We have been holding our Sunday services on-line during this Covid-19 lock-down. It has been encouraging to see so many people coming together via Zoom; last Sunday 37 devices were signed in, many with two people on board, and guests are joining us from as far away as Spain and Australia. If you would like to join us please do get in touch with your email address so that we can add you to the weekly invitation list.
Closer to home; our church finances are a bit worrying. We had a (virtual) meeting of our Benefice Council this week where we learned from our treasurers that each of our four churches is likely to be down on income by around £4,500 this year as we are not able to hold our usual fundraising events and, of course there are no weekly collections or gifts from visitors to our churches. Unfortunately the savings we make as a result of our churches being closed are very small as most of our outgoings continue regardless – such as our insurance premiums and Parish Share to the diocese.
I very much hope that you will be able to join our on-line Downland Benefice service of Holy Communion this Sunday, 19th April, 2020 at 10:30am. Please bring with you a small portion of bread and wine. To do so, from 10.15 a.m. on Sunday, please click here and follow the instructions that appear on your screen. Please let me know if there is anyone or anything you would like to be included in our prayers of intercession or in my private prayers for you.
You will of course be aware that the Prime Minister has said that places of worship are to be closed; I have been instructed by the Archbishops and our bishop that the buildings are to be locked. I have placed notices in each of our churches to that effect and, very sadly, the doors will remain locked for the time being. The Archbishops have also said that until further notice we may not conduct weddings or baptisms – so please remember in your thoughts and prayers those whose special days have been disrupted.
The decision has been made that public worship will be suspended for the time being. The four Benefice churches will remain open for private prayer during normal opening hours. Weddings, baptisms and funerals will still be able to take place but with as few people as possible in attendance. We we hope we will be able to get back to normal as soon as possible but in the meantime please hold one another in prayer in these challenging times.
[Note also that Toddlers (Fulking Village Hall) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.]
The philosophical little dog that has featured in the margins of the Church Vine and in many of Graham Jeffery’s books over the years now has a book of his own. The Steyning Bookshop (01903 812062) has it on order.