the casualties, three hospitals were destroyed by the explosion, and grain silos containing 80% of the nation’s grain reserves were destroyed. Food shortages are virtually guaranteed.

You can find out more about Embrace’s perspective on the explosion on their website here.

If you would like to donate to our Benefice, via St Michael’s, in order that we can then send a collection on to Embrace, you can either give in person in church this coming Sunday or donate online here. Every single penny you donate to this appeal will go to Embrace and, therefore, to Beirut.

Ride and Stride, 12th of September

The annual fundraising Ride and Stride in aid of the Friends of Kent Churches takes place this year on Saturday the 12th of September. This year has seen many people dust off their bikes so let’s hope we may be able to get MORE people involved this year.

The idea is to either walk or cycle to a number of churches. You can decide how many or how few you want to visit. Riders and walkers seek sponsorship with money given for each church visited, planning their own routes and timings between churches. Half of the money you raise goes to Friends of Kent Churches, the other half goes to the parish church of your choice and we hope you will specify either St Mary’s or St Michael’s!

Last year, the event raised £140,602 across the county with over 700 churches represented amongst those who took part. Friends of Kent Churches give grant aid to Kent churches of any denomination or age to help them repair and maintain their buildings.

If you want to find out more, folk in Offham should contact Jane Jordan on 07973 817 883. Meanwhile, West Malling riders and striders should contact Mary Gibbins on 01732 870 643. The Ride and Stride website is also available here.

Women’s Refuge

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.

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 is on annual leave

David is currently on annual leave for a fortnight. David, Kerry and the children are getting away from the parish but during their absence, Kerry’s sister and her husband and family will be house-sitting at the Vicarage.

If you need to discuss something urgently with David during this next fortnight, please call 01732 842245 in the usual way or email vicar@stmaryswestmalling.org.uk and Becky Robinson-Hugill, our PCC Secretary in Offham, will either assist you directly, guide you to someone who can help or know how to reach David. He will return to ministry on Tuesday the 1st of September.

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