As you will have gathered from the front page the prevalence of the covid virus in our area means that it is prudent to suspend face to face worship in the chapel at least for the time being. This is simply a precaution. The vaccine roll out is going well and so there is now a definite sense of relief and even optimism beginning to emerge but it would be foolish to be irresponsible and to let our guard down and fall on the home straight.
We will go back to our ‘normal’ service pattern just as soon as we can.
Thank you to all the members of the congregation who responded to the request to pay their collection through Standing order. As you can imagine ‘loose plate’ collections have plummeted because of lockdown and this has obvious implications.
We are very fortunate in that we are part of the Dean’s parish and able to worship in a building maintained by the Trustees. Because of this we do not face some of the demands and hardships faced by normal congregations. However, we still need to pay our bills and meet our commitments to the Cathedral and the Diocese. As you can imagine last year was a financially lean year so as we move into 2021 please, please make sure your weekly giving is realistic and updated in line with changing costs.
Update on the Outhouse renovation project
There are two things to share.
Firstly, as you know the work was put out to tender in September. The results came back in the middle of October. The lowest quote for the work was from a firm called ‘Scothern Construction Ltd.’ Even their quote was much higher than anticipated. When the architect’s fees, other fees and V.A.T. is included it adds up to a very considerable sum. As a result, those with relevant experience within the Project Working Group are looking into ways to revise the specifications and so cut costs.
The Group will at some point in the near future come to the congregation to ask if we can help by offering to increase our £20,000 voluntary contribution. This is something that the congregational council might well like to consider. I will not, of course, be your chaplain at this point but I would commend the idea to you.
Midweek services and casual visitors to the Chapel Because of the virus the chapel will only be open for our two Sunday morning Eucharists. We regret that we cannot host any midweek groups at present. In the same way because we have no way of knowing if casual visitors have the virus, and we can’t clean after every visit, nor can we welcome tourists and or other visitors during this time. If approached key holders should apologise and respectfully decline.
What to expect in the Chapel from now on.
Firstly, the chapel will look slightly bare. I have had to clear all books from the bookcases and remove any devotional items, bits of publicity and unnecessary table-top items. Although we initially planned to use plastic chairs in the carpeted area ( so we could wipe them down in between services) we realised that we could simply swap the chairs for new ones after the 10am thus maintaining a welcome degree of comfort!
Secondly, no one will come round taking a collection during the service.
The Bishops, both Anglican and RC, are asking all of us where possible to start using a Standing Order rather than using cash. The reason is that cash then needs to be bagged by a gloved person and left for 72 hours before transfer.
If you can’t change to a standing order, cash is still okay but please, on the first Sunday back, take a number of envelopes away with you so then you can prepare them at home rather than standing in a queue filling them in.
As you can imagine, our chapel income has all but dried up over the last quarter. Bear in mind also that there will now be no income from groups using the chapel as the chapel will only be open on a Sunday morning. In the same way income from tourists and casual visitors has ceased.
Preparing the altar and the sacred vessels for the service
I will bring my own set of vessels etc. and set up for the service so as not involve any servers or sacristans
Please Mask– Wearing a mask in the chapel is now compulsory for congregation members. (I do have a few spares in case you forget yours). Those reading the Epistle or leading the intercessions may remove it during that time. Clergy and those leading worship only wear masks when administering communion.
Sanitise. – As you enter please use the sanitising hand gel to be found on the top of the font.
Collection plate – The wooden plate is by the font for those not yet using Standing orders. Please be generous. All churches have taken a massive financial hit because of Lockdown. This is another reason why that the Bishops are urging us all to move to using a Standing Order as soon as possible. Whether you use cash or do things through Standing order, if you are a UK tax payer, please make sure you sign a covenant form.
I have devised a wedding reception style seating plan in order to accommodate as many people as possible so please only sit in the seat assigned to you. (This will seem horribly school like, but the allocation I’ve devised maximises the number of people we can get in. If a person on their own sits on a pew allocated for a couple then we effectively lose a seat and someone can’t stay)
There is a copy of the seating plans for both services on the wooden screen behind the font.
A SINGLE USE Service sheet I will be producing a single use service sheet – complete with readings etc for each Sunday – it will be waiting on your seat. Please take it away with you at the end.
Obviously, we will not be moving around or physically sharing the peace – but there’s nothing to stop us giving each other a ‘wave’ of peace!
The Administration of Communion.
Because our aisle is so narrow we can’t have people passing each other going up or down from the Altar. Please stay in your places and I will bring communion to you.
As you already know we will be giving communion by bread only.
When I come to give you the bread I will be wearing a mask and I will not say the words “The Body of Christ”. Please do not say Amen or make any spoken response.
At the end of the service
When it is over please leave from the back first.
As you leave, please move well away from the door and wait until you get right outside so you can socially distance before you start to chat and catch up.
If you have any questions, please email me. The Revd Cliff Bowman