14 September 2020
Thought for the Week
The announcement of fresh restrictions on our social gatherings will be hard for many of us to bear, and sometimes the rules seem difficult to understand or confusing. We hear all the statistics changing, perhaps news of a different part of the country where there’s a particular problem, the inevitable setbacks in testing or the production of vaccines. Sometimes, to be honest, it’s hard to know what to think or feel, isn’t it? One way many people find helpful in processing how they feel in strange times is to just be still for a few moments; try and think of a few words which express how you feel, or maybe the person or situation which bubbles up in your mind. They don’t have to be long or complicated words. God wants to know what is on our hearts; we don’t have to dress it up or polish it for him. Then turn these into a prayer; this can be very simple, such as just saying ‘Dear God I feel X…’, ‘Dear God, I’m worried about Y …’ ‘Dear God, I pray for Z …’ Even just to name these things or people is to pray. And God does not need long words or complicated phrases, poetic sentences or a short essay; just say what you feel or who you think about, as simply as clearly and you can, and the Lord in his mercy will hear our prayer.
Sunday Services in Church
Just to clarify that the ‘rule of six’ does not apply to public worship, so there is no change in the arrangements for church services at the moment. So we continue with a short, said service of Morning Prayer at 10am, and a 4pm service designed particularly with children and families in mind with some physically distanced activities to join in! Of course, people of whatever age are welcome at either service. If you are coming with children, please feel free to bring toys/books/snacks for the pew if that will help your family. At the 4pm service, it’s helpful if you can bring your own colouring pencils or pens.
We of course keep our plans under review in the light of the latest UK Government and Church of England guidance. In particular we hope to be able to return to communion services in October. Our current plan is to alternate this with Morning Prayer in the 10am slot, to ensure that there are different services on offer which may suit different people.
Worshipping and Praying at Home
Our website www.earleystpeters.org.uk/resources/ contains ways to pray at home and links to live-streams of services as well as radio and television worship. Do also keep checking on our Facebook page and YouTube channel for regular reflections and worship.
- This week’s Service is available here and here, thank you to all those involved.
- We are resuming weekly Assemblies and you can watch these online here and here.
- We are also resuming our Midweek Reflections which for the next few weeks will talk about the same themes as our Sunday 4pm services, giving an overview of the Old Testament – this week’s is on Genesis, you can watch it here and here.
Morning Prayer: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am
Throughout September and October we will continue Morning Prayer on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays; everyone is welcome to join us and you don’t need a book as we share the words on the screen. Of course, we will review this when it becomes feasible to gather in church. To join Morning Prayer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church open for personal prayer
Thank you to everyone who has helped prepare and welcome people to church. It was a good first step in our slow and careful reopening, and we know a lot of people found comfort and peace by being able to come for some quiet prayer and reflection. This is the last week that the building will be open for personal prayer during the week, on Thursday 17th September, from 10am to 12noon and 6pm to 8pm. There is information about what to expect and the Covid-19 precautions here. A reminder that the law has now changed to require the wearing of face coverings in places of worship, so if you are coming for personal prayer and you are not exempt, please wear one while in the church building – more details here.
We need your help …
Last week we wrote to everyone asking whether you might consider volunteering for various roles as we begin to resume more church activities. Details of what you could do are here. We know not everyone feels able to commit at the moment, and we quite understand that; but if you might be able to help, do let Mary in the office know, or speak to the clergy or churchwardens if you would like to know more.
Coffee and Midday Prayer
Wednesday 23rd September, 11am to 12noon
On Zoom, a chance to see people and chat – bring your own coffee! Finishing with midday prayer. To join, contact email@example.com.
Tots and Teddies cannot yet meet in person, so we’ll be back this week to videos which will be available on the Tots and Teddies Facebook page here, with singing, a Bible story and a craft idea. These will also be suitable for younger school-aged children to watch and enjoy.
We’ll be in touch with Bible Explorers parents soon with news about our plans to meet in October.
Please be praying for children and their families, and that we would find good ways to continue our work with children and young people. If you have children who are part of one of these groups – or of a similar age – do join the Facebook group or email Hannah for more detail.
Following risk assessments we are delighted that Song School will resume rehearsing from next week. Because of the limits of physical distancing, we cannot for the moment offer places to those who were not already in Song School, but we will keep that under review. At the moment we plan that Song School will be preparing recorded music for our digital services.
Choir: We are also delighted that, following the risk assessment process and with careful planning, we hope that some Choir Practice sessions can resume. Our plan is that small groups of eight singers from the choir will sing on Sunday 11th October and Sunday 29th October at our 10am service. For the moment, sadly, congregations are not allowed to sing in services, but there will be organ or piano music played during services where we do not have members of the choir singing.
The Annual Meetings will take place on Sunday 18th October 2020 in Church immediately after the 10am service.
The statutory notice summoning this meeting is available on the website and is displayed in the church porch.
We need to elect or appoint:
FOUR PCC Members (the PCC is the parish’s trustee and decision-making body)
FOUR Deanery Synod Representatives (the representative body of Church of England parishes in Reading)
Please contact the Parish Office if you would like a nomination form for any of these posts, and do speak to the clergy or churchwardens if you might be interested.
We also need a new PCC Secretary, this role involves taking minutes of meetings and handling some paperwork. At the Annual Meetings we will thank Clive Tillin for his service in this role. Training and support will be given – please speak to the clergy or churchwardens if you’d like to know more.
In preparation for the Annual Meetings it is necessary to update the Electoral Roll. This Roll lists the names of those members of the parish who are entitled to elect the PCC; to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, and to stand for office either as a member of the PCC and/or a sidesperson.
To be eligible to have one’s name entered on this Roll you must
a) be baptised
b) be a member of the Church of England or a Church in communion with the Church of England
c) be at least sixteen years of age or will be 16 during the next 12 months
d) be a resident in the ecclesiastical parish, or, if not so resident, have habitually attended public worship in the parish during a period of six months prior to enrolment.
If you are not already on the Electoral Roll or you have changed your name/address, please complete an application form. This can be found on the St Peter’s website or if you require a paper copy from the Parish Office please ring 0118 966 8575. Please return forms to the Parish Office by Thursday 1st October 2020.
In our prayers please
- pray for those making difficult decisions about our country’s life;
- pray for those who work in science and research as they seek an effective Covid-19 vaccine;
- remember the sick and the departed and those who mourn, among them the family and friends of Irene Wakeford.
Quote of the week
To be friends with God means to pray with simplicity, like children talking to their parents.
Please let Philip know if you have words, pictures, or poetry you think others may find helpful.
Prayer for the week
We ask not for what we want but for what you know we need,
as we offer this day and ourselves for you and to you. Amen.
From the Iona Community
Love and prayers to you all,
Hannah & Philip
The Reverends Hannah and Philip Hobday, parish priests
firstname.lastname@example.org, 0118 966 8575
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