Our Parochial Church Council has made the decision to continue with online services until the coronavirus situation improves, although you are welcome to visit our churches for private prayer. Please remember the rules we are all so familiar with now, about wearing a mask and sanitising your hands.
Our online services continue with Pause for Prayer every weekday at 10.00am, an Iona Service at 7.30pm each Tuesday and our main act of worship at 10.00am on Sundays. We have enjoyed a variety of interesting Sunday Services recently. At the beginning of February, for instance, after hearing the story of how the baby Jesus was presented in the Temple to two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, we watched video clips of interviews with several of our longstanding church members, before witnessing the Thanksgiving for the birth of our youngest member, 3 week old William. This was a good example of how online services cannot replicate services in person – William could not be baptised remotely, and we could not share communion together – but people from all three congregations, and beyond, were able to experience together events that would just not have been possible “live”. Thanks, as ever, to the technical wizards who make all this happen, and of course to the many clergy and lay people who work together to present these services.
There have been several events recently which have helped to shake us out of the February lockdown gloom, including by popular request another Zoom sing-along, and on Shrove Tuesday a Pancake Party which included a competition to find the decorated pancake most resembling a member of our clergy – the results were not especially flattering, but a good time was had by all.
Now we are in the season of Lent, our regular services will be supplemented by Compline every Sunday evening, with a series of talks on Women in the Bible. The Making Group, which produced the wonderful Nativity Figures many of you will have seen in St Mary’s, is meeting via Zoom this year, but you can be sure they will still be able to produce something visually stunning to help us celebrate Easter, whatever form that will take this year. Our theme for Lent this year is “Beauty for Ashes”, God’s promise of Joy after Suffering. We have been encouraged to submit images and thoughts on whatever has sustained us during these difficult times for our “Beauty for Ashes” Online Calendar, which is well worth looking at on our website, which also has ideas on Lenten activities for children, and much more, see the special section for Lent and Easter.
Anne Handsley, 22nd February 2021