2021 July to December in the churches
We are supposed to have a road map out of Covid, but that has been delayed. We started the second half of the year with 10 am services in each church plus an 11.30 Zoom service, which we put on youtube later in the day. (These services are all archived on the "Worship" page in the "Archive" section of this website). We re-started Wednesday morning Communion services in St Edmund's at the end of June, and Evensongs at the beginning of July (these alternate - one week at St Edmund's, the next at St Matthew's). We continue to collect for the Food Bank every month - here Julie and Dave take July's car-load to the Hope Centre. Peter produces a weekly video for Walter Evans School, and works with Anna to ensure the Allestree schools have some material. Broadway Baptist Church ran a Take-away Curry evening to support the churches in Nagpur, and served over 100 meals. At St Matthew's we said farewell to Margaret - one of those who had catered for every church event for many years. We ensured the flowers were beautiful for her.
On Wednesday 7 July we married Warren and Hazel at St Edmund's, on Saturday 10 July Graham and Hannah, and on Sunday 11 June we blessed the marriage of Mark and Camille (they had been married in Hong Kong earlier in the year).
Peter has now married all of the Whittaker girls. Emily (married to Seamus June 2021), Amy (married to Benjamin May 2018), and Hannah (to Graham July 2021).
Bianca came to be baptised on Sunday 18 July, here with parents Adam and Katrina, big brother Luca, and the Godparents. It was a very hot day! The Edmund Roses in the Vicarage garden are beautiful again this year. Although the government has relaxed the Covid rules, our Standing Committees both decided that we will keep most of them for now, and move forward slowly.
On Sunday 1 August, Ruby and Harriet (parents Louise and Darren), were baptised at St Edmund's, then Anastasia (parents Alarna and Richard, sisters Ellenah, Florence and Isabella). St Nick's church had Thursday children's activities - Peter had fun with bubbles, and met several children he had christened. The following day saw a change of move. We held a memorial service for Pam at St Edmund's. She was a friend to so many, so it was rather appropriate that the first hymn, the first hymn we have sung together in over a year, was "Now thank we all our God". Then a memorial service for Norah at St Matthew's. She was in Darley Abbey for the first decade of her life, then had a career in the diplomatic service. She had served Her Majesty in Le Paz (Bolivia), Poland and China, before ending her career as Vice-Consul in Melbourne, Australia. She died last year at the age of 92, and her ashes were returned to St Matthew's church to be buried in the grave of her mother. It was a small commemoration, just the family, Vicar, verger and organist - but what a privilege to lead it.
Isla was baptised at St Edmund's on Sunday 8 August. We worked with Preschool to install a new noticeboard at the Church Hall, and then had a busy weekend. A Garden Book Sale on Saturday 14 August brought 77 people to the Vicarage and raised £323 for our link churches in Nagpur in India. Baby Gwen enjoyed her first church social event - she slept through her first Zoom service a couple of weeks ago. We also enjoyed Just Ice ice cream, now made in Darley Abbey.
Two physical services on the morning of Sunday 15 August, but with a sung Gloria and a hymn. A Zoom service, and JACK on zoom in the kitchen.
Then we married Blake and Natalie, with young Marcy at St Matthew's. A family picnic at the Vicarage brought seven families together, including people who knew each other through school and others who had only met on-line. More ice cream was eaten. Then a handful for Evensong. During the service we listened to the rain outside, and gave thanks the storm had not come an hour earlier.
The following weekend was just as busy. We married Max and Helen at St Edmund's on Saturday 21 August, with a wonderful arch of flowers and a full church. We married David and Karen on Sunday with very colourful flowers - David is one of our St Edmund's organists. If you look back to the diary page for May 2020 you can watch him playing "I'm not getting married in the morning" - today was the fourth attempt. We also baptised Alfie (with Ryan and Kathryn) at St Matthew's.
Bank Holiday weekend was also busy. We baptised Elsie at St Edmund's on Saturday 28 August (with parents Shaun and Catriona). The following day we had a United Service (our first in-building united service since December 2019), with a choir of 19, and two hymns for everyone to sing. Marvellous! In the afternoon we married Peter and Sophie at St Matthew's. She arrived behind the wheel of her first car.
The first weekend of September had three wedding couples in St Edmund's, and one outside. Harry and Amy on Friday morning, Natalie and George (with children Amy and Cruz) on Saturday, followed by Christopher and Emma.
Outside the church we had another couple, and the Vicar and Reader too. Colin and Amy had done a wonderful job - but we don't usually transport a groom like this. The village had a wonderful Festival.
On Sunday 5 September we had three morning services and then baptised Elliot with dad Richard, mum Lisa, brother Zack and sister Rosie (they both had their baptism candles so Diane got the job of supervising them too).
The Friends of St Matthew's met for their start-of-year Communion on Tuesday 7 September. In another show of normality, Clive put gift aid envelopes back out on the pews.
On 11 September we married Faye and Jay at St Edmund's. Peter said it felt like an episode of Midsommer Murder, Vicar found dead under a hanging basket erected by the Churchwarden. The wedding cake was stunning!
Like many other churches, in our worship this weekend we remembered the events of 11 September 2001. Peter spoke about how he watched the events unfurl while sitting on a bench in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmund's. It was, according to the Borough Council, "the world's first internet bench" - it had a phone socket you could plug a laptop in. He had been asked to talk about it on Anglia TV's Sunday programme, so had gone to the bench with the Cathedral laptop to make sure it worked. In our prayers we asked God's forgiveness for the sins of the world, and held the victims and their families in our prayers.