As I write today (17 May) we have entered step 3 of the roadmap and a further easing of restrictions is taking place. For many, this may be a cause for rejoicing as we are now able to go on holiday to certain countries (without quarantining on return), eat indoors at restaurants and pubs, go to the cinema and sports matches, meet with up to 6 others (or 2 households) indoors, and even give a (cautious!) hug. But for some, perhaps those who have been shielding or are feeling anxious, these new freedoms may lead to further anxiety – will I be safe if I venture into unknown territory? The rise of the Indian variant of the virus is a source of concern at present and who knows exactly what will happen to the proposed date for the ending of restrictions on 21 June?
In the face of ongoing uncertainty, it is good to be reminded by the author of Hebrews that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He will not change, even though things continue to change around us. As we all continue to adjust in our different ways to coming out of lockdown, may I remind you that you are very welcome to attend services at St.Mary’s when you feel comfortable to do so. We are working hard to maintain a covid secure environment and if we all play our part in that by following the protocols in place regarding mask wearing and appropriate social distancing, we can continue to keep each other, and those visiting for services, safe. Currently we have about 10 people attending both our Sunday 8am and Wednesday 10 am services, 30 people attending at Sunday 10am, and a further 10 logging in on Zoom (thanks to our broadband finally being installed at the end of March!). But we do have room for more at every service, so feel free to join us when you are ready (and register using Eventbrite if you wish to come to the 10 am Sunday service – details elsewhere in the magazine).
As mentioned in the last magazine, we had our Easter Prayer and Gift Weekend at the beginning of April. I am delighted to report that this raised around £11,000 (including Gift Aid to be reclaimed) to help replace income we are expecting to lose this year due to the implications of coronavirus. So thank you very much to all those who responded. At the end of April, we held our APCM in church and had a good attendance of about 30 people. The PCC have since consulted with members of the church regarding proposals for payment of parish share and the proposed extension/car park – thank you to all who returned their questionnaires. These will have been talked about at the PCC on 19 May and the PCC will be in touch with people further as a result. Do please keep praying for wisdom for the PCC as it considers these important matters affecting the life of our church.
Finally, please do come to our Summer Fair on Saturday 3 July. We hope for a fine day and the opportunity to be able to freely mix with others in our community as we raise much needed funds for the church (should the fair be unable to go ahead on July 3, we will reschedule it for later in the year instead). Keep an eye out for further details!
With my very best wishes to you and to your loved ones.
Take care and stay safe
Pioneer Team Rector