May 2020 - Holy Habit: Gladness and Generosity
There is a great deal of information here, but I want you all to be kept in the loop as to what is happening and what to pray for. If you have any questions, let me know, but also keep watching the website, and both Main and Church Family Facebook pages. With communication being two way, we also want to hear from you. As you know we are, as a Church, acquiring Holy Habits and, having finished Biblical Teaching, we are for the next two months studying Gladness and Generosity. What are you glad about today or this week? Share the news and photos or short video clips with us so that the church family can celebrate with you. And, if you have any ideas as to how we can model generosity, please keep them coming in.
Attached is a photo which always lifts my soul and makes me feel glad. We were down at Mummy and Paul’s, it was my birthday, and my children are extremely glad to be tucking into a ‘Belly Buster’ which arrived with indoor sparklers lit – basically it is a very large Eton Mess with added extras.
The Annual Report has been passed by the PCC, I have signed it, after a couple of tweaks, and sent it off to the Auditors who will then sign it and return it to me, after which we can post it to the website so that you can all read it. I believe this is the first time in our history that we have had a full audit (made necessary by the generous bequest we received at the end of last year from Denise Baker). It was a huge undertaking for those involved, primarily Martin and Deborah, so a huge vote of thanks to them. Without this bequest, and two smaller bequests we will receive this year, we would have been in a difficult position financially. A legacy sub-committee will be coming up with suggestions as to how we might best use these welcome bequests.
Annual Meetings We received a letter from the Archdeacons regarding Annual Meetings, PCCs and Deanery Representatives. In summary, the time for holding both the meeting of parishioners to appoint churchwardens, and the APCM, has been extended to 31 October (it was due to have been held on 26 April). Churchwardens will remain in place until the Archdeacons’ visitations between 31 October 2020 and 31 January 2021. Lay representatives on deanery synods elected in 2017 (or elected to fill a casual vacancy since then) will continue to hold office until 30 November 2020. Newly-elected lay representatives for deanery synods will hold office from 1 December 2020. All of this may well be superseded by further instructions from the Archdeacons and Acts of Parliament.
PCC’s Are still responsible for the governance of the parish and are encouraged to meet remotely wherever possible to avoid putting members at risk. Rule M29 of the Church Representation Rules permits PCCs to transact business by correspondence. PCC members will stay in place until the APCM when new PCC members can be voted in: my thanks to all those who are on the PCC, they take their position seriously and are always fully engaged. There will be vacancies coming up soon and I had left a book in church for people to have a look at (it wasn’t there when I checked yesterday so I hope someone has borrowed it) if they would like to consider this important role.
Church Services Our Sunday morning services continue with an 8am audio service, and 9am and 10.45 services which are videoed. Downloads over the last four week have ranged at the 8am from 26-71, at the 9am 92-334, and at the 10.45 258-847. The 9am is always HC as this is easier for those producing the service, but was also preferred above Morning Prayer by many. The 10.45 is all age each week, with a children’s service once a month and, when it seems most appropriate, it is HC. From checking numbers on the website at the time of the services, it would appear that it is the 9am service which is best attended at the actual time of the service. We have picked up a number of people who used to be members of St Margaret’s but have relocated around the country, and those who have been unable to attend our early morning services for a while for health reasons, so it is clear that there will be a need, even after lockdown, to record and make available our services to those who are no longer able to attend. We have also picked up a number of people from around the country who have links with the church and whose own churches are not able to offer online services. Messy Church took place on Easter Saturday and was enjoyed over the whole weekend, it was wonderful to see so many people of all ages leading. Easter packs were also sent out to children, and were warmly received. A short service (put together by Andrew) and candles, were sent out by Kate to all the homes in Mugswell for Easter.
We are going to look at the equipment which may make it possible for us to record the whole service once we are back in church. Although it is doubtful that it could be live-streamed, it may be possible to put it up on the website, or on a YouTube channel, on a Sunday morning. This would enable those who are no longer able to attend the opportunity of continuing to worship with us.
A huge thank you to Ray for splicing the services together: he’s developing a really good ministry with his add-ins, and I really appreciate his attention to detail. If you think you might be able to get involved in this vital ministry, please do contact Ray - it is a big ask to put together 3 services every week.
One of the things which most people are reporting is helping them, is seeing, as well as hearing, other members of the congregation. To this end, please can I ask that you contact Sally Foxen to let her know if you would be happy to read, or intercede, or take part in any of our services. We also hope to shortly set up a virtual coffee time between the 9 and 10.45 (10-10.40) so that we can see one another – you will have to provide your own coffee!
Thy Kingdom Come Having been organised well in advance, the original resources for this year are in Susie’s car! Obviously the thoroughly enjoyable local events we have enjoyed over the past two years won’t be able to happen, but I’m hoping that lockdown might mean that more people will be able to actively engage in, appreciate and enjoy, the resources we’ll be posting on Social Media soon. TKC starts on Ascension Day – 21st May – and finishes on Pentecost – 31st May.
We know that in prayer the pray-er is called to action. So, this year we will be encouraging all not simply to pray that friends and family, colleagues and neighbours might encounter the love of God in Christ, but that they would experience that love in action. We are calling this ‘Prayer and Care’. Of course in churches up and down the country doing this is a daily reality, and this time of prayer gives itself to an even deeper engagement with the needs around us. There are a whole load of ways we are suggesting this could happen; by care, by contact, by service – but serving as Christ serves. The app isn’t engaged yet, but may the anticipation begin! We also hope to be partnering with an Australian church to offer 24 hour prayer.
Patronal Festival We hope to be able to come up with something special for this, although current conditions may mean that notice might be rather short. Again, watch this space!
Children A small Easter pack was delivered to each of our Bubbles and Junior Church families to help them to celebrate Easter at Home. These were much appreciated and enjoyed. Although there were problems with getting all of Messy Easter up in time for our Messy Church service on Good Friday, the process worked well and many families reported doing all the activities over the whole of the Bank Holiday weekend. As with our adult services, this virtual service (offered through YouTube channel Messy Church at Home with SMChipstead) offered the opportunity for our regular Messy Church families, as well as those who have relocated to other parts of the country, to participate. It was good to see so many of our children, young people, and adults getting involved with recording separate clips: our thanks to all who took the time to create and produce the clips. This is the link if you haven’t seen it before https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH2mPhU1I1GNkp_Wc4pRMz1mM5d2YQ_uD
The next Messy Church will happen sometime in June and will follow a similar format, so please watch this space - I’m sure Abi would be delighted to have a number of volunteers to help again, and that we would all benefit from seeing you all – having seen some of our child presenters, I think we have some excellent TV presenters in the making. Babies and Bumps, Netherne Stay and Play and the Sunday groups are, obviously, not running at present, Elaine started a virtual Maggie’s Song on Friday 24th April via Zoom. If you know of anyone who might find Maggie’s Song a blessing to them at this time, please contact Abi or Elaine so that they can send them the link to enable them to join in. I am pleased to say that Abi has now set up Zoom meetings for our children to spend time together.
Big Church Camp Out Will be going ahead over Pentecost weekend, with camping in our gardens or in dens in our homes, and further details will be given out soon.
Holiday Club Watch this space!
Youth A huge vote of thanks to Amy who finished as our Youth and Communities Worker on Sunday 26th April after three years, and is now running Alex’ business alongside him (it’s even busier so he told me he’s really grateful she’s been able to join him). We really appreciate her energy and enthusiasm. The youth and others enjoyed a Zoom party full of silly games and fancy dress to thank her on her final evening. There is a notice up on the website to say that the position is vacant and we will be putting an advertisement together shortly and more actively seeking a new Youth and Communities Worker. The Wednesday afternoon 11+ group continue to meet via Zoom from 3.30, under the supervision of Claire and Yvonne. The Sunday evening 14+ group will continue to meet, under the supervision of the Sandersons, Torben and Shirley. Parental permission has been received for all participating children. The 18+ group continue to meet via Zoom with Amy, and most recently did a quiz.
Pastoral Care When it became clear that lockdown was imminent we went through members of our congregation to ensure that those who were not in lifegroups would have someone who would stay in contact with them, but also point them in the direction of the website and encourage them to sign up to receiving the Grapevine so that everybody could stay informed as to what we were doing. Pastoral issues are fed back in by a number of means, help is being offered and received, and those who have asked for prayer are being prayed for. If you have a need please do ask for help, as one family we are here for each other, you are not alone. If you need food or financial help then please email me at email@example.com (your request will be dealt with complete confidentiality).
Staff Rest Days
Abi’s rest day each week (except for when we have Messy Church) is a Saturday. But, because of her other job, she is unable to respond to phone calls on a Thursday or Friday. If possible, please can you contact her out of these times.
Deborah’s rest period is contractually supposed to be Saturday and Sunday but, because she is posting the second weekly grapevine (notifying that the services are up on a Saturday), and helping those with problems downloading services on a Sunday, she has been working 7 days a week. Please try to restrict communication with her, wherever possible, to office hours Monday to Friday.
Susie’s rest day is usually a Friday.
Website We have done a considerable amount of work to our website recently, and it is now far more user friendly and informative. Although, if you have any suggestions, we would love to hear from you. In addition, we have updated A Church Near You (which received over 2,500 hits last year) and also posted that we have live services on the relevant Southwark Diocese webpage.
Lifegroups Are mostly continuing to meet using a variety of methods, although Zoom seems to be the most popular and a number of people have joined Lifegroups for the first time (John is proud of being the newest recruit!). Again, those who have relocated around the country are enjoying the opportunity of meeting virtually with their old lifegroups: the Church, after lockdown, will look very different I am sure. In addition the church is evolving new, more informal links, between members.
Worship Workout Continues, on a YouTube channel on a Wednesday evening and has 20 members.
Property Access to our buildings is, as you know, restricted. However, St Margaret’s, the Orchard and the PA Hall are being checked on a daily basis and the Orchard is being regularly aired. Above that, I have been having a wander round the church building to check that the mice have not been up to anything they shouldn’t be! And, following relaxation, will take up the right to pray my daily prayers in church, on your behalf, but also to see if we can do some of our filming from within the building.
In addition, we are ensuring the toilets are being regularly flushed and taps run in the Church, Orchard and PA Hall so that we avoid the possibility of legionnaires, and are doing maintenance cleaning. The heating has been adjusted to reduce outgoings whilst maintaining the fabric. The Churchyard working party (thank you for the great work) are keeping the grounds in check and I know that people are using this opportunity to scrub gravestones and maintain the graves of their loved ones.
We have given permission for the PA Hall to be used as a collection point for the Foodbank (as stated below). They will only be using the foyer, will observe correct distancing procedures and have assured us that everything will be cleaned down after they have been in each Thursday from 10.30 to 15.00, starting on the 7th May 2020.
The pre-school are not currently meeting but are using this time (apart from Thursdays) to ensure that their equipment is thoroughly cleansed. As an act of service to our community we are not charging any rent to them, or to the Bridge Club, or Brownies during lockdown. Obviously this means we have no letting income. Our outgoings have been substantially reduced but cannot be cut entirely.
Christian Aid Fundraiser Claire & Greg Mills are running a quiz this evening as a fundraiser for Christian Aid. The quiz will be live on the main St Margaret’s Facebook page on Thursday 14th May at 8.15pm allowing those who wish to ‘clap for carers’ at 8pm. Claire and Greg would love your support and donations. Please click on the link below to donate as a part of our Church Group E-envelope for St Margaret’s: https://envelope.christianaid.org.uk/envelope/eyJlbnZlbG9wZSI6MzM4MCwgImNoYW5uZWwiOiJlbWFpbCJ9
All you need is a pen, paper, a drink, and some nibbles, we look forward to quizzing with you!
You can also watch later if you prefer, as it will stay on the page for 7 days afterwards and if you’re not on Facebook, questions can be emailed to you! Most importantly we will also be praying for the important work of Christian Aid.
Foodbank There isn’t currently a foodbank in Chipstead but, on 21 April, following a cry for help from our website form, we offered pastoral support and put together and delivered a food parcel to someone in need in Chipstead. Having chatted with CVPS it is clear that they wouldn’t be able to help run a foodbank in Chipstead but, if we have needs within the village, they are happy to put out requests for food to be dropped at the Rectory on a specific afternoon so that I can deliver specified items to those who are in need. I wonder if it would be possible to have similar hubs in Netherne, Hooley and Mugswell if a need becomes apparent?
Since my conversation with the CVPS, they have put out the following poster: For those in need, the Chipstead Covid-19 Support Group is setting up a Foodbank collection point in the Peter Aubertin Hall Every Thursday from 7th May 2020, until further notice, the Hall will be open from 11.00 to 13.00 to receive donations. These will be passed to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council for distribution within the Borough. Understandably, food is the focus, but it must be non-perishable: e.g. tins, jars, dry goods, microwave meals etc. Non food items would also be welcome, such as sanitary products, shampoo, toilet rolls, washing powder, shower gel and hand soap
Weddings We have had to postpone several weddings and are not sure when the lockdown will be lifted sufficiently for us to take them going forward. Despite this we are still getting enquiries and one new couple have recently asked if they can marry this June. Please pray for those couples who may have spent a couple of years planning their celebration only to be disappointed, and for those who are still hoping that their original, or rescheduled, date will be possible. It appears likely that weddings may only be possible with five people being present should the lockdown be partially lifted. We currently have couples hoping that they will be able to marry from June onwards.
Funerals Undertakers are finding themselves overwhelmed in many parts of the country but are also facing abuse as they try to limit numbers of mourners to government guidelines. Please also pray for the bereaved who are having to wait a long time to be able to get services at the crematoria (currently 4 weeks). The last interment I did was on 18 March, I have a service booked at Randall’s Park on the 27th May (not Coronavirus related), two interments scheduled for during the lockdown have been postponed. To date 6 people within the parish boundaries have died of Covid19, please pray for their families.
Parish Magazine Due to incomplete records it has not been possible for the team to contact all the magazine subscribers to let them know that it is now available on the website (lockdown prevents the printing and distribution). If someone mentions that they have not received it, please can you direct them to the website and/or to one of the production team. Our thanks to the Lorraine, and the team, who have produced it, and to Deborah for finding out how to best present it on the website.
Prayer Line This will be relaunched shortly, as it has not been used for a considerable time, and we are awaiting a new phone and sim.
Finally, the building may be closed, but Christ’s church certainly isn’t, it is living and active. Communication is two way: Is there anything you, as a member of our Church family, think we could/should be doing during this time? Do you have any time or skills you would like to offer?
Yours, with thanks, Susie