Prayer – Everyone, Everywhere!

This week, the Diocese of Bath and Wells has been running an excellent week encouraging us to think about how prayer features as part of our lives. It has been a week full of variety that reminds us that prayer is not a “one size fits all” approach but that we can engage in a huge variety of different ways.

All of the resources are available here.

A highlights of the week video can be watched here.

National Lockdown update

I am sure that many of you will have watched the announcement from Boris Johnson yesterday evening.  In many ways it was not unexpected given the trajectory of the virus at the moment.  It was however surprising that, in the guidance that has been issued, public worship in churches is still permissible.

This morning, I held a Zoom meeting with the churchwardens from St Bridget’s and St Mary’s and the ministry team, to talk about our response to re-entering a national lockdown.  We have also been awaiting the guidance from the Diocese to see what options are available for local churches.

It is clear from the announcement yesterday (and the reports in the preceding days) that the new variant strain of Covid-19 is more transmissible than the existing strain.  It is also clear that the health services are beginning to buckle under the pressure of treating the increased caseload, whilst also carrying out the vaccination process which I know many of you have already received at least in part.  I think we also have to recognise that a significant proportion of our congregations in both churches fall at very least under the vulnerable category.

Given these facts, and following a very good conversation this morning, and in line with the guidance from the Diocese, we have decided that morally and practically, the correct decision is to close the churches for public worship for the duration of the current lockdown, and so we have asked for dispensation to close both St Mary’s and St Bridget’s until the end of February in the first instance (to be reviewed when the lockdown restrictions are reviewed).  The letter from the Diocese very much encourages churches to consider making this decision, and I know others locally are thinking similarly.  I know that this will disappoint some people, and maybe you won’t agree that the decision is correct, but it is our belief as ministers and churchwardens, that to add any additional pressure to our health service, or to encourage places of meeting with others even if we are meant to keep a safe distance is not an acceptable course of action.

But to look forward, we will continue to provide online worship as we have been doing.  All rotas that have previously been issued will now be suspended and I will be putting together a new rota to include people from both churches for readings and prayers.  And of course, a time will come when we can look forward to being back together when it is safe and practicable to do so.

As ever, midweek Night Prayer will continue on Zoom, and I think the homegroups and Encounters are now also meeting online, so if you are not a part of those and would like the opportunity to meet for Bible study and prayer with others please let me know and we can arrange that for you.  And if there are specific needs that arise during this time, or you need additional support please do let me know and I will see what we can arrange.

With every blessing

Jonathan

Carol Services today

This evening we have our drive in carol service at Brean Country Club. It is now sold out. We also have an online carol service available on our YouTube Channel this evening at 6pm. It will be available to watch anytime.

A call to pray for the nation

On Wednesday 4 November, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and Bishop of London called the Church of England to prayer for the nation throughout the month of November. For more information, please click here.

The booklet that has been produced can also be downloaded here.

Plans for the next few weeks including Remembrance Sunday

Following the government’s announcement of a further lockdown starting this Thursday, we have been working on our plans in response. During the lockdown, our churches will close for worship on Sundays but we continue to provide services online as we have been. These can be accessed each week on our YouTube Channel here. We will also be continuing with our Zoom Night Prayer on a Wednesday evening, so please let us know if you do not have the link and would like to join us.

On Sunday, a pre-recorded Remembrance Sunday service will be premiered on YouTube at 10:50am. Unfortunately we are unable to safely provide a service outdoors because of the space at the war memorial under current restrictions.

Please see our website http://www.berrowandbrean.co.uk for updates as plans unfold, and do of course get in touch if we can be of support during the lockdown.

All Souls Service

Last Sunday, we held our annual service for those who have been bereaved. Sadly because of current circumstances we were unable to hold it in church for all to attend, but it was recorded and is online for anyone who would like to watch it and remember someone dear to them. You can find the video here. If you would like to speak to someone on our pastoral team, please let us know via our contact form.