The Parish of St Peter & St Mary, Fishbourne and the Parish of St Mary the Virgin, Apuldram
1 April 2020
Good morning my dear friends,
Welcome to April.
I hope you are all doing OK, keeping well and safe.
As we move through this second week of physical isolation I am aware that some of you are finding this new way of life quite difficult. Hang on in there, we may not be able to meet but we can hold each other in our hearts.
It certainly feels that during this Lent we have experienced the ‘desert’ like never before, but do remember the words of Jesus, taken from the last chapter of Matthew, ‘know that I am with you always’.
For those of you who know me well, you will be aware that I do not like technology, in fact I am pretty useless at it. But in this last week and a half, I have had to learn how to use whats-app, whatever that is, I know it keeps a lot of us in touch at the same time. I have discovered how to Skype and hold meetings that way, now that is a bit scary as you have to make sure you have done your hair and got dressed, otherwise you can get caught out. I have also found out about Zoom, similar to Skype. All of these ways of communication were alien to me. But how valuable they have become during this time. I can Skype my grandson every day, listen to him read, and hear what he is getting up to. I now have a teddy called Ashley, and he has one called Nana, we give them a hug when we are missing each other. Perhaps other grandparents could do the same.
What an incredible parish we live in, I have been blown away by the ever growing army of volunteers who are ready, willing and able to collect shopping and medicines for those who are not able to go out. Please do call on them if you need anything, the number is on the little card that came through your door. For those of you who live outside of Fishbourne, I also have a list of people from the church who are offering the same help.
A little tip for this week: when you think, ‘oh let’s do this or that’ and then remember that you can’t, write it down on a piece of paper, pop it into a jar or a little box, then when this is all over, that will be your bucket list.
Do be assured, that I pray for all of you, every single day, and for the whole of our community. Please do not see yourselves as isolated, rather, you are keeping safe. May the peace of the Lord always be with you.
Love and prayers, from Moira
22 March 2020
Although we have had to close to help save lives, we are still active in the community.
If you have access to the internet, please do go to the Fishbourne Church website, click on ‘subscribe’ on the front page, then enter your email address (this will not cost you anything).
You will then receive regular updates, information, the pew sheet and ideas of how we continue to be the church in these uncertain times.
Although I have to be isolated due to being in the high risk group, I am still available by email or by phone.
Contact details are:
The Revd. Canon Moira Wickens
01243 920346 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I may not have your contact details so please will you send them through to me.
May God bless you all, and don’t forget, Jesus has promised to be with us always.
Ad Clerum From the Bishop of Chichester – latest update on Covid-19 on 26th March 2020
Dear brothers and sisters,
The pilgrimage of faith is taking us into challenging territory: let us walk together in hope and in the certainty of the presence of Jesus Christ as our companion and guide.
Government regulations on how we now live must be observed. I believe that as Christians we have a moral duty to do play our part in the disciplines needed to contain the coronavirus. This means that our church buildings must be closed and not used for any gathering. Baptisms and weddings in church are also suspended.
The Archbishops have written to clergy, and the Church of England website notes the following specific guidance from that letter:
• Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.
• Funerals can only happen at the crematorium or at the graveside.
• Only immediate family members can attend.
• That is defined as a spouse or partner, parents and children – all maintaining a physical distance.
• Clergy are encouraged to be as creative as possible with streaming services, teaching, and other resources.
• Foodbanks should continue where possible under strict guidelines and may have to move to be delivery points not places where people gather.
Ad Clerum From the Bishop of Chichester – latest update on Covid-19 on 17 March
Dear brothers and sisters,
Following yesterday evening’s message from the Prime Minister and discussions in Parliament, the Archbishops have announced that Church is Changing. The communication can be found at https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/archbishops-call-church-england-become-radically-different-public-worship.
The two key points are that public worship should be suspended (this will include Holy Week services) but that churches should where possible remain open for prayer. This suspension will remain in place until further notice.
The strapline is that the church is changing. The Church, the life of the people of God, the presence of the body of Christ on earth, continues to exist. However, the manifestation of our presence is changing.
What does this mean in practical terms?
- The suspension of public worship does not apply to weddings, funerals, baptisms, and licensing. However, these should go ahead with as few people in attendance as possible. Clergy should use their discretion on what limits to apply. For example, it would be reasonable to limit attendance to the immediate family, excluding anyone who is at risk from infection. If you need further guidance and support, please contact your archdeacon.
- Please keep checking the updates at https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches, where you will find answers to frequently asked questions, with more are being added.
- PCC and other meetings should only go ahead if the chair considers that there is important or essential business. Those who can use email, telephone or video conferencing, should feel free to do so.
- If there are particular matters you wish to see addressed in my letter on Thursday, please let Anna Quick know by emailing email@example.com. I will not be able to address all but will address as many as possible.
- Please ensure that if your church is open, there is a handwashing facility available and all other health and safeguarding regulations are in place,
- Please remove all prayer books, hymn books, prayer cards, etc that might be used by more than one person.
- Many people value being able to light a candle as a sign of prayer; it is good to make this possible.
- You might want to have a poster with contact details available (email and phone number) for the clergy or any other people who have a public and authorised ministry.
This is a massive shift in ministerial life, and it will require us to dig deep into our spiritual reserves and discipline. Inevitably, other issues will also need to be addressed. I will be in touch with you again on Thursday to give you an update on advice as it is received from the Church’s advisors nationally. We will also give details of the Day of Prayer and Action this Sunday when we are asking people to light a candle at 7.00 pm and put it in the window.
We are also working on producing resources from within the diocese for the strengthening and continuation of our spiritual and pastoral life – our apostolic witness.
Finally, please be assured of my continued prayers and my confidence that nothing can separate us from the love of God made known in Christ Jesus.