Covid 19 Letter 8

Can you remember the first time you went to see a film at the cinema?

Well, I’m not quite sure when exactly it was. I remember going to the cinema on Saturday mornings when I was at primary school but I definitely do recall going to see the first James Bond film, “Dr No” in 1963. I must have looked 12 but I wasn’t!

In those days there was just one cinema, the Odeon, with one film showing a couple of times a day.

More recently we have had multiplexes, with twenty screens and super comfortable aircraft style seating with long legroom, a welcome improvement on the cramped tip up bucket seats! Multiple films showing at multiple times.

In the lockdown I have started watching, about 15 years late, box sets!

No adverts, watch what you want, whenever you want to, but of course you have got to have the box set to hand.

And now, not that I have tried it, Netflix, virtually any film there has ever been made, able to be watched any time, any place, anywhere, and on your own.

That’s the sad trajectory from communal experience to solitary confinement.

And that trajectory has been mirrored in the life of the church:

Matins at 11am-Take it or leave it.

Then multiple congregations:
8am Holy communion (1662)                9am Morning service
1045am Morning service                        4pm Funday Sunday
                                                          & the 6:30pm Evening service

Well, you don’t even have to pay your money but you can take your choice!

And now we are all taking part in online church in the confinement of our own homes.

As one cancer patient, at a friend’s church, said in an interview, “Welcome to my world!”

He had had to practice self-isolation for long periods during his treatment and was sharing his testimony to the grace of God, who was with him through the ordeal.

However, online church is great for those alone at home with restricted mobility. Great for those too frail to come out like those in residential or nursing homes.

It is also of value for the prodigal or the enquirer; for those who might like to visit us anonymously.

They may not want to return until they are sure or they don’t want to allow us further into their space until they are ready. Both motives are fine and quite understandable.

So how will church be once we are allowed back together again?

We will love seeing one another in person again but I wonder whether there will continue to be a place in our provision for something online?

Speaking of which, we hope to start a Christianity Explored course online. So watch this space or visit the website for further details. What about joining in by bringing a friend?

A number of you were pleased to have sight of the prayers I included in my last letter. They were not original, I am not that erudite! They come from an English Prayer Book.

There is free access to it on the Church Society website:

This week sadly saw the loss of two of our older members, both in their late 80s, over the course of last weekend, Bryan Chare and Isobel Rolf.

Isobel had been a teacher at what is now Everest community college and with her late husband, Colin, joined St Mary’s almost 40 years ago. They were a very devoted and gracious couple, a fine example of godly Christians.

Bryan first visited St Mary’s around 1988, with Katrina, his late wife, when their daughter, Chris Fry and her husband Tim, moved here from Tottenham. For twenty years Bryan and Katrina would visit us about four times a year; “extended members” I would call them. Ten years ago they move to Basingstoke and joined us. They exuded joy and positivity in Christ even in their last days. May they all rest in peace and rise in glory.

Bryan’s funeral was back in the village where they had lived for over 50 years. Bryan was buried with Katrina in the churchyard of Barston Parish Church on Friday afternoon, 1st May. Arrangements for Isobel’s funeral are still being made.

You might like to use this prayer for their families and others you know to be in need.

We most humbly beseech you, O Lord, to comfort and strengthen all those who in this life are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness or any other adversity; [and especially we pray for...]. 
And we bless your holy name for all your servants who have died in your faith and fear. Give us grace to follow their good examples so that with them we may inherit your eternal kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only mediator and advocate. [Amen.]

May our LORD be with you


Notices for 3 May 2020

Funday Sunday is TODAY - 3rd May at 4pm

It will be live on Zoom. (Contact Caroline  or Rob for codes, as we are not advertising codes)

You may have seen a poster and hopefully a video going out on social media to advertise Funday Sunday, if so please share the advert / video so we can reach as many families as possible.

House groups will be meeting this coming week. You are very welcome to join one contact 

Traidcraft & Lockdown

Traidcraft is committed to enabling farmers and artisans in developing countries to get a fair deal for their produce so they can build a better future for their children.

Traidcraft are still working hard through lockdown to sell Fairtrade goods.

The communities Traidcraft work with are some of the most vulnerable, need our support.

If you are ready to choose to buy justly traded goods rather than what is easiest or cheapest go to:

Orders over 50 receive free delivery. You can also order from:  for a local doorstep delivery.

Also Tim & Anna Daniels have sent another news update.

Tim & Anna Daniel’s April news and prayer letter has arrived.

If you would like to receive their news please email 

The service instructions can be the same as last week, including the phone line:

To watch the services, go to and click play. The service will then start playing at 10am.

You can also watch the service on our YouTube channel: or search for St Mary’s Basingstoke —this might be helpful if you want to watch it on a smart TV or if our website has issues.

An online children's group will be available to view from 9.30am at

If you know someone without internet access who would like to hear the service, you can tell them to ring 01256830011. The full service will start playing immediately. Playback can be controlled using the keypad: 5 to pause/unpause; 4 to rewind 10s; 6 to skip 10s. This will be charged as a regular landline number according to your phone plan.

Virtual coffee @ 11:30pm TODAY will also be the same details as last week.

Published 01/05/2020, 15:10

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