This week’s midweek thought is now available here and it would be helpful to watch it before reading the rest of this email!
I do hope you are all managing and getting the help you need. I am going to repeat the offer of help again, please do not fear asking people thinking they are too busy. People are desperate to help and I have a whole list of volunteers ready to help out as needed.
We all have good days and bad days, yesterday when I recorded this week’s message was not such a good day for me. Today though I have already been out for a walk in the sunshine with Jojo and was listening to a podcast (like an online discussion about something) and they were talking about grief. One of the things that really struck me was the idea that we cannot allow our future fears of an unknown set of circumstances to rob us of the joy we could find in today. That’s the thing, we are dealing with an unknown situation, we don’t know what restrictions will be lifted and when and as time goes on speculation increases. I don’t think it helps.
I was in a meeting yesterday and we were discussing how we will come out of lockdown well as churches, what lessons are we learning, how we will both grieve for those we lose in this time and celebrate being able to gather again. These were all good questions and important for us to think about. It was a good discussion, until people started talking about when it might be and debating months and then expressing what joy they will feel when they can do X, Y or Z.
There will be joy to come, but if we keep postponing experiencing any joy until such a time we do not make this time any easier. So, please do keep looking for the joy and creating joy. Look at the flowers you have in your garden and don’t think about the ones you wish you could have bought and planted this year. Enjoy the food you have to eat today and don’t think about the food you wish you could have had. Delight in an in-depth chat with someone on the phone rather than snatched conversations with many over coffee.
If you want to gather with others then the Honeycomb cafe still meets every Tuesday at 10:30am and the link you need every week is available if you email me.
Cake and Company are also meeting on Wednesdays at 2pm and the link you need every week is also available if you email me.
In my message this week I talk about some of the F words of Christianity…
Faith - I hope I encourage you to keep pursuing God and feeding your faith, to trust in Him.
Finances - this situation is obviously going to seriously hit our income for this year and we will have to take from our reserves to balance the books. We are not destitute, but we will have to tighten our belts in coming years. We have reduced all costs as much as we can and the diocese announced yesterday there will be some relief with parish share, but only a very small amount. If you are a monthly giver, I encourage you to please keep giving to the church monthly. If you were a weekly giver or gave when you came then I ask you to please put some money aside for the church if you can or to begin monthly online giving. Our bank details are:
CAF Bank, Sort Code: 40-52-40 Account Number: 00032398
If you are able to begin giving and you are a taxpayer please do let me know so that we can send you a Gift Aid form and make your donation worth an additional 25%.
Funerals - this is such a hard topic and not one I ever really want to deal with by email. I had planned an evening session to talk about this issue in a much gentler way, but obviously I can’t at the moment.
So often when I go to meet with families to talk about funerals there is a lot of anguish about planning the funeral and trying to decide what hymns, readings, charities etc… to choose. There is always so much relief when the person who has died has made clear their wishes in advance. We all want to do the best for those we love in life and so I am sure many of us would want to do the same for them in death too. So, I have attached to this email something that you can fill in. This helps you to think about and jot down ideas that will help your family. It may also help you open up discussion, though I know a lot of you are talking about this anyway. You can then leave your completed document somewhere for your family, or send it to me and we can keep them at church. (document is below this message).
Please hear this clearly - this is NOT because I am expecting Covid-19 to suddenly have a terrible impact on us as a church family and I hope none of this will be needed for a very, very long time. But, this is because I think we cannot be afraid to talk about these matters and because I know how helpful it is for families to have a starting point. Please forgive me if any hurt is caused by this message and attachment.
As this is quite such a long and weighty email a further one will follow on Friday with more information about future plans and ways for us to stay in touch.
With my love as always,
The Revd Sue Cooke
As of Tuesday 17th March at 9:30am
Following latest announcements we have currently suspended ALL church activities for the next 48 hours whilst we wait for further information from the Church of England.
This means Honeycomb Cafe, Youth Cafe and Getting Crafty are NOT happening this week.
I expect there to be more announcements in the next 48 hours, especially regarding Sunday services.
Important Information on how we at All Saints deal with the challenge of containing the spread of the Corona Virus
The Church of England the Diocese of Guildford keep updating their advice and we are following that and will continue to review our response. We will be communicating via email, Facebook and our website.
First of all, if you are concerned, lonely or in need of supplies please do contact Rev Sue. We are church, which means we are family and we want to do all we can to help one another.
If you are unwell and need to self-isolate please do
let me know, especially if you need any help. We also need to monitor who in
the parish is unwell. If you are tested for the virus and test positive please
tell Rev Sue ASAP. You can email her, call the Vicarage on 020 8393 9583
or her mobile on 07392 762592.
For now, we do need to think about some sensible steps
for when we gather on Sunday. Whatever one's personal view on the seriousness
of the virus, love means we want to act for any who are concerned about meeting
together for worship. So, we would ask the following:
1. If you have a sustained cough or high temperature
please self-isolate as per government advice.
2. Please refrain from shaking hands, hugging and
kissing when you see people. This means they are not put in the position of
feeling they must reciprocate when they are unwilling to.
3. Please consider washing your hands on arriving and
leaving, and try not to touch your face in the meantime.
4. Please keep an eye on your children if you have
them, to encourage them to wash hands and be aware of their contact with others
5. For Communion. - we will be distributing in one
kind only. This means only wafers will be given out.
6. We will not be sharing the Peace.
7. There will be no laying on of hands for any
blessings or prayer ministry.
8. We will not be passing around collection baskets.
Refreshments and Catering
1. We intend to ensure a hand sanitizer is available.
2. Please could those serving ensure they have washed
and santized their hands.
3. Please do not help yourself to drinks but allow those serving to serve you,
so only they touch the dispensers.
4. There will be no shared plates of food and so no biscuits etc… if you would
like a biscuit or snack with your tea then please bring you own. We will also
be using disposable cups.
5. At cafe church we will serve individually wrapped
biscuits instead of cake.
6. At all other church activities there will be no
communal bowls of crisps, snacks, plates of cakes from which you can help
7. If you are particularly susceptible due to your
age, current medical condition please consider bringing your own drink with you
or not staying for refreshments.