As part of our mission to reach out with God's message to as many people as possible, a blog has been launched which allows you to listen to a Service or Talk from St Michael's Shefford and St Mary's Meppershall in Bedfordshire, England. This Podcast is also available by phone - please share the number with a friend who doesn't have internet - T 01462 559112.
Click here, or on the image to visit the blog.
Source: Andrew Goodman
Date: 14th October 2020
Each year we are required to have a Parochial Church Meeting at which various reports are presented (mainly to do with Church finances and the state of the the church building), plus the election of people that we want to represent us.
You may be surprised to hear that the APCM is still going ahead this year, in spite of the COVID 19 restrictions.
It will be very different this year though - on a Thursday (8th October), and it will be a mixture of physical and Zoom online meeting.
We don't have times or nitty gritty details yet, but will publish them as soon as they're available. Until then, please try to keep 8th October clear in your diary.
For now, Patricia Goulding, our Churchwarden has asked me to publish various forms relevant to the meeting:
- Electoral Roll Application (If you are not on the Electoral Roll, you cannot vote on anything in the APCM).
- Nomination For Election To PCC (Put yourself, or someone else forward to represent you on the Church Council)
- Deanery Synod Nomination Form (Put yourself, or someone else forward to represent your Parish/Benefice at the Deanery Synod)
- Nomination For Election As Churchwarden (Put yourself, or someone else forward to support Patricia as Churchwarden)
Please think and pray about how you want your Church to go forward in these challenging times - can you add your talents and experience to our future, or do you know someone who could be nurtured to unlock as yet untapped skills or talents?
Source: Patricia Goulding - Churchwarden
Author: Stephen Lines - Webmaster
Published: 24th August 2020
We are delighted to welcome you to Holy Communion at St Michael's at 9 o clock on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, starting on 9th August.
There will be reduced numbers for CoViD 19 distancing so booking is required - preferably by the Wednesday before so we can allocate your seating.
Please book by contacting Revd Roni Goodman.
For information on the CoViD 19 measures for holy communion to help keep you safe see FAQs below
Looking Forward to seeing you...
Q: Is it safe to come back to church?
A: We have made it as safe as possible by putting in place all the recommended measures from the government and the Church of England. Ultimately however, your safety and the safety of others relies on us all following the advice and guidelines, including hand washing/sanitising and maintaining 2m/6ft social distancing.The principle is that we are all responsible for our own safety, and for that of others. All of the precautions that we are taking arise from our love for one another.
UPDATE (26/07/2020): Government guidance for the safe use of places of worship encourages people to wear face coverings in places of worship and other enclosed public spaces. We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn.
Q: What if I am shielding, or in a vulnerable group?
A: If you have a letter from the government telling you to shield until at least August, you should not come back to church until told that you may. If you are in a vulnerable group (underlying health condition(s), are over 70 or any other category) then you should read this information carefully, and make your own decision as to whether or not you comfortable returning to church.
Q: What if I feel unwell?
A: If you feel unwell in any way (not restricted to CoViD 19 symptoms), then please do not come to church until you are better. If you think you might have the Coronavirus, then please follow the guidance on arranging a test, self-isolation/household isolation and if necessary seek medical advice or attention.
Q: Do I have to book a pew every week?
A: We are trying out a notification/booking system for the first few weeks, to see what our numbers are like.
Q: What happens when we arrive at church?
A: The doors will be propped open. Please walk in and go straight to the indicated pew and sit down. Do not walk around or move to chat to others - maintain the correct distance (2m/6ft) at all times.
Q: Where should I sit?
A: Please sit where the sidesperson indicates. We have carefully planned the seating to maintain 2m/6ft distancing.
Q: I have lots of offertory envelopes. Should I bring them?
A: Yes please! Many of you have been putting your weekly offerings in envelopes whilst the church building was closed. Please do bring them with you when you first return to church. Thank you! There will be a plate at the back of the church for you to leave your envelopes.
Q: Is there hand sanitiser available?
A: Yes. There will be sanitiser available as you enter and leave the building, and outside the toilets for use before entering and on leaving them should you need to do so. However, it is a good idea to carry your own with you as well, to use during the service as needed.
Q: Has the church been cleaned?
A: Yes, after each church use the church will either have been cleaned or left locked (quaranteened) for at least 72 hours.
Q: What about the offertory?
A: Please place your offering in the plate at the back of the church as you enter. There will be no offertory procession.
Q: Will we be singing?
A: No, at the moment singing is prohibited. We will say any responses during the service (e.g. the Gloria).
Q: Will there be individual service sheets?
A: No. We will use the normal red books. However, you will need to take your copy home and return with it the next time that you come. It must only be used by you and not lent to anyone else.
We will keep a small number of "quarantined" copies in church for visitors.
Q: Will we share the peace?
A: No. We may say the words of the peace, but we won't leave our places or shake hands (or any physical contact).
Q: What will happen at Communion?
The priest will sanitise hands at the offertory, prior to starting the Eucharistic Prayer, and again before distributing the wafers. We will use individual wafers rather than breaking up one large wafer to maintain as much hygiene as possible. The congregation wafers will also remain covered throughout the Prayer. Before Communion is distributed the priest will say "the body of Christ" and everyone who wishes to receive will say "Amen". Communion will be received in silence.
The priest will walk down to the congregation to give Communion in the pews, wearing visor for her protection and a mask for your protection.
We are receiving only the bread, not the wine. Please hold out your hands at a comfortable distance to receive the wafer.
Q: Will the toilets be in use?
A: Yes. If you need to use them, please ensure in addition to washing your hands after using them that you use sanitiser on the way back into church.
Q: What happens at the end of the service?
A: After the priest has processed out, and the final prayer has been said, please leave church in an orderly fashion, remembering to take your red service book with you. The people in the back rows will need to leave first and go straight out of the church by the West door. Please do not stop to chat - we need to maintain safe distancing and a steady flow of people. The priest will wait at the pavement to greet everyone, but of course will not be shaking hands. Again, please maintain a 2m/6ft distance as you pass by.
Q: Will there be tea and coffee?
A: No. It is fine to chat to people at a safe distance once you have left the church, but please be aware of others who might need to walk past you if you want to have a socially distanced chat or catch up.
Q: How long are these arrangements going to last?
A: Things are bound to change again, as they have throughout the pandemic. Therefore these arrangements will remain in place until there are further changes nationally. If there is a 'local lockdown' , then the church will have to be closed again for a designated period of time. If we are able to start singing, we will do so as soon as possible.
Q: Will there still be services on-line?
A: Yes, they will continue until everyone feels safe enough to return to church. We are also working on how we can provide an on-line worship presence in the future.
Q: Will the children's corner be available?
A: We are advised not to use the children's corner at this time, although we are keeping this under review. Parents are requested to keep their children with them - sadly no toddling toddlers!
I hope you have been enjoying the wonderful weather this week, and not working too hard in your garden!
Our hymn of the day is Amazing Grace.
You might like to know that St Michael’s Church is now open from 8.00am to 3.00pm on Fridays. If you are able to visit - then please do keep to the arrangements which are in place for everyone’s safety.
Please do sanitise your hands on entry - then take an “I Prayed Here” card to the place where you choose to pray and leave it there on the seat when you leave. (This tells other people not to sit where you just sat - and will help the cleaners when they come to clean!). There is also sanitising gel for you to use on leaving - through the west door at the rear of the Church.
We are looking forward to the Church being opened up for Life Events - Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals, and also for Public Worship. There has been some suggestion that this will be allowed after July 4th. However we will need time to look at Government and Church Guidance when it is published, and work out what we can manage whilst following the advice given and keeping everyone as safe as we can.
Hard as it has been not to be able to gather in the Church for worship and Holy Communion, I think it has been so hard too, not being able to gather in our Church, drinking tea and coffee, sharing news and joys, worries and woes. I am missing you terribly. For me that “fellowship” too, is a crucial part of being Church.
I think it will be a while yet before we are back to normal - whatever that means. In the meantime: Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help you.
Be safe, keep well, God bless you.
Have a good week
Today is the first Sunday after Trinity - and we are now in Ordinary Time (numbered weeks) and the church turns green as we continue work our way through the life of Jesus mostly from the Gospel of Matthew this year. If you haven’t already you might like to take some time to read all the way through the Gospel of Matthew - about 2.5 hours I am told! - I have never timed it. (By reading the Gospel just in small portions as we do in church, we may not be able to grasp a particular evangelist’s unique way of proclaiming his message.)
For Families: You might enjoy "A guest edition of Messy Church for Messy Times” (with junk modelling and cooking!). Bishop Alan, Bishops Richard and Michael and the Archdeacons, took part in Messy Church online and you can see the results here.
The Alban Pilgrimage Eucharist takes place from St Albans Cathedral at 10am on Sunday, 21st June, a day before St Alban's Day. It can be accessed from St Albans Cathedral's YouTube page. Many parishes have already expressed an interest in making this service their morning worship that day. Orders of Service will be available on the cathedral website https://www.stalbanscathedral.org/live-streaming-at-st-albans-cathedral
Parish Priest, Broadcaster and former Communard, The Revd Richard Coles will preach and churches from around the world that have links to Alban will participate.
Sunday 21st June is Fathers’ Day
We will take that opportunity to centre our worship on God the Father or the Fatherhood of God.
Opening of the Church
Please note that we are making plans for limited opening of the Church now and will soon be telling everyone when the Church will be available for Private Prayer in line with Government and Church Guidelines. (Opening will be limited at first due to the need to meet safety requirements for everyone - visitors and cleaners etc)
I am sure we are all hoping and praying for the time when we can safely throw the doors open daily once again. In the meantime please do let us know if you need prayers, or if there is anything else we can do for you.
Be safe, keep well,
God bless you
And have a good week everyone.
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