Covid-19 Letter 20 and Service Information

Dear Church Family,

On Sunday 26 July, as you hopefully already know, we are planning to have a service in the church building to which a limited number of us will be able to come, and many of us will continue to watch the service on line as before. The difference will be that it is live streamed, rather than pre-recorded. Please do pray for those who will be operating the video/PA – that all works well.

You may have seen the video explaining some aspects of how the service will work, please follow this link to watch it: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/serviceguidance. Do watch it especially if you are coming in person to church. Booking for the service each week will be essential, and closes at midnight on Thursday. Some people have suggested they should hold back and let others go, but please do book if you would like to come and we will, through the church office, let you know if too many have booked for the limited capacity that there will be.

With apologies to those of you who will be staying at home – we need to explain here what you should expect to happen and have to do when you come to the church building on Sunday. Though it will be different, it will still be a great joy to gather together as God’s people.

  • Naturally you should not attend if you have any symptoms of possible coronavirus infection, but self-isolate at home with any other household members.
  • Please go to the toilet in your own house!! There will be a one in one out approach with limited numbers at the church toilets.
  • You will receive a time slot for arrival, so that there is no crowded bunching – please try to keep to that time.
  • It would be good to bring your own Bible or app.
  • We need to maintain 2 metre social distancing between individuals or different household groups. Let’s be considerate with others and resist the temptation to run up to them when we see them – but we can talk to another household.
  • The stewarding team will direct you to your seats. If you do not want to be in the livestream video, ask to sit in the Non camera zone.
  • Face coverings – guidance has just been issued by the Church of England which "strongly advises that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship”. We had intended to suggest it might be good to wear a face covering, but now need to say that we all ought to do so with a few exceptions like children under 11.
  • It will be good to have children present also, and primary school age children will be able to be in the hall for the entire service, but remaining socially distanced.
  • There will be no crèche or tumblers, so we all need to be ready to bear with each other, and not be judgemental about children in the service.
  • After the service, having left the building you may like to meet up with others – up to 6 individuals outside or two households – perhaps a walk in the park, or in someone’s garden. Zoom coffee will be available more so for those watching on-line.

Cara Hill completes her time with us this week. We are very thankful for the work she has done with our young people and the contribution she has made to the wider church family. Do pray for her as she starts a new phase in her life. After time at home in Harrogate, she will start teacher training in Oxford.

This past week many in the Evangelical Christian world have been giving thanks for the life of Dr Jim Packer. He was a hugely significant Christian influence in the 20 Century and start of 21. He was a practical theologian who was able to communicate with ordinary people. He wrote many books which remain classic explanations of orthodox Christian faith – “Knowing God” is probably the one most influential. Although an Anglican clergyman he was equally happy in other evangelical settings. I (Philip) remember hearing him preach around 1970 on one of his many annual visits to Cornwall, at our Brethren chapel, from the book of Jonah. He was a great railway fan – particularly of the GWR – so loved his travels to the west! (Quite a few well known Christian leaders had the railway bug- David Pawson being another!) In 2002 he was one of the speakers at the Reform conference to which Ed Moll and I went.  Ed wanted to surprise our church administrator Julie Major with a signed copy of Knowing God. I managed to speak to Dr Packer in the dinner queue, and found him to be such a gracious, humble man who insisted on sitting with me and talking throughout dinner – even about the GWR but much else more useful!

He moved to Canada to teach in a theological college in 1979, and much later was, with others, “kicked out” of the Canadian Anglican Church because of his standing firm on orthodox teaching.

He was asked a few years ago how he would like to be remembered. In part his answer was that he hoped he would be remembered as a voice that focused on 3 things:

  • The Authority of the Bible
  • The Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • The wonder of His substitutionary sacrifice and atonement for our sins

And also a voice calling Christian people to holiness and challenging lapses in Christian moral standards.

We, too, can give thanks for the legacy of all the books and the many church leaders so strengthened in their understanding of orthodox Christian belief by this humble servant of our Lord Jesus.

Notices

Michael Bright and Cara Edwards are getting married this Saturday 25th July @3pm. They would love you to join them via the livestream. They also have a virtual guestbook, where you can post videos and pictures of how and where you are celebrating the start of their marriage, so please contribute to that.

Services and groups for Sunday 26th July

Livestreamed Service, Sunday 10am: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/online-service

(Other ways to join: youtube.com/StMarysBasingstoke | Listen by phone: 01256830011. Charged as a regular landline number according to your phone plan.)

Children’s Group, from 9.30am: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/childrens-group

Virtual tea and coffee, from 10 minutes after the service and notices end: Contact us for Zoom details.

Coming up this week

Sunday, 26th July
09:30am Online Children's Group
10:00am Morning Service
10 minutes after service - Virtual Coffee on Zoom
5:45pm PACE! on Zoom
7:00pm Sundays@7 on Zoom
8:30pm Connect on Zoom

With our greetings,
Philip Hiorns & Jefferson Lynch (St Mary's Basingstoke Churchwardens)

Published 24/07/2020, 12:50

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