You are invited to join us in singing some favourite hymns in our lovely Downland Church accompanied by a complimentary glass of Pimms. If you would like to request a specific hymn, let me know.
Downland Churches Re-allocation
Churchgoers will have noticed a reduction in the number of attendees at services. I understand that the Government, in its eternal wisdom or possibly lack of it, is proposing that a large number of rural churches are to have their use re-allocated. The detail, so far as the Downland churches are concerned, means that St John the Evangelist, Newtimber will continue as a Church of England place of worship; St Andrews, Edburton will be given over to an Islamic Mosque; Holy Trinity, Poynings will be a Masonic Temple and The Church of the Transfiguration, Pyecombe will be the new Downland humanist meeting point. Regrettably there is no known procedure to alter these re-allocations, which have been governed by the pandemic and a need to raise income for the Benefice of Chichester. It has been suggested that, within the current Covid restrictions, the intended day of re-allocation, Sunday 25 July 2021, be treated as a local day of celebration and food and entertainment be provided at a venue to be decided in Fulking. The RSPCA have offered to hold a dog show there on that date. 1.4.21
Our Lurcher bitch, Lola, passed away on 18 March and I cannot tell you what a big void this has created in our lives. She was a stray from Allsorts Dog Rescue when we were lucky enough to rehome her 11 years ago and since then had become an important member of the family. When she was younger she was a joy to watch gliding across the Downs and playing with other dogs. She was a great hunter. Recently she had aged a lot and we were not overly surprised to see her go. Only dog owners will appreciate how great the loss can be. We will be looking for a replacement for her and would appreciate anyone hearing of a bitch that needs a new home to get in touch on 271. It has been very touching how many locals have offered sympathy and help. Our thanks to all of you.
The really wet winter means that bluebells at Furzefield should be good this year and we would be delighted to have villagers have a wander round, from probably the last week in April. No dogs and children under strict control! Give us a ring on 271 if you are interested so we can comply with whatever Covid 19 restrictions are in place. Generally easy to see how they are coming on from Clappers Lane as you are passing.
I have often wondered why, in a country which needs to integrate its population, how so many diverse religious groups’ faith schools can be encouraged and indeed funded. The recent decapitation in France of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty has once again thrown a highlight on religious intolerance. While this execution did not happen on British soil other faith killings have done. It must surely to true that to achieve maximum integration, the more that children in schools can mix with different ideas and faiths the better. So far as I am aware, here in Fulking, there is no intolerance of any kind. Indeed, a complete lack of interest in which faiths are present in the village seems to exist. As an atheist I find this very praiseworthy and have no desire whatsoever to attempt to convert others to my way of thinking. For me Don Bradman always has been and always will always be the almighty!
A very praiseworthy amount of time has been given up by village volunteers in putting together a system of recycling those things that are difficult to classify. The village bus shelter is now the focal point and the Community Skill Swap Whats app site a fund of knowledge and help. Have a look at the Fulking village website under Environment and then Waste Services which gives a very explanatory review of what can or cannot be recycled.
So far as I know, the number of COVID victims in Fulking is quite low even though we have several villagers involved with National Health issues or coming into contact with the public. The recent surge worldwide makes it even more important for all of us to continue to behave in a responsible manner. Masking, distancing and washing hands should always be carried out. It is quite possible that the creation of a vaccine, when it comes, will not be the end of the pandemic but a useful tool in mitigating its ravages. Whatever happens the world as we knew it will never be the same again and it will be up to us the create something better than we had before.
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.