Events, News and Miscellaneous
Here you can find out about what is currently happening in the church together with recent events.
We are delighted to announce that the Revd. Nicola Bown has been appointed to be the new Rector of St Mary’s Cottingham after a unanimous decision by the interviewing panel. The Revd. Bown will move to the village from Linton near Cambridge with her husband and two sons as soon as present circumstances allow.
We look forward to welcoming Nicola and her family to St Mary’s as soon as it is possible for us to do so.
The Church of England website https://www.churchofengland.org/ has links to some videos of services and worship resources.
There are more links on its Coronavirus page, at https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches. If you are on Facebook, you may find others there, including some videos of choral evensongs.
And Radio 3 has its regular choral evensong on a Sunday at 3.00 p.m. (Usually it is a repeat of that broadcast the previous Wednesday at 3.30 p.m.)
Unfortunately the church is now closed until further notice.
Funerals are the only service allowed with very restricted numbers
The church magazine will not be published until further notice.
Prayer in the Ether
Greetings all and a particular welcome to our new friends
The Prayers for this week are followed a brief commentary on the letter of James to the Early Church
In the midst of a storm,
You said, ‘Peace be still.’
Bid our anxious fears subside,
Sustain your Church in faith, hope and love,
Bring our nation through this tumult,
Grant wisdom to those with heavy responsibilities,
And healing and hope to those who are infected.
For the doctors’ skills
Of looking and testing,
Used to diagnose what is wrong.
Lord of all healing:
We thank you.
For the nurses’ skills
In technology and care.
Used to carry out treatments.
Lord of all healing:
We thank you.
For the paramedics’ skills
At accidents and emergencies
Used to reassure, and limit damage.
Lord of all healing:
We thank you.
For medical workers with wide ranging skills
In hospitals and the community.
Bringing hope, help and comfort.
Lord of all healing:
We thank you.
Read James 2 vs 1-9
For James the link between our faith and our daily lives is essential. For James, faith without action is dead.
He uses the example of asking how can we give more attention, time and honour to others, based on their appearance or their wealth?
Maybe we do not discriminate based of wealth, but often we discriminate or treat people differently based on gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. There is a link between the faith we confess and how we engage with others, especially those who express themselves differently to us.
Purity codes in the Bible are concerned with cleanliness and justifying people’s inclusion or exclusion from the community. But Jesus turns these codes and expectations upside down as he includes women and children, foreigner and outcast. Jesus discriminated in favour of the pushed-out or abused victim.
Acknowledging and acting on connecting the faith we confess and the life we live brings abundance and fulness of life to the whole world.
God of the poor, embrace the sick, the homeless and the hungry today. May our lives show your compassion and acceptance, bringing transformation to our world.
18th March 2020
Dearly Beloved in Christ
First of all, thank you so much for everything that you are doing in these difficult and unprecedented times. We will all have heard with a very heavy heart the news that we must suspend normal Sunday and weekday activities for the time being.
But this does not mean that ‘the Church is closed.’ Rather, it is an opportunity to pray, witness and serve, albeit in ways that are not what we are used to.
The Archbishops of York and Canterbury have published a letter1 and there is information2 on the Church of England website, which we anticipate will be developed and enlarged during this period.
1 What can we do locally?
To some extent this will depend on your own situation, but there are some principles that apply everywhere:
To be constant in prayer
- To stay safe and ensure others are safe
- To be servant-leaders among colleagues
- To look out for those who are vulnerable, distressed or lonely
- To help people not to be fearful
Here are some points about practical matters. Advice and guidance may change as time goes on, and you should check the Church of England website for the current advice, but for now we can say this:
2 Can normal Sunday and weekday services take place?
No, with much regret, these are suspended until further notice.
3 What worship can I hold in my church building?
You can hold a service by inviting individually a very small number of people (such as ministry colleagues or church officers) to join with you: we would suggest four or five, asking them to sit at least 3m apart. If you hold a service of Holy Communion in this way, please observe the existing procedure of not exchanging the Peace with hand contact, and administer Communion in one kind only. Clergy should not use
their homes as a substitute venue for celebrating Holy Communion, or for gathering people together for any group study or meeting.
4 But can my church be open to the public at other times?
Yes please! We expect that many people may wish to come to spend time in church buildings. A simple ‘Church Open’ sign (perhaps with times) can be a source of comfort to the public. Again it is important that people can maintain physical distance whilst in the building. There are prayers published3 on the Church of England website, and we shall also be posting material on the Diocese of York website (accessed through www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/coronavirus) that you can leave in church for people to pick up, use and take away. Try to ensure good hygiene: keep door handles etc as clean as possible, and make sure the signage to WC and washing facilities is clear.
5 What about baptisms, marriages and funerals?
This guidance may be updated depending on any advice from the Church of England’s national office.
You should try to agree with families that baptisms be postponed. A large and close gathering is not appropriate at this time. If you are asked to baptize in an
emergency, observe the hygiene procedures for your own and everyone else’s wellbeing.
Similarly with marriages: if a couple insist on a marriage going ahead, please ask them to agree to a small number of people being present, and not crowding into the building. There will be further legal advice about preliminaries for marriage, which are likely to include the issue of Common Licences as banns cannot be published.
Funeralswill be a particularly sensitive matter. Of course it is right that mourners should be able to receive the pastoral care of the Church, and so fostering a good relationship with funeral directors is essential. Families may be self-limiting in terms of numbers and what they are confident about doing. Clergy and Readers may conduct funerals as normal in church or a crematorium, with a small number of people such as close family present, provided that as far as possible people can stand well apart from one another (though common sense says it is impossible to stop some mourners holding onto each other for comfort). In these exceptional circumstances, Church of England funerals may be conducted in funeral directors’ private chapels if that is the best solution to a pastoral problem. Be accommodating if, for instance, a family member wants to video a funeral or committal for the sake of those who cannot be present. The quality of care that the Church offers bereaved people now will be of unparalleled importance.
6 Activity and ministry by those who are in high risk groups
Please do not ask those who are in high risk groups to put themselves in harm’s way. Whilst it may be a challenge in terms of reorganising duties, we are asking those who are over 70 not to officiate at funerals or weddings.
7 What about routine meetings?
Again you should only hold meetings where a small number of people can sit at a physical distance from one another. There will be official advice about APCMs if you have not already held yours: any meeting of that kind should be postponed, as should normal PCC meetings.
Whilst informal “virtual” meetings via Skype or telephone or similar may well be helpful in the coming weeks, for any decisions requiring the formal agreement of the PCC we are advised that (under Rule M29 of the Church Representation Rules) the chair of the PCC is permitted to conduct business by correspondence “if he or she considers that any business can properly be conducted by correspondence”. The rule sets out the process to follow. The term “correspondence” includes email correspondence where a PCC member has provided an email address. However, if some members of the PCC have not provided an email address then they will have to be sent a letter. The Registrar would advise deferring as far as is possible contentious issues which require debate rather than seeking to rely on rule M29.
Those with parish administrators are asked to arrange for them to work from home, if that is possible.
8 What about schools?
It has now been decided that schools will close. If you have contact details for local school leaders, please remember that they still bear responsibilities and it would be good if you could continue to offer them your support.
9 What about pastoral care and visits?
You may be able to make more use of telephone or social media contact. A cascade or cell system of contacts within the congregation and wider community can make it possible for people, especially those who are vulnerable, to know that they are not forgotten, and for concerns about individuals to be passed along. Face-to-face pastoral visits should be avoided if the person concerned has actual or suspected coronavirus. With much regret, the normal provision of home Communion is suspended.
Meanwhile please do be in touch with support organisations such as your local foodbank, about how you and your church community can be in a relationship of mutual support with them.
10 Take care of yourself
We know that we are entering a difficult time, but there is much that we do not know about what the coming weeks and months will hold. Please do not put yourself at avoidable and unnecessary risk. If you have a moment, phone a colleague so that you can check on each other. If there is something about which you are concerned or anxious, please contact your bishop or archdeacon. Eating healthily, taking exercise and time off, and giving time to family are things that can get squeezed in difficult times, and are vitally important now.
11 A community of prayer
Since we aren’t able to meet together so often in the normal way, it’s all the more important to remember that we are a community of prayer, joined in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, even if we are physically separated. By joining in daily prayer we strengthen our relationship with God and the bonds that exist between us as Christ’s people, his friends and servants.
This comes with the assurance our love and prayers for you and those for whom you have a special care.
Yours most sincerely, and with thanks as always for our partnership in the Gospel
XGlyn Beverley XPaul Whitby
XJohn Selby XAlison Hullen
Prayer in Ether
1. We pray for those who are particularly fearful at the moment.
Pray for those in our communities who may feel vulnerable and scared.
Pray that the love of God might be their peace. That they may know that even in the darkest times God’s love brings hope.
- 2. We pray for the most vulnerable and isolated in our neighbourhoods.
Pray for those who are currently self-isolating in our neighbourhoods.
Pray for older people who are concerned about shopping, regular hospital appointments and general day to day contact with other people.
Bring to God the regular activities for older and more vulnerable people provided by our churches. Pray for wisdom for church leaders to know how to keep people connected and safe.
We pray for the medical staff on the frontline of care, we pray that they will be sustained physically, emotionally and spiritually in the coming weeks.
Pray for medics in our own congregations.
We pray that God will be their shield and their strength.
We pray for wisdom and insight as to how to support those in our congregations and communities involved in frontline care.
- 3. Pray for our world leaders and for the leaders in our own country that they will seek the wisdom of God as they make decisions over the coming days.
Pray for physical strength for our leaders
- 4. We pray for all those leading the scientific response to COVID-19 across the world.
Pray for the scientists from across the globe as they look for ways to alleviate symptoms and as they seek a vaccine for the future.
- Pray for all God’s people in this time of uncertainty and concern. That our eternal hope would make an earthly difference.
- Pray for a sense of calm and clarity as well as strength to face what is ahead. That Christians will be 'beacons of hope' and 'carriers of the message of peace' at this time.
God our Father, Creator of the world, almighty and merciful, out of love for us
You sent your Son into the world as the doctor of our souls and our bodies,
look upon your children who, in this difficult time of confusion and dismay in
many regions of Europe and the world, turn to you seeking strength, salvation
and relief, deliver us from illness and fear, heal our sick, comfort their families, give wisdom
to our rulers, energy and reward to our doctors, nurses and volunteers, eternal
life to the dead. Do not abandon us in the moment of trial but deliver us from all
We ask this of you, who with the Son and the Holy Spirit, live and reign for
ever and ever. AMEN
Click here for the link to THE JOURNAL of The Diocese of York