2021 January to June in the churches

Covid-19 continues to affect every aspect of our life. We start the year in "Tier 4 Stay at Home". It is legal to attend church services, so we had small services in each church - David was playing the organ at St Edmund's. The majority of people worshipped on Zoom at 11.30 am. Peter talked about this book which he remembers from his childhood - it brings the excitement of Epiphany. Like journeying Wise Men, Elizabeth and Darley have walked 150 miles in December, and raised over £400 for St Matthew's church. Thank you!

On Monday 4 January the country went back into national lockdown. On this occasion churches were told they could remain open, but both PCC Standing Committees decided we did not feel it safe, or think it wise, to continue with physical services in the buildings. The official permissions to close from Bishop Libby are here. As a result everything moved onto Zoom from Sunday 10 January. This drawing by David Kossoff reminds us to pray for our leaders, for vision, healing and peace as we journey into 2021. 

St Edmund's Junior Church met at 10 am on Sunday 17 January by Zoom, We read the story of Samuel and Eli and made ears to help us hear what God is saying to us. We were so efficient that photos of our ears were included in the Zoomed service at 11.30. Photos posted with permission.

Sunday 31 January was a fifth Sunday. Normally we would have been together for a United Service and had a procession with lots of lighted candles. This year we met on Zoom and had our candles at home. It was still a special service as we ended our Christmas celebration and turned to look towards Lent and Easter. 

We had a little less excitement on Sunday 7 February. Peter's sermon included this picture of the Annunciation by Robert Campin - the Merode Altarpiece. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (and the picture is in the public domain). All the sermons and liturgy from this year are on the Archive tab of this website, and the videos can be found on youtube as well. We have about 45 screens (circa 60 people) on Sundays at 11.30, plus another 50 or so watching the video the following week.

Mike and Shirley did a Food Bank run. Food had been left in Primrose's Book Shed at the Vicarage and they took it to the Hope Centre.

On Ash Wednesday evening (17 February) we had Book of Common Prayer Evensong and prayed the Litany on Zoom. Our anthem was "Lord, let me know mine end" by Maurice Greene. He is the gentleman sat on the left in this painting by Francis Hayman in 1747. 

During Lent a group met on Zoom to discuss the Archbishop's Lent Book.

The March Food Bank run saw another full car go the Hope Centre.

Both church Standing Committees met by Zoom in the second week of March and started making plans to re-open our church buildings, hopefully on Easter Sunday. In the meantime, Zoom worship continues every Sunday (and will continue even when churches re-open). 

For Mothering Sunday weekend our flower team prepared bunches which were left in both church porches for people to collect on Saturday - a card "with love from the churches" was attached. The image is from a stained glass window by Leonard Evetts. We wondered if we might have lots of flowers left over - they had all gone by 12.30 pm. 45 screens (65 people) joined us for our Zoom Mothering Sunday worship, and the Youtube video of the service was watched 53 times. 

We celebrated the Feast of St Joseph on Friday 19 March with Zoom Choral Evensong., There were 22 screens, so about 40 people. Peter used three pictures in his homily, including “La Madonna del Gatto” (The Madonna of the Cat) by Frederico Barocci. He protrays the Holy Family as a very ordinary family. Selwyn the Vicarage Cat is pleased to know they had a cat too. 

Tuesday 23 March was a Day of Reflection. We opened both churches at lunchtime and tolled the bells in memory, then had Evensong on Zoom with this Reflection Film. 

Palm crosses were left in both church porches for people to collect on Saturday - with an Easter card. The images are from stained glass windows by Leonard Evetts. 

We had 47 screens, about 70 people, for Zoom on Palm Sunday, and had six Zoom Complines through Holy Week. Compline is the late-night service of the monastery, and we read through the Passion Narrative in Mark. The first five services came from Peter's study, but on Holy Saturday we broadcast from St Edmund's. The only way we could get a decent wifi signal was to have the the receiver outside and the door open - it was a little cold by 8.30 pm after the door had been open for two hours! Alex and Matt were in charge of the technical side, and Alex also put the "social distancing" tape in place for Sunday.

Louise produced Easter packages for all the members of the St Edmund's Luncheon Club.

Anna, the Children's Worker at St Nick's (whose work we support and help finance) produced an on-line Easter Experience for local schools. There was a video and craft activities for every day of Holy Week (Peter did the talk for Maundy Thursday). You can find them at:

Artwork from Walter Evans School decorated the Fellowship Room and

St Matthew's church.

We opened both churches on Easter Sunday morning.

We still had limited numbers, face masks, social distancing and are unable to sing hymns, but it was good to be back.

We Zoomed as well.

We had 33 at St Edmund's and 37 at St Matthew's at 10, 23 screens (about 27 people) on Zoom, and 16 for Evensong and Communion at 6 pm in St Edmund's. We had a choir of five in the evening - a small group of singers are allowed "if essential for communal worship". 

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