ABOUT OUR CHURCH
10 Mar 2021
How are you? Since I last wrote to you in November it has been an extremely difficult time for everybody. The winter has seemed long and hard and cold in so many ways. It has sometimes felt like there was no end in sight, that we would be stuck in perpetual winter like some cursed fairy story land.
But there are changes afoot. The vaccination programme is moving forward at an astonishing rate. Many of you will have received your first jab already and will be eagerly awaiting the booster shortly. I am looking forward to getting my jab in the coming weeks. If you are hesitant to get the vaccine, please may I encourage you to do so. It is the safest and simplest way of protecting the whole community. I would be very happy to chat to anybody who is nervous about it. Just give me a ring.
We in the UK are very fortunate to have a world-leading understanding of virus mutations and vaccination development. We are also privileged to receive our vaccinations for free on the NHS. Perhaps, as a thank offering to God, you might like to consider making a donation towards the international effort to vaccinate the poorer parts of the world. This will benefit everybody, since mutations of the virus can crop up anywhere, as we have seen, and the only solution to a pandemic is a global vaccination programme. If you would like to donate please click on this UNICEF link to find out how: https://www.unicef.org.uk/donate/jan21-em-covax/
The Prime Minister has set out a possible time table for the easing of restrictions. I for one was greatly heartened by this. Even though the time scales may slip, we can be confident that there is a tangible goal for the resurrection of our social and communal life.
With that in mind, I am writing to inform you about developments at church and how the church councils and staff team are planning our safe return to worship. These arrangements are subject to PCC discussions later this month, but I wanted to give you some idea of what we are thinking.
As things stand, the aim is to begin worship with social distancing again on Easter Day – Sunday 4th April. This will be with an early morning service at St Mary Magdalen’s (time to be decided), followed by 10am services at both churches.
In the run up to Easter there will be two events. On Passion Sunday (21st March) I will host Zoom coffee at 10am. Click on this link to go there - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85795405183
On Palm Sunday there will be no service in church but we shall have tables outside both churches with palm crosses on for people to come and take.
Each day during Holy Week there will be a video reflection from each of the staff team members, beginning on Palm Sunday and running through to Good Friday. You will find these each day on the YouTube channel here: St George's and St Mary Magdalen's Tilehurst - YouTube
Finally, we will start face to face worship again in both churches on Easter Day.
As part of our phased return to normality on Easter Day we shall start using the high altars again for the eucharist. Distribution of communion will still take place at our seats for safety reasons, but I see this as a first step back towards normality. Our worship rightly reflects where are at the moment, and, while we have been lamenting the pandemic and its effect on our lives, the note of hope which I mentioned earlier should also be reflected in our worship as well. It’s not the whole way back yet, but it is a step in the right direction.
Here is a summary for you.
Passion Sunday 21st March - 10am Zoom Coffee - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85795405183
Palm Sunday 28th March – Palm Crosses outside church.
Holy Week – daily YouTube videos from the Staff Team - St George's and St Mary Magdalen's Tilehurst - YouTube
Easter Sunday 4th April – Sunrise service at St Mary Magdalen’s, and a 10am service at both churches. all with social distancing.
Finally, thank you for your patience. Thank you for your good will. Thank you for your generosity. The future is unclear, but we have a God who is faithful and he will guide us through the coming weeks and months as we start to rebuild our society.
With every blessing,