Covid Letter No 21

Dear All

What have we learnt as I write this 21st Covid 19 letter?

I found this comment from the church leadership to its members, as they were about to restart services. It is the church my elder son and his wife belong to in York.

“The nation has been faced with two really important things which perhaps they haven’t been confronted with before: the possibility of imminent death, and the experience of how much we all need friendship with other human beings. Both these are only really answered properly in the church”.

How true.

Though I suspect that awareness might have faded in recent weeks as we have been let out in the sunshine and started to see friends and family again.

It has, though, been a good reminder, as Psalm 8 is, of our smallness and our significance in relation to God.

Small, in a universe finely calibrated to enable our emergence and survival. A few variations in such things as our planet’s orbit or axis and we would either freeze or fry. Sorry for that reminder but that is reality and there is little we can do about it, except give proper recognition to our creator.

Small we may be but to Him we are significant. God is the God of salvation as well as creation. He wants us.

Relationships matter, as we have been finding out with opportunities to first meet in gardens with one other household, then it can be up to six. Cathy and I had a lovely meal last night with two other couples in a garden. Wonderful to talk and chat and catch up from where we left off in March. The Pizza & Pavlova almost completely reversed the modest 5lbs I had lost with increased exercise during lockdown! One couple, with whom we have been on a couple of socially distanced walks, observed that when the Prime Minister at the start of all this said we could exercise everyday, many of us took it, not as permissive, but mandatory.

But it has been good to see grandchildren who I’ve not seen since Christmas, but boy how they have developed in seven months!

Weddings can be simple.
One in the Old Church with just 22 and one in the Auditorium with 30. Very different in style but meaningful. True they miss out on very many friends and family but the one that was streamed had 200 visits live on You Tube, more than those who would have come in person.

I have heard lovely stories of help within the fellowship, cleaning whilst someone was in hospital, shopping each week, relieving a carer so they can have a break with a friend and checking others are OK.
One of the features of how the New International Church in Antioch c 40 AD helped the old Hebraic church in Jerusalem at a time of need. Just one of the many important lessons we can learn, as we will this Sunday as we look at Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3 whether physically at church or digitally at home.

Do join us and meet up with others.

The LORD be with you.

Clive

Services and groups for Sunday 2nd July

Live streamed 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

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.

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

Some guidance about attending services from last week’s letter.

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 live stream 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. 
  • NB FROM AUGUST 8 FACE COVERINGS WILL BECOME MANDATORY AT SERVICES
  • 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 judgmental about children in the service.

Published 01/08/2020, 12:10

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