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Coronavirus and St Peter’s Church

Updated 5 pm, Friday 20th March

 

Dear friends

We seem to be entering unchartered territory very quickly, and many will be nervous and afraid.

In the midst of the crisis, it has been so encouraging to see people rallying round to offer help to those in need. On Wednesday, someone contacted me out of the blue to donate £500 to help children from the very lowest income backgrounds who will be affected by the lack of free school meals as St Peter’s school closes. At the end of a long and emotional day, their act of generosity brought tears to my eyes.

Over the last few days, as all physical church meetings and worship have been suspended, we have been working hard to become a virtual church community, to support all who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

The St Peter’s Church YOUTUBE channel is now up and running, with five different posts so far (from Charles, Heike, and Steve the Virger), and more to come. We’ll be uploading a short form of Sunday Worship tomorrow, with prayers, readings and a talk for Mothering Sunday, which you can watch at home.

We’re also inviting contributions from the congregation, to let us know how you are getting on, give us some much needed entertainment, or an activity to do. It’s easy to record on your computer or phone nowadays, and it is a great encouragement to the rest of us (especially those in isolation) to see familiar faces. St Peter’s church choir are already at work on some kind of joint online singing venture (?) which we look forward to!

We’ve been re-energising the church FACEBOOK page as well, as a convenient way to post news and information as quickly as possible. You can link to both the YouTube channel and the Facebook page through the church website, which is being regularly updated.

To connect with those who live alone and aren’t online, we’ve ordered 2000 postcards with a message from the church and the offer of help, which we want to deliver throughout the parish. So we’ll need volunteers next week to distribute them!

Going forward, we want to communicate with as many as possible in the church using WHATSAPP (a phone app which allows group text conversations), and ZOOM (which enables online group meetings with video). If you haven’t used either, do have a look at them (and ask if you need help). Technology permitting, we’ll try to start experimenting with some online meetings (coffee mornings? book groups? midday prayer?) via Zoom next week.

For those who are isolated and don’t do computers, we want to make sure there are regular phone calls and pastoral support. Do let us know if you could help with this, or if you know of anyone who could particularly benefit.

On a practical level, the parish office is now closed, and the office phone is therefore no longer checked regularly, but the email address remains the same, and you can call or leave messages for Charles directly on 07979093418.

Sunday Worship will be available on YouTube via the link on the website, but you’ll be able to watch it at your leisure! So this week, you can have lie-in on Sunday, and still make it to church on time! It’s the first time we’ve ever done it, so please keep feedback and comments coming!

Love and blessings to you all,

 

Charles

 

For latest government information, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

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