DAILY UPDATE FROM REV JO
THURSDAY 30 JULY 2020
Good morning (afternoon now!) to you all and another glorious day out there, and hope this continues to find you well as we are.
Apologies for the delay in getting this to you this morning, but just back from St Dunstan's where Sue, Jayne and I have been doing all the finishing touches for the service on Sunday (photos attached), we have also prepared a 'what to expect on Sunday' brief for you, also attached, please do read this, as it has some important notes. If you have any queries please do get in touch, with either Sue or Jayne or I.
WEDNESDAY 29 JULY 2020
Good morning, and hope this finds you well, as we are here.
During this time Bishop Rose along with the senior diocesan staff have encouraged us all to listen to what has been saying, and continues to say to us at this time.
Instead of writing a reflection, may I please encourage you to listen to this message and invitation to us all from our Bishop, and please do forward to others, thank you: Bishop Rose
Keep connected, keep praying, and keep well.
TUESDAY 28 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here. We had a lovely wedding yesterday at St Dunstan's, with 15 of us, but so very special, and the church looked lovely.
It was two years ago today that we moved into the Rectory, here in Canterbury. Although I was licensed in April, we postponed our move until July as my daughter was sitting her A-Levels at that time, so I commuted in from Faversham, where we had lived for 18 years.
Whilst away last week we were asked if this felt like home, and the answer is very much yes it does.
What makes a home? When we moved here, we brought our home with us and left the house behind. There is that saying, home is where your heart is - and how very true that is; you take with you all those bits and pieces that mean so much, familiar things but also that sense of love, and of making it home; a place of welcome. We had anticipated (pre-Covid) of having our second garden party this weekend - many of you joined us last year for Pimm's on the patio and cream teas. When all this started back in March, I (foolishly ) thought - oh it will all be fine by July, we can still have our garden party! Not to be - so let's hope for next year. This has also been an opportunity for many of us to worship at home - it has been from my study at home every week for the last four months that I have streamed the Eucharist, morning and evening prayer, and likewise John and Brian have been leading worship from their homes.
Homes are very special places, places where we feel safe and secure, though remaining mindful that for some they are places where folk feel less secure and unsafe.
I am reminded of Jesus' words Matthew 7:24-27: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
Note of caution: I have recently received a number of scam emails, not sure if others are as well, including one relating to TV licence, just be alert, and don't open them, on both my personal and work emails.
In the meantime, God Bless, and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
MONDAY 27 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you well, as we are here at the Rectory having had a lovely time away in the beautiful Lake District. A lovely part of the world, which I hadn't really spent much time in before, although my husband knew it better than I, having lived there for a few years. The scenery was absolutely stunning, and we managed three lovely walks, along with reading and playing more board games.
Whilst away the government and CofE has issued further guidelines about wearing face masks in places of worship, and the advice is as follows: "We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing." More information can be found on the CofE website.
As we prepare to open St Dunstan's for Sunday worship on Sunday 2nd August for both an 8.00 and 10.00 Eucharist, just to give us some idea on numbers, if you could indicate if you plan to come; thank you in anticipation. If you are unsure right up til the last moment that is absolutely fine, I know many of you are uncertain and or shielding which is why we are having our streaming/recording our services. We plan to live-stream the service at 10.00 on Facebook Live, then upload to YouTube. Towards the end of the week, we will have photos and advice re 'what to expect', but if you do have any queries please don't hesitate to ask.
In the meantime, I look forward to taking a wedding at St Dunstan's later today for a lovely local couple. To have our first service back being a wedding is very special.
Street Pastor Coordinator: We have uploaded onto our website an advert and information for a Street Pastor Coordinator for Canterbury, do look up under About tab, then Resources if this interests you.
Bishop Rose's sermon from yesterday.
In the meantime, please do all keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
Whilst away on one of our walks, we came across a little roadside stall that was asking for donations for tiny trees that they were planting in pots, so we got a birch tree (about 10 cm tall), to go with our two oak tress that we are growing from acorns, and Kentish cob tree, again from a nut. I then read today's psalm (1:3) Like a tree planted by streams of water bearing fruit in due season with leaves that do not wither, whatever they do it shall prosper.
THURSDAY 16 JULY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you well, as we are here.
So yesterday Mary & I spent time at St Mildred's undertaking our Risk assessment; I assure you all is well in there, and Ruth and Conrad have been doing an excellent job keeping an eye on things (thank you both). So just need to complete the paperwork for St Peter's and St Mildred's send to PCC, and then to AD Jo (this has all been done for St Dunstan's). My visor has arrived, along with gloves, so all prepared!
So this morning in Morning Prayer we were asked to remember Osmund, who was Bishop of Salisbury - I do like the way we are asked to remember these folk, as one learns so much (at least I do). We have a book called Exciting Holiness, which gives a biography on these people. There is another book, which I like to dip into called 'Saints on Earth' a biographical companion to Common Worship - again giving background to those we are asked to remember. So who was Osmund? He was made bishop of Salisbury in 1078, and completed the cathedral of Old Sarum in 1092. Apparently he instigated cathedral reform and improved administration, initiating a cathedral chapter, and other positions such as dean, precentor, chancellor and treasurer. Crucial to his theology was the idea that the cathedral is the 'mother church of the cathedral' - so a little bit about Osmund.
Annual leave: I am on leave from tomorrow (Fri 17th - Sat 25th July inc), back for our streamed Sunday service on Sunday 26th July, and a wedding in St Dunstan's on the 27th July (exciting!).
Services: This Sunday (19th July), our Reader John Morrison is leading Matins, which will be live-streamed at 10.00 (thank you John, and Liz), and details of the service will be sent out later today. John will also be leading Morning Prayer and Compline tomorrow (Friday), and throughout next week, and all services will be on Facebook Live at usual times, and then uploaded to YouTube.
Whilst I am off there will be no 'morning brief' but please do get in touch with our churchwardens (Sue, Jayne, Rachel, and Mary) or Ana, our Administrator (01227 786109), if you have any queries.
In the meantime, please whatever you do 'keep safe, keep connected and keep praying'.
WEDNESDAY 15 July 2020
Good morning and hope you are all well, as we are here. So today is St Swithin's Day, as we remembered him in Morning Prayer. I am sure many of you may have heard of him, and that saying that if it rains on St Swithin's day, it will rain for 40 days, and if it is fair, it will be set fair for 40 days; but I must admit until this morning I didn't know the background to this - so I will share with you.
Swithin was Bishop of Winchester, a humble man, who was buried at his request in his local churchyard. It was decided however to move his remains into a shrine, inside the new cathedral by Ethelwold the new bishop. That was despite dire warnings that to move the bones would cause a great storm. He was duly moved this day in 971, and thereafter it rained for forty days. So my BBC weather App tells me that for Canterbury it is going to be dry today, with no sign of rain for the next 13 days!! (that's as far as it goes).
In the meantime, yesterday Jayne, Sue (churchwardens) and I, having done the Risk Assessment last week, spent yesterday cleaning St Dunstan's in preparation for a wedding on Monday 27th July, followed by our first Sunday service on Sunday 2nd August, both at 8.00 and at 10.00. We will be sending photos of what to expect, along with some 'return to church' notes prior to the 2nd August (and will do subsequently for St Mildred's and St Peter's). Rachel and I have carried out the Risk assessment for St Peter's, and this morning I will do likewise with Mary at St Mildred's. Meanwhile we are ensuring that we keep worship online, particularly for those who are not able/ready to attend our buildings and for those who have joined us online over recent months.
In the meantime, have a good day, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 14 July 2020
Good morning to you all, and a slightly damp one today, but good for the gardens.
Today in our Morning Prayer, we remembered John Keble, who was a priest and poet, born in 1792, and died in 1866. This day in 1833, he preached a sermon in Oxford, which is considered by some the beginning of the Oxford Movement. (Oxford Movement: 19th-century movement centred at the University of Oxford that sought a renewal of “catholic,” or Roman Catholic, thought and practice within the Church of England in opposition to the Protestant tendencies of the church. The argument was that the Anglican church was by history and identity a truly “catholic” church. Reference.
John Keble, is also recognised as a Poet, and hymn writer, with hymns such as New Every Morning.
I thought this morning a word about hymns; although sadly when we return to worshipping together in our church buildings we won't be able to sing, but during this time St Martin-in-the-Fields virtual choir have been putting together hymns for each Sunday which we have been using in our Sunday Services, along with contributions until recently Charlotte and David (thank you both).
St Martins have been working with the Royal Society of Church Music (RSCM), and giving us hymns which resonate with the theme and lectionary readings of that week. The RSCM produces a magazine quarterly, which is incredibly helpful when choosing hymns - as they focus on the gospel of the day, they then make suggestions for hymns, embracing a huge number of hymn books. As part of our theological training we had lectures from RSCM, along with the theology of hymns - an opportunity to explore the theology of hymns. Then in a service one looks not only at the words, but the music as well, and where that hymn should sit: Opening and closing hymns often upbeat, one focusing on the theme of the day (opener), and the closing hymn on what has been said. Opening often processional, closing recessional. Then the Gradual, is often quieter, and focus on the word of God as it precedes the Gospel; the offertory often a longer hymn, as it is the hymn of offering the elements (bread & wine) and money; sometimes a post-communion hymn, always quiet and reflective, and then an upbeat closing hymn.
Hymn singing is something very few folk are familiar with today (when preparing folk for weddings, some have asked what are hymns), unless regular church goers; often these days it is either a hymn that was sung at school, or a contemporary piece of music eg Ed Sheeran 'Perfect' for weddings, and Robbie Williams 'Angels' for funerals.
Of course none of this is possible at the moment, but we can listen to music, and at the funerals I have taken recently that has been so difficult, sitting and listening when one would normally have sung; likewise with weddings.
Anyway, here are my thoughts today, and as ever happy to chat any of this through - and I wonder what are your favourite hymns?
God Bless, and as ever, please do keep well, keep connected and keep praying (and keep singing at home).
MONDAY 13 July 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory, and a lovely day - though Morning Prayer from my study today as the tree surgeons were in the locality, and very noisy! Although yesterday we celebrated St Mildred's patronal festival, today is her day - our local saint...and here is a little bit about Mildred:
"Mildred was the daughter of Merewald, an Anglian ruler of the seventh century. Her mother was St. Ermenburga, a Kentish princess. Mildred was educated at the convent school in Chelles, near Paris. Following her stay in France, she was pursued by a young man with marriage in mind. Mildred rejected his overtures and entered a monastery called Minster that had been founded by her mother. The monastery was located on the Isle of Thanet, and St. Theodore of Canterbury received her into the community of which she eventually became abbess. Mildred had reputation for great holiness and for generosity and compassion to the poor and rejected. She died about the year 700. St. Mildred saw the nobility of the religious life and thus rejected what could have been for her a titled life of ease. Her detachment from this world's goods led her to a firm commitment to Jesus and His poor." Reference
I am off this morning to meet someone who is currently doing an internship at Christchurch University, outside St Mildred's, as the focus of her work is the Life of St Mildred, which will be most interesting, and hopefully learn more about our local Saint.
Our psalm this morning, was one of praise (98): Make music to the Lord with the lyre, and the voice of melody.
Have a good day, and do as ever, please keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
FRIDAY 10 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope all is well, as we are here.
Yesterday in my brief I talked about different spiritual styles: word, emotion, symbol, and action - and these styles often influence the style of worship that we feel drawn to.
This morning a brief note on what is often referred to as different spiritual traditions, that one may have come across or hears from time to time. A number of folk find that learning more of these different spiritual traditions helps with their prayer life, and deepening relationship with God.
I have taken these notes from our Diocesan website, where you can find out a lot more - alternatively I can signpost you if you would like to know more.
Benedictine: The core values of Benedictine spirituality include obedience to God and living a life of love that is centred on Christ, listening to God in all aspects of life, humility, hospitality and care of the sick. Underpinning this is a rhythm of prayer and praise that keeps us connected to God and empowers us for everything else!
Franciscan: Franciscan spirituality has always emphasised the goodness of creation. Christ is the expression of God’s love in the universe. From this emphasis, Franciscan spirituality sees God in all things. Central to the Franciscan Way is the Cross. St Francis saw God interwoven in an interconnected, related world – brother Sun and sister Moon.
Ignatian: A deep and growing awareness of God’s presence in all things. A recognition of the generosity of God’s grace. A deepening of prayer, through ways such as imaginative contemplation of the scriptures and a daily ‘examen’ prayer. A recognition of the activity of God within each person through reflection and discernment of the spirit. An active life of service which responds to the depth of prayer in discipleship.
Details for Sunday service to follow later. In the meantime, please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 9 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope all well, as we here at The Rectory.
This morning in Morning Prayer, we are continuing the story of Samson and Delilah, and Samson's strength, and again wonderful imagery, especially if you are like me - more of a symbol and picture person.
A few years ago, through a diocesan course, I came across the work of David Csinos, who looked at four different spiritual styles, and I found this really helpful: some folk are 'word' people, words matter, and having the correct words in the correct order is important. Scripture as the divine Word of God is highly valued; a well written sermon for word people is really important. Others have an 'emotion centred' approach to spirituality, and they focus on creativity, music, drama and dance, God is seen as here and now, as a present reality. Then there is the 'symbol centred approach', a focus on symbolism and mystery, and the value of symbols connecting with the transcendence, for them God is a mystery, a God who is more felt than spoken, they like creation, ritual and visual art for their symbolic powers to speak of the divine. Then there is the 'action centred' approach, these folk not only pray, but want to actively and radically transform it, believers in faith and action. I found this fascinating, and went onto to write my dissertation on symbolism of baptism.
That is why it is important to have different styles and ways of worship - we are all different, and God speaks to us all in very different ways. Happy to chat any of this through, but I found it really helpful. The book is: Children's Ministry that fits, by David Csinos (2011). When I did this course (and some of you might have done it), what was evident we all had a preferred style of spirituality, with components of others. Anyway - food for thought!!
Diocesan feedback: The Diocese are really keen to hear what your thoughts have been over these recent months - how God may have spoken to us, as individuals and and as community, and they would be very grateful if you could fill out a questionnaire.
God Bless, and keep safe, keep connected, and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 8 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope you remain well, as we are here at The Rectory. Apologies it is later - two Zoom meetings!
Yesterday we had our monthly ministers meeting by Zoom, and I can give you more details re our pattern of worship over the next couple of months:
- Morning Prayer & Night Prayer continue at 9.00 am and 7.00 pm online for the time being (many of you suggested this in your feedback)
- At 10.00 am Sunday 12th and 26th July: Eucharist live-streamed from the Rectory. Sunday 19th July Jo on leave, and Matins led by John Morrison our Reader live-streamed. All services live-streamed on Facebook, and immediately uploaded to YouTube by 11.00
- Sunday 2nd August: 10.00 live-streamed from St Dunstan's on Facebook Live, then uploaded to YouTube
- Sunday 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th August: Services recorded in church buildings and uploaded to YouTube, and Matins live-streamed at 10.00 provided by John Morrison (thank you, John) then uploaded. That way we ensure those at home, along with those who feel able to attend our church buildings, can partake in Sunday Morning worship together.
- We will then review everything at the end of August and work out our pattern of worship bearing in mind all guidance at that time.
Today's Psalm had that lovely verse from 119: Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path. It reminds me of that painting by William Holman, The Light of the World, with the figure of Christ knocking at a door – an old wooden door with no handle and with weeds growing up in front of it. It’s a beautiful painting rich with imagery – a fallen apple at Christ’s feet, his lamp cut with small stars looking much like a Christmas lantern, his golden crown also interwoven with thorns. Picture below.
God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 7 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you well, as we are here - and another sunny day, and morning prayer outside.
This morning in Morning Prayer we had the story of Samson who killed the lion, and then the bees found their way into the carcass, and produced masses of honey (do look the story up, as it has lots of lovely imagery. It is Judges, Chapter 14). Do go to your kitchen cupboard, and if you have a tin of Golden Syrup have a look - I will say no more.
I am always fascinated how some of the imagery and language used today in everyday things has its roots that go back centuries, often sayings - one of my favourite is the word companion: derived from the French to share bread with someone - and what do we do with pilgrims on this journey, is sharing bread be it a picnic with friends, or at the Eucharist (except in times of Covid). But do have a think about words, phrases and wonder where they originated from.
Pride goes before a fall, Proverbs 16:18, A time and place for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (one of my favourites, and always so true), United we stand, divided we fall. Matthew 12:25-26...and I am sure there are many more - but perhaps over the course of the day, do give it a thought.
Thank you to Rev Brian McHenry for the St Thomas More Service of Commemoration, please do watch it if you can, it was beautifully done (thank you, Liz, for the wreath) - one for the archives.
In the meantime, go well, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
MONDAY 6 JULY 2020
Good morning everyone, I hope you had a good weekend and this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory.
So, to update you all as to when we are looking to open our church buildings for public worship: The PCCs of both St Dunstan's, and St Peter's and St Mildred's jointly passed a Resolution on Friday 3rd July, (as requested by the Bishop) to say that we will open our church buildings for Sunday worship (Eucharist) from Sunday 2nd August, on a rotational basis, with just one church open at a time starting with St Dunstan's on Sunday 2nd August, St Mildred's on Sunday 9th August, and St Peter's on Sunday 16th August, St Dunstan's Sunday 23rd August, St Mildred's Sunday 31st August and St Peter's Sunday 6th September. By then we should have a clearer understanding of where we are, and what we can offer. That is with the exception of funerals and weddings.
We hope to livestream the service from St Dunstan's, and record and upload the service from both St Mildred's and St Peter's as neither church has WiFi or 4G cover (St Dunstan's has 4G and looking to extend WiFi from the hall). This Resolution has since gone to our Archdeacon, as requested by the Bishop. In the meantime, Morning and Night Prayer will continue to be live-streamed, which is proving to be well attended by a number of folk on a regular basis.
We have opted for then, as it gives us the opportunity to ensure all the paperwork is in place, and availability of clergy. I am on leave Sunday 19th July, not returning until 25th July, and Rev Kevin is not available in July, and Rev Brian is stepping back from ministry, for the time being, whilst he and Liz adjust to caring for Win at home.
From the feedback that you gave from the questionnaire, suggests that there is understandably anxiety about attending public worship. Many are still shielding, or don't feel ready, which is why we are keen to offer the hybrid of both public worship and online services, and for those who have joined us online. We don't want anyone to feel pressured to attend, and Bishop Rose is very supportive of opening slowly, particularly as so many of our congregations are older, and 'vulnerable' (classed as over 70, by the government).
Hope this helps, and thank you for your patience as we have worked all this out at relatively short notice (thank you to Elizabeth Turner, PCC secretary to both Parishes for getting the paperwork done, and to our PCCs for acting so promptly). Any queries please do get in touch. I know the Cathedral is open for public worship, though tickets need to be pre-booked for Sunday Eucharist. Other churches in the Deanery, and further afield, are likewise going very cautiously and only opening when they too feel that they can do so safely; we are in the vast majority (99%) according to our Archdeacon in delaying opening our buildings for public worship in our archdeaconry.
St Thomas More: Well today we should have been holding our annual service for the Commemoration for St Thomas More in St Dunstan's church, but like with so many things this year, that is not to be. However, Rev Brian McHenry will be leading a short Act of Commemoration at 7.00 this evening on Facebook Live. Please find attached Order of Service for tonight's service - thank you, Brian.
Prayer Requests for July from the Diocese - please find attached.
God Bless, and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
FRIDAY 3 JULY 2020
Good morning to you all, and apologies in the slight late arrival of my daily brief however all is well here. I had a Zoom meeting, and then more paperwork in relation to opening for Public Worship (now technical difficulties) - with the Government announcing that we can now legally open our buildings, the Church of England has asked that we pass a resolution through our PCCs to enable us to delay opening our buildings until it is safe to do so. If you are on PCC - please can you read Elizabeth's email, and get back to her asap, as we need to send this to Archdeacon Jo, thank you so much.
Every week Bishop Rose and the three archdeacons for our diocese, along with other members of the senior team have invited us throughout lockdown to join them for a discussion as to how things are going, with a theme each week - and today we focused on 'safe places' - places where we go where we feel safe, where we can be open to God - often in the quietness we hear that voice. For some it is sitting on a beach, or being in a garden or going on a walk; for others it is delving into a book - or a hobby in which we feel safe and secure. For many it is their homes, and very local environment, and the thought of venturing further afield, especially as lockdown eases is itself quite daunting; though one must remain ever mindful that with domestic abuse (and other abuse) the home has not always proven to be that safe place. My 'bolt hole' is the Quiet View at Kingston (which I thoroughly recommend): somewhere where one can be still in the presence of the Lord; and it is important to identify these places - even during the course of the day, to have that Quiet Time, again to help with this I use a free App: Pray as you Go - which has the gospel reading for the day, prayer and reflection, and is an excellent start to the day, but we are all different and God speaks to each and everyone of us in different ways.
Michael Project, Zimbabwe: A little while ago, Rev Brian spoke to us about the Michael project, a charity that is close to his hearts, and supports in Zimbabwe - with the coronavirus, and shortage of food at the moment they are having a really tough time, and would value your prayers; Brian spoke about this last year, but if anyone feels able to help at this difficult time, please do get in touch with Brian. Thank you.
St Thomas More: On Monday we would have had our service in St Dunstan's Church for St Thomas More, but like so many other things, that wasn't to be; however Rev Brian McHenry, who is part of our St Thomas More Committee will be leading a short service 7.00 Monday evening. The Order of Service was sent out earlier by Ana, and again on Monday, and it is available on our website.
Medieval Pageant: This weekend was also going to have seen our Medieval Pageant pass through the streets with the focus on Becket 2020 (so much was planned for this year!) However, the team who put it together are doing so virtually, and if interested please follow here.
Details for Sunday Worship will come out this evening.
Psalm 46: Be still and know that I am God (very helpful at this time).
God Bless, and with the easing of lockdown this weekend, please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 2 JULY 2020
Good morning all, and hope all well, as we are here, and another month has past us by.
We have had guidance re opening our churches for worship, but not yet from Bishop Rose re Administration of Communion. We will not be opening our churches yet for public worship (though going through the paperwork) and will let you know when we have in mind, once discussed with PCCs. The Cathedral, I understand, will be open, and if you want to go, you need to book online as numbers are limited. Meanwhile we will continue to stream online until our buildings and resources are ready, and then look to both stream and worship in our buildings.
One of the joys of recent months has been getting to know our neighbours, and I know that has been experienced by many up and down the country - that sense of neighbourliness. Looking back it was the Thursday night clap, along with the VE Day tea parties that certainly for us, was a real chance of stopping and talking to those who live next door, and I am sure that echoes with many of you. People whom we may have just walked briskly past, now stop for a conversation - the smile, or acknowledgement, that sense of feeling as though I belong here. Something Bishop Rose spoke about on Sunday in her sermon (available on our YouTube channel if you haven't yet had the chance to listen). She encourages us to welcome all and not look the other way. To be that welcome, as Jesus welcomed all. Love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31)
I may have mentioned previously in my briefings that all three of our churches recently registered as Inclusive Churches, that means:
"We believe in inclusive Church - a church which celebrates and affirms every person and does not discriminate. We will continue to challenge the church where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality. We believe in a Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ."
If you want to know more click here.
This has been supported by both our PCCs, and was looking to take this forward more this year - so if you are interested in working with this initiative, please do let me know.
In the meantime, have a good day, and continue to keep well, keep praying and keep connected.
Daily Prayer attached - thank you Mark Blamey.
WEDNESDAY 1 JULY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here.
Received emails this morning (sent late last night) relating to what needs to be done re opening our churches for public worship, though not yet received in relation to the administration of Holy Communion. I haven't had a chance to read through them all, and digest what it means, but will do so today, and in liaison with the churchwardens. We then need to be in touch with both PCCs once we have identified what needs doing - so please keep an eye on your emails.
During this time, I have found the Psalms to be most helpful - many of them written between 1000-300 BC, and many of them during the Babylonian Exile during OT times. Many of them also written by King David, probably the most famous being Psalm 23, the Lord's my Shepherd. But reading them as one does in Morning Prayer, and all that we have gone through these last few months, it is as if they have been written for us today. Many are referred to as Psalms of lament, psalms that express deep sorrow, psalms such as 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 85 and 90, then there are psalms of praise such as 118, 34, and 138. If you have a moment, do have a look through some of the Psalms - an opportunity to reflect upon them and how they speak to us today, and do look at Psalm 139....
Bible studies: A huge thank you to Rev Brian McHenry who has during this time led our online Bible Study, which has been very much appreciated by many. Brian has decided that now is the time to step down from this, especially as he is now caring for his mother, Win McHenry, who is now living with him and Liz.
God Bless and keep well, keep praying and keep connected.
TUESDAY 30 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, a little damp, which is good for the gardens! Hope you are all well, as we are.
Still no update re guidance for opening for worship - so watch this space, but we won't be rushing into opening as we wait to hear what will be asked of us, and to be patient - which brings me onto something that has been devised by Rev Hannah from St Paul's.
If you wander past any of our three churches, from tomorrow, you will notice in each of the notice boards, a fruit of the Spirit (map and details attached). Our three churches, along with All Saints and St Paul's, have been working together for some children's activities. Last October we had a very successful three day holiday club which was held in St Paul's, and then the plan was this July to have a day of activities at St Dunstan's, and then in the Autumn at All Saints (well, that was the plan!), instead Rev Hannah has been doing activity sheets for the young people from our churches, which I have attached to my briefings. For July, Rev Hannah has devised a Treasure Hunt for our youngsters, focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit, which is why we will have the posters up in our notice boards - so if you have local family who might be interested, please forward them the details.
So what are we looking for? The Fruit of the Spirit is found in Paul's letter to the Galatians: 5:22-23 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Being open to the Holy Spirit, we can receive these fruits, and for many throughout this time of lockdown that has been evidenced by so many, that showing of love, joy and peace, patience, kindness and generosity - the joy of the birdsong and the nature that is all around us, having the opportunity to appreciate it fully.
The love of the neighbour in helping with the shopping, and embraced with that kindness and generosity - of patience and the waiting, and continue to wait. It is all there - God has been and continues to be very much at work during this time. One is also very mindful of how difficult and challenging this time has been for many - mourning the loss of loved ones (funerals have been really difficult), the feeling of anxiety, and loneliness, of isolation, and feeling cut-off. But in all that, in both the ups and downs, the Spirit is with us, in all that we are and all that we do. So if you do see these notices (going up later today), please do offer a prayer of thanks, and remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit, for we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
So God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep praying and keep connected.
MONDAY 29 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, and I hope this finds you all well, and had a good weekend, as we did here, and all well; a bit blustery out there though this morning.
Today we are celebrating the Feast of St Peter & St Paul, although yesterday we celebrated our patronal festival of St Peter, and I have attached a photo of my icons of the two saints.
For those who follow night prayer, I often have an icon to reflect upon, and I have a number that adjourn my study wall - one of the joys of ministry is seeing the iconographers at work who follow Peter Murphy's course in St Peter's church; and those of you who know St Peter's, you will know that there are several icons in there, along with a recently installed one by the late Richard Ginman of Christ Pantocrator in St Mildred's church. Our Romanian Orthodox church who use St Peter's for worship have an iconostasis as part of their worship.
Iconostasis: In Eastern Christianity, an iconostasis (plural: iconostases) is a wall of icons and religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church. Iconostasis also refers to a portable icon stand that can be placed anywhere within a church. The iconostasis evolved from the Byzantine templon, a process complete by the 15th century. (ref: Wikipedia)
What opened my eyes to icons was back in 2009, when I was involved with the Divine Dimensions exhibition in Oare Parish Church, an iconstatis was installed in the sanctuary, and icons adorned the walls of the church. And there was truly something divine about them - and at the time I learnt how icons were created, the prayers used, and the natural paints, including egg. There was something about them that touched me, and has done to this day - there is a stillness and tranquillity that in my mind an icon transmits; a certain serenity that I find beholding. Those of you at my licensing may recall my three icons of our three saints: Dunstan, Mildred and Peter, which Bishop Trevor blessed, I also have them of Saints Martin and Paul from my curacy, along with several others - all of which tell a story.
Anyway, here is Morning prayer, and Bishop Rose's sermon from yesterday; still no guidance from the government, as to opening our churches for public worship.
In the meantime, God Bless, and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
Bishop Rose's sermon from Sunday 28 June 2020
FRIDAY 26 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, it certainly thundered first thing this morning, with some welcome rain, but all seems well now. Hope you are all well, as we are here.
Still no guidance from the government re practicalities and paperwork for opening our buildings for public worship, so all I can say is watch this space; the churchwardens and I met yesterday, but until we know what will be asked specifically of us, we can but wait, and then plan accordingly - we will keep you posted! As Bishop Rose said yesterday at a Zoom meeting I attended, it is permissive and not prescriptive, and there is no rush (she said, 'remember the tortoise'). Either way, we will be keeping Morning Prayer and Compline online, and livestream our Eucharist from St Dunstan's as and when we do go back, as it has 4G phone cover there, and we are exploring WiFi coverage.
Thoughts and prayers today for all our ordinands and deacons - tomorrow they should have been in the Cathedral, ordained as deacons, priests, with priests looking forward to taking their first communion on Sunday - but none of that is to be. Though I do understand that the ordinands will be going to their new parishes, and to be ordained in September. Today is also referred to as an Ember Day - the lectionary describes this as "Ember days should be kept, at the bishop's directions, in the week before an ordination as days of prayer for those to be ordained as deacon or priest. Ember days may also be kept even when there is no ordination in the diocese as more general days of prayer for those who serve in the church in its various ministries, both lay and ordained and for all vocations. Traditionally they have been observed on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the week before the third Sunday of Advent, the second Sunday of Lent, and the Sundays nearest to 29 June and 29 September". So please do keep them in your prayers. It was six years ago on Sunday that I was ordained deacon here in Canterbury. A day to remember!!
Apologies it's late, another Zoom meeting!
God Bless, and service details will be sent this evening for Sunday.
Keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 25 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, and another hot day; I hope this finds you well, as we all are here.
Update from Bishop Rose yesterday, we are still awaiting guidance from the government and CofE re the planning and updated risk assessments involved to open for public worship. Will keep you all posted, and thanks again to all those who have returned your questionnaires, and thank you for your honesty, which has been really helpful.
As I wrote the date today - it was six months ago today that we were all together celebrating Christmas, singing carols together, and for me one of the highlights of the year is Midnight Mass - something so special with all the candles and that sense of celebration after the waiting and preparation of Advent - and the flowers! For some who are isolating that might have been the last time they saw family and friends; if it hadn't been our visit to see our son in Manchester in February, the last time he was down was Christmas last year, and certainly when we saw any of our extended family, as I am sure it is for many, and for so many across our country, and around the world, Christmas this year will be without a loved one. I do wonder what it will be like this year - I do hope we are allowed to sing by then!!
When we lived in Faversham, there was a board I passed every day that said "Christ is not just for Christmas, but there all year". This is so true, we have Christ with us as a real and living presence 24/7; Rev Mark spoke about this in Sunday's sermon (on website), from the passage from Romans 6:1-11, in our baptism we die with Christ to be born again with Christ - a new creation; that is why sometimes a font is referred to as a womb (in the Roman liturgy the font is designated the “uterus ecclesiae,” ) - when a baby is born, it emerges from the waters of the womb, and wrapped in a blanket - when the person who has been baptised 'comes up out of the water' - or usually water poured over the head these days, though many do especially in the baptist church have full immersion, but in the liturgy today, the baby is wrapped in a white blanket immediately after having water poured, with the words "you have been clothed with Christ. As many who have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ" with an adult I use a white scarf - likewise when a baby is born and given a name the same happens at baptism.
Something I really enjoy are baptisms, and the symbolism associated with it, something I focused on in my dissertation, and could go on all day, however, Zoom meetings to attend, so another time I can offer more.
Photos - please do keep sending them to Samuel for our website.
God Bless, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 24 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, hope this finds you well, as we are here - and another warm day.
Yesterday I am sure you would have heard that our church buildings may open for public worship from 4th July. Bishop Rose has sent this message to us all, please do watch.
We await further guidance from the government, which will then filter down from the CofE and Bishops as to what this will mean at a practical level for our three churches. As Bishop Rose asks, we will consider all this and then make decisions as to what we do in our local context, and then let our archdeacon know. I am meeting with the Churchwardens tomorrow (Thurs) and hopefully we might know more by then re guidance. Thanks again for your replies to the questionnaire, which all helps with our thinking and planning.
Morning prayer (thank you, John).
Thank you for your prayers for Doreen Dash's family, as I took her funeral this morning at Barham (this is so tough with so few able to attend).
God Bless, and do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 23 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, and another lovely day - and the birdsong quite incredible - was competing against the blackbird throughout morning prayer this morning!
Throughout the year, the Church of England asks us to remember various people throughout the ages - these are either saints, martyrs or prominent Christians. In our liturgical calendar these are recognised either as commemorations or lesser festivals. So yesterday we remembered St Alban, the first Martyr of Britain, and then today we remembered Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, who died on this day in 678; there is an excellent book called 'Exciting Holiness' which tells us about each person, often accompanied by readings and a collect. So who was St Etheldreda? She committed her life to prayer and chastity, and founded a religious house for men and women in Ely, in 678. Apparently she was an East Anglican princess, and an Anglo-Saxon saint. In fact, she is one of the most popular English saints and there are more dedications in her name in England than any other female saint of the early Anglo-Saxon church. Not dissimilar to our St Mildred (and we will talk about her next month on her feast day).
Update on opening our church buildings for public worship: We may hear more today, when the PM gives the briefing; and thank you to those who have sent back our questionnaire (still not too late). Yesterday I picked up the hand sanitiser (5 litres), and Ana has prepared all our signs.
Empty Compost bags wanted: I have had a request for empty compost bags, if you have any please can you let me know, and I can pick them up. Many thanks.
Update re Rev Kevin: I spoke to Kevin yesterday, and he would like to thank you all for all your thoughts, prayers, and emails, and apologises for not being able to respond to you all. However, he says he is feeling much better, and looks forward to being out and about a bit more, in the not too distant future.
Morning prayer - John is leading Morning Prayer tomorrow, as I have a funeral so please go to YouTube to watch it, if you don't follow on Facebook, and morning brief may be slightly later.
God Bless, and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
MONDAY 22 JUNE 2020
Good morning and hope you are all well, as we are here at The Rectory. I can highly recommend the walk we did on Friday: 6 mile inner ring, 10 mile middle ring, 21 mile outer ring. All well sign posted and some glorious countryside - we walked through woods, across meadows, through orchards - strawberries, apples, cherries, pears, hops, vines, and past several churches. If there are any keen walkers out there, we could perhaps do the middle ring (10 miles) - max of six folk keeping socially distanced. Let me know if you are interested.
This week on Radio 4, (and Radio 5) they have a series of programmes called Rethink, and looking at how we come out of lockdown, and how we have had the opportunity to rethink things. This morning on Radio 4 (08.10) and on the BBC website, was part of Pope Francis' reflections which is well worth a read. In this he reflects upon the homeless, and one profound comment he makes is: We need to tell ourselves this often: the poor person had a mother who raised him lovingly.
When I caught up with some of the rough sleepers a couple of weeks ago, they said the one thing they are looking forward to is to give their mum a hug. As Pope Francis says, this has been an opportunity for us all to rethink. Powerful stuff!
As we are reminded, by the words of Christ:
Matthew 22: 36-40: Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
Thank you to all those who have sent back their questionnaire and thoughts re preparing for worship, and if you haven't please do so, as it does help with our planning.
Anyway God Bless you all, and please do keep well, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 18 JUNE 2020
Good morning, and a slightly damp one it is. I hope you are all well, and we certainly are here.
Thank you to those who have promptly responded to the questionnaire I sent out yesterday asking for your thoughts re preparing for public worship (still no date); and I welcome further feedback over the next few days, as it helps us with our planning.
Something I believe passionately about is our environment, and caring for God's creation - during Lent I read Ruth Valerio's book Saying Yes to Life, and read Care for God's Creation reflections during Lent. All that seems such a long time ago, and needless to say that a lot has happened since then. Lockdown has for many us given us an opportunity to think and reflect. From this, two colleagues Rev Rachel Webbly from Whitstable, and Rev John Huggins from Lenham, and I have set up a Eco-church Kent Facebook page - a platform in which we can all share thoughts and ideas. We set it up a week ago, and already have nearly 200 members. All three of our churches have registered with the eco-church initiative with the diocese, which is really good news. In our Benefice this is led by Caroline Blamey, and please contact her if you would like to know more, or via me and I can forward details. If you would like to join the Kent Eco-church Facebook group follow this link.
Last Saturday I attended the Black Lives Matter march in Canterbury, (I did wear a mask, and ensured I had space around me) and Bishop Rose spoke passionately. This is from the Diocesan website, and well worth listening to (or read the script):
"The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, addressed a #BlackLivesMatter march in Canterbury on Saturday 13 June, speaking of the need for people to be the change they want to see. Greeting the protesters outside Canterbury Cathedral, Bishop Rose was accompanied by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, and the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven Jo Kelly-Moore. "Let's together, in harmony, make the change that needs to happen" (attached is the script)
I am on leave tomorrow (Friday 19th), another long walk beckons for Jim & I - going to do the Canterbury Outer Ring (21 miles I have been told), so no briefing tomorrow, but will send out details this evening for our Sunday worship.
Words from today's psalm: Psalm 37:5 "Commit your way to the Lord, and put your trust in Him."
In the meantime, please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 17 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope you are well, as we are here at The Rectory - puzzles are the thing here at the moment, both the girls tackling 1000 piece jigsaws (!) and yes we are still playing Catan, not every evening, but two/three times a week!
Having now gone into all three church buildings, I can report all seems well in each (and thanks to our designated folk who have been ensuring that all has been well). We are now thinking of the logistics and would really appreciate it if you could fill in the attached questionnaire, and email it back to us. This will help enormously with our planning, both with preparing for corporate worship in our church buildings, and the on-going provision of streamed services. With social distancing currently at 2 meters (though this may change), determines the number of folk that we will be able to accommodate in each church building; if social distancing is reduced, then our capacity will of course increase.
We fully understand that for some people, when the time comes, they may not feel ready, or are able to come back, and that of course is fully respected. This is why we are looking to continue to live-stream our services, and currently looking to extend WiFi into St Dunstan's from the hall.
I will ensure that those who are off-line will also get a copy of the questionnaire, when we send everything out to them next week. Thank you all, in anticipation.
Meanwhile, here is Morning Prayer
Words from our second reading this morning: Luke 12: 22-31, do read it here.
God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 16 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this continues to find you well, as we are here at The Rectory, and another fine day today.
Yesterday I went into the town, I put the notices up on our church doors relating to private prayer, and observed how the shops that were open were managing - as this is something we will be doing when it comes to being open for worship, it helps to observe how others are managing signage, hand sanitisers, and social distancing. To be honest, it wasn't as busy as I had anticipated (nothing like what I saw on the news last night). Yes there were definitely more folk out there, but often our numbers are swelled by tourists and students,and with neither of them around, it is very much the residents of Canterbury and surrounding villages. Of course with all our cafes and restaurants still closed (and there are normally an awful lot of them open), there still felt a sense of semi-lockdown; along with our dear Marlowe theatre (please do keep them in your prayers). It was also good to catch up with a number of our rough sleepers, many of whom I have got to know over recent years here in Canterbury - it was lovely as I was treated like a long lost friend, though it made my day to see them all, and find out how they have fared in lockdown. One couple, who have recently got engaged were asking about a church wedding next year, which would be wonderful.
So today we have been asked to remember Richard, Bishop of Chichester, who died in 1253, and his 'Day-by day' prayer you may know, words that have been said by many down the ages, to this day, words we can perhaps reflect upon this day, whatever the day holds before us:
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits you have given me,
For all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know You more clearly,
Love You more dearly,
Follow You more nearly
Off now to join Sue & Jayne as we plan the logistics of worship at St Dunstan's, along Covid risk assessments.
God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep connected, and keep praying.
MONDAY 15 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory - another glorious day, but with a high pollen count - found myself sneezing away - looked at BBC weather app on my phone, and it said pollen very high!
So today is one of those 'milestone' days for our high street in terms of many of our shops re-opening, and in recognition of all the amount of work that would have taken place, and Covid risk assessments that would have been carried out (something we all have to do, ourselves included). We must remain ever mindful for those in hospitality and arts that have not been given the green light for opening. As chaplain to the Marlowe theatre, they are all particularly in my prayers, at this very difficult time.
Re opening our churches for private prayer: following your feedback last week, we have decided against the opening of our church buildings for private prayer, but are focusing our energies on preparing them for public worship, as and when we are advised - this week am picking up 5 litres of hand sanitiser, which I ordered in March, and has now arrived! I am of course available for prayer requests, by appointment, and could meet outside.
However, the cathedral will be offering limited opening times for private prayer: Monday - Friday 4.30pm - 8.00pm, and 10.00am - 4.00pm Sat & Sun.
Today in Morning Prayer, we were asked to remember Evelyn Underhill, who from the mid-1920s became highly regarded as a retreat conductor and influential spiritual director. I will leave you with some of her quotes to ponder:
"We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do... forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in , the fundamental verb, to Be." ~ Evelyn Underhill
"For lack of attention a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day." ~ Evelyn Underhill
"My growth depends on my walls coming down." ~ Evelyn Underhill
"God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive Him there with gratitude in that sacrament." ~ Evelyn Underhill
Some attachments I have been sent through which may be of interest from St Augustine's theological college and the children's activity sheet (on our Resources page).
God Bless, and keep well, keep connected, and keep praying.
FRIDAY 12 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope you are well, as we continue to be here at the Rectory.
A brief (and early) note this morning, as I have a funeral first thing (thank you John for leading Morning Prayer), and then meeting with Mary, churchwarden for St Mildred's as we go into church to start planning the logistics for worship. Rachel (churchwarden) and I met yesterday at St Peter's and did likewise. All St Peter's folk - all is well, and we were working out seating in there - slightly easier as it is chairs. Of course it depends if the government reduces the social distancing from 2 metres. We were there with tape measure working it all out; it is also working out the flow etc - again a steep learning curve for us all! But that is what life is about - they say a lifetime of learning!
From today's Psalm: 17:8 "Keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me under the shadow of your wings"
God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 11 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you well on this slightly damp morning, as we all are here.
Today, in the church year is Corpus Christi, also known as The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion. It always falls the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, and two months on from Maundy Thursday (what a lot has happened in that time).
Corpus Christi is a festival that has been celebrated by many Christians, particularly the Catholic Church, in honour of the Eucharist since 1246. The name “Corpus Christi” is a Latin phrase that refers to the body of Christ. In this context it is acknowledging the 'real presence' of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine. I know in St Peter's and St Mildred's there has been a tradition of having services in our churches on this day, with a special liturgy, produced by the Church of England.
Of course we all have our own understanding of what happens at the Eucharist, for some Christ's presence is real in the consecrated bread and wine, for some it is a memorial, and for others probably somewhere in between.
During this lockdown, I am acutely conscious that many have not been able to receive communion. Although each week as I celebrate here at the Rectory, I do so on behalf of you all, each and every one of you, and I do sense that you are present with me (which is why I live-stream and not pre-record). However I do recognise how difficult this must be, to be fasting from communion and something to reflect upon, particularly as we anticipate the opening of our churches for worship (no date set). I also recognise that for some even when we are permitted to open for public worship, you will feel it is too soon, and would rather stay at home - and I fully respect that. That is why we are looking to continue livestreamed services, particularly from St Dunstan's where there is some 4G, and the possibility of extending WiFi from hall to church building.
Anyway, it is also St Barnabas's day so I will let you look him up in the meantime.
Please do keep safe, keep well and keep connected, and continue with your prayers for Rev Kevin.
WEDNESDAY 10 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope you are well, as we are here.
Thank you all for your feedback re the possibility of opening up our church buildings for private prayer from next Monday; the overriding feeling from you all including PCCs, churchwardens, and ministry team is that opening up for private prayer from Monday 15th June is too soon, and I echo these sentiments. Especially bearing in mind the work that has to be done to get our church buildings ready, including signage, sitters, cleaning, provision of hand sanitisers and the requirement to undertake Covid risk assessments for each building. The logistical challenges along with the health and safety of our ministers and volunteers all have to be considered. We are still uncertain (awaiting guidance) to hear if our over-70s can be involved with this work.
Yesterday evening we received further documents about preparing our buildings this time for public worship, and receiving communion. So our energies must focus on that, implementing the aforementioned requirements, and anything further that comes out, which seems to be daily at the moment. I am working with the churchwardens to process and implement these changes, so please do bear with us, as you can imagine there is a lot to do.
Psalm 124.8: Our help comes in the name of the Lord (Amen)
God Bless, and do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 9 JUNE 2020
Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you well, as we are here.
Thank you for all those who fed back yesterday with all your thoughts and comments with respect to the possibility of opening our church buildings from 15th June 2020 for private prayer. With regards to specific questions raised, I have passed them onto Rev Mark Griffin, for his meeting with the Archdeacon today and will give feedback accordingly. Thank you to those who have offered to help with cleaning, which we will need to do, and continue to do as and when we do open. Will keep you posted on decisions made, once heard back from both PCCs.
Our reading this morning for morning prayer was that of Mary and Martha, and the phrase that leapt out at me when reading it was "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by so many things; there is need for only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her" Luke 10:41-2. This has certainly been a time for some, and by no means all, to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus, and listen, to be, rather than constantly doing. We can (and I for one) so easily be distracted by so many things. We are after all, 'human beings and not human doings' (one of my favourite sayings of Richard Rhor). Today in our liturgy we have been asked to remember Saint Columba, of the Iona community, who founded monasteries both in Ireland, and on Iona, which to this day remains a place for pilgrimages and retreats. Please find attached some information regarding retreats from St Augustine's College of Theology, for retreats from home.
Scams: Please be aware that there are scams around re Track and Trace (see attached, from Jeanie Armstrong), and please do be careful.
God Bless you all, and keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
MONDAY 8 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, a damp one this morning, but the gardens do need it, and I am sure the farmers certainly do! I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory.
Well that was a surprise announcement at 10.00pm on Saturday evening (I had no idea that was coming!!), that we may open our church buildings from 15th June for private prayer. We were under the impression that this might happen early July.
Please do have a look at this from Bishop Rose, which came out yesterday evening, which will help us with our thinking.
Needless to say that we have to think this through carefully, our Area Dean is meeting with Archdeacon Jo tomorrow (Tuesday) and has asked for any thoughts, so I would really welcome your views, particularly those of our PCCs as this would be a PCC decision, as to what we do.
As I mentioned last week we have had preparation documents with risk assessment, guidance re deep cleaning and social distancing (on CofE website, and diocesan website) but not re 'supervised prayer' as per announcement Saturday evening.
Mindful of the age and vulnerability of our congregations, who is permitted to help with this. If we were to open, we would need cleaning, and on-going cleaning of all three churches, sitters, hand sanitisers and purchase of appropriate cleaning materials. I would also be interested to know that if our church buildings were open for private prayer, what the demand would be?
If you could let me know by close of play today, so that we can feed this back to Rev Mark, our Area Dean for tomorrow.
Those who are in touch with our off-line folk, if you get a chance please can you ask them their thoughts and feed them back. Thank you so much.
Please keep Rev. Kevin in your prayers, as he remains unwell.
Psalm: Please do look at Psalm 121, which is the appointed psalm for a Eucharist today: "I lift my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come?"
God Bless, and keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
FRIDAY 5 JUNE 2020
Good morning, hope this continues to find you well, as we are here. Just back from another funeral, this really is tough with so few family and friends being present, to say goodbye to someone, and this morning reading Psalm 23 seemed to speak into the situation of being comforted by God's presence in all that we are and all that we do. That sense of God with us both in the good times, and the most challenging of times.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I saw this yesterday from the Mothers' Union prayer diary, which I thought was lovely: Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting and tedious of all works. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you' Corrie Ten Boom 1892- 1983.
Doreen Dash: It is with sadness that I learnt yesterday that Doreen Dash, known to many of you, died peacefully yesterday afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Note from Kitty: Dear all, It is difficult to put into words the grateful thanks we want to express as a family to all of you, who have remembered Michael in so many ways, and for surrounding us with your love and prayers now that he is at peace in God's kingdom. God has been our guide and still is for all of us. Loving greetings, Kitty
Details for Sunday worship will be out later today: 10.00 Eucharist live streamed on Facebook Live then uploaded to YouTube
Morning Prayer (thank you Brian)
God Bless you all, and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 4 JUNE 2020
Good morning, an overcast one this morning, but we do so need the rain, so let's hope and pray that we do get a downpour today! All well here at the Rectory, having adapted to this 'new norm'.
But what do we mean by normal? The dictionary defines normal as 'usual or ordinary'. So this 'new norm' which is often being referred to at the moment, would imply that what we are currently experiencing will evolve to be normal, and ordinary. Ironically in the liturgical year following Trinity Sunday this Sunday coming, we then have what is referred to as 'Ordinary Time', and our liturgical colour reflects this with our vestments, altar frontal, and other church furnishings are green in colour.
Green, reflecting nature; this is used more than any other colour throughout the liturgical year, reminding us of God's provision for our daily needs. It represents growth and new life - our stewardship of God's beautiful creation, and the growing of God's Kingdom here. Our Sundays during Ordinary Time, are also named Sunday after Trinity - so those who follow our services, so this Sunday is Trinity Sunday, and the colour will be white as it is referred to as a principle feast day, thereafter they will be green, unless we are celebrating a particular saint day during this time. If the saint has been martyred then the colour is red, otherwise white....the liturgical colours are like a window into God - they can tell us so much.
From today's psalm: 143:8 Let me hear of your loving kindness in the morning for in you I put my trust; show me the way I should walk in, for I lift up my soul to you.
Please do keep connected, keep safe and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, hope all continue to keep well, as we are here. Just back from a funeral at Barham - it is really tough on so many families, with the social distancing and limited numbers, as it is in so many different spheres of life.
Today I will be reviewing various documents from CofE which are preparation documents re cleaning churches and social distancing regulations prior to any further guidance about opening our churches. Nothing further to note, but as and when we are told, we need to be prepared to the best of our ability.
That sense of waiting is good to reflect upon, it gives us patience and time to process things. In our 'normal busy lives' that sense of patiently waiting can be easily put to one side - that 'must have now' attitude, rather than waiting, and being patient. Looking in the bible, folk were waited in the wilderness, and again in exile from Jerusalem. Time and time again people have waited, as we do now, but the time can be well spent - listening to the eulogy at the funeral this morning - make the most of each and every day, whatever it may bring, each and every day is a gift from God.
Morning Prayer led by John.
God Bless you all and do keep praying, keep connected, and keep safe.
TUESDAY 2 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, and I do hope this finds you well, as we are here at the Rectory, and another glorious day - we have been blessed with good weather, though I do hear the cries of the gardeners who are in need of rain, as I am sure are our farmers.
We are so fortunate living in this part of the world - it is not called the Garden of England for nothing. On one of my walks last week I went through strawberry fields, apple and plum orchards, hop fields, and vineyards in the distance. Earlier this year Jim & I were walking along the Stour, and back via Chartham Hatch, and we noticed just by the railway crossing at Chartham wine tasting: so as we were on foot - we indulged. Talking to the chap (ex-geology lecturer at UKC) he said that the soil where all the vines are growing is the same as that of the Champagne region of France, and with the climate warming it is becoming a significant wine growing area, with hundreds of vines having recently been planted.
Whenever I see rows upon rows of vineyards, it always takes me back to that saying of Jesus from John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
When preaching on this passage a while ago I did some research: To produce fruit to a true type, that means as close to the ‘parent plant’ as possible, a vine is grafted onto a strong root stock, and the two plants effectively become one.The root stock goes deep into the ground drawing up the nutrients the plant needs. In turn the branches grow from the plant; left to themselves the branches will get carried away and grow and grow; although this can be lovely to see, it is at the expense of any grapes that may be trying to grow on the vine. All the energy is spent on growing, with little left for the fruit. For fruit to be produced the branches are pruned right back so the energy can be channelled into the grapes. Branches that are not bearing fruit are removed, again so that the plant’s energy is directed to the fruit. Jesus knew that to produce fruit a vineyard needs pruning, and harsh pruning, and that branches that don’t produce fruit are discarded. What this passage doesn’t say is that it takes three years for a newly planted vine to produce viable grapes, and then the conditions have to be right.
This made me think how our lives over recent weeks have been pruned right back, so much has been stripped away: and for many yesterday who have been shielding was a time that they could step outdoors, or perhaps see a family member. It has given many of us the opportunity to reflect upon what really matters in life, perhaps for some that could be summerised by the words: faith, food and family....
Rev Michael Reeve: I am delighted to let you know that Michael came home last week, and is gaining strength everyday, which is really good news.
Rev. Kevin Goodman: Kevin is not so well at the moment and has asked if you could please pray for him at this time, thank you.
Tomorrow morning I have a funeral first thing (as I do on Friday), so John is leading Morning Prayer tomorrow, and Brian on Friday - thank you both, and on each day my morning briefing may be slightly later.
God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep connected, and keep praying.
MONDAY 1 JUNE 2020
Good morning everyone, I do hope this finds you well, as we are here at the Rectory, and certainly after my week on leave - refreshed and recharged. I must admit I did have some aching limbs from my walks, evidently not as fit as I normally am, from walking around everywhere! I was blessed with glorious weather, and time to be, time with the family, BBQs, gardening and walking (probably about 64 miles!). It was really good to receive spiritually- a bonus of streaming our services is that one can enjoy them having the familiar voices of Rev. Brian McHenry in the morning, and John Morrison in the evening for Morning Prayer and Compline respectively (thank you both). To be fed and nourished spiritually, as well as physically is good for us all.
It would be good for us to perhaps reflect on this time, as to what we would like to hang onto as we gradually ease out of lockdown (from a church building perspective we have no further guidance to date). Identify those things that we want to pick up again, those things which we perhaps want to drop. Likewise identify those things that we have adapted to in lockdown, but wouldn't want to continue with as we ease out, and those things that we do want to hang onto as we move into a new norm.
It would be really helpful for my reflecting and thinking as to what your thoughts are - please do email me. Yesterday as we celebrated Pentecost, and listened to Bishop Rose's sermon as sense of a re-birth, of re-imagining ministry. Something that the church has done right from its beginnings in that upper room when the Spirit descended 2000 years ago.
Bishop Rose's sermon for Pentecost.
Please go to our You Tube channel or Facebook for Morning Prayer, as it is taking a little while to download this morning.
In the meantime, God Bless, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
FRIDAY 22 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and I do hope you are all well, as we are here at The Rectory. A slightly cooler day today but did manage to have Morning Prayer outside with the birdsong, which is a real blessing.
As I write, I have just seen a mother out jogging with her two children following behind; one jogging, the other on a scooter - and the thought that came to mind was a mother duck with the ducklings in tow. Such imagery summons that quote of Jesus in Luke 13:34: 'I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.' That feeling of protection, and again reflected by the psalmist David in Psalm 57:1, who wrote about God being like a mother hen protecting her chicks. 'Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed'.
In this time of uncertainty and, for many, fear, to know that God's protection is there for us, we can be comforted by that thought. I was very moved to read the story of how a mother hen who sacrificed herself to keep her chicks alive; she hid them under her wings with an approaching fire, she died but they all survived.
NOVENA - Today marks the beginning of the Novena: nine days of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost. This is an ancient tradition that goes back centuries but seems to have had a revival in recent years. Normally in church we have booklets that we hand out but here it is attached in digital format. May I encourage you to use it in these nine days. There are also some daily reflections for you too.
Week 25th - 29th May: As I have mentioned I am on leave this week (walking from home). Ana (our administrator) is also on leave, so any queries please do contact our wardens: Mary Streater, Rachel Cameron, Jayne Ward & Sue Palmer. (Contact details on the bulletin)
Morning Prayer Tuesday 26th - Fri 29th will be led by Rev. Brian McHenry, and Compline by our Reader John Morrison, both services will be on Facebook Live, then uploaded to YouTube (thank you both).
Morning Briefing will resume on 1st June when I am back; though I am here on 31st May to take our Eucharist for Pentecost, with Bishop Rose preaching (delivered to the whole diocese).
In the meantime, please do keep Kitty and family in your prayers.
I will send out Sunday service details this evening.
God Bless, and do keep praying, keep connected and keep safe.
THURSDAY 21 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this continues to find you all well, as we are here at the Rectory. So today is Ascension Day, known as the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ; the fortieth day of Easter. It is also, what is referred to as, a principle feast day in the churches calendar, en par with Easter and Christmas. 'In normal times' we are obliged to celebrate the Eucharist; and I will be doing so this evening, live-streaming on Facebook Live at 7.00pm.
In many countries today it is a public holiday with all shops shut. I know this from experience, coming back from France exactly 10 years ago, having walked some of the Camino Santiago (Route through France). I went to get the train to work our way home and everything was shut! My other abiding memory of Ascension Day was on Mount Taber (mountain of the transfiguration) on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, with Dean Nick Papodopolus celebrating the Eucharist under a canvas; almost felt surreal.
I wonder what does the Ascension of Christ mean to you? For some we have that picture, often depicted in art, with Jesus' feet disappearing up into the clouds; of the post-resurrection Jesus no longer being physically present with the disciples, as he returns to his Father in heaven. But the disciples were not left alone, they were told to wait in the city, to then be "clothed from with power from in high"; I am sure they must have wondered what Jesus meant but as ever they were obedient to his words. That must have been such a roller-coaster 40 days for them, since Easter Day; as it is for many of us today, but as we journey together through this, we too anticipate Pentecost, which is Sunday week (31st)...in the meantime we have the Novena, nine days of prayer to look forward to, which I sent through with yesterday's briefing.
Have struggled to upload Morning Prayer this morning on YouTube, but can see it if you click on this link.
To follow a note from Kitty Fulljames.
Meanwhile God Bless and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 2020
Good afternoon everyone, and I do hope this finds you all well, as we are here, and another hot day. As I mentioned yesterday I took a funeral first thing this morning, so apologies for the delay in getting this to you.
Many of you will be aware from my earlier email of the sad loss of Rev Michael Fulljames, who died peacefully yesterday in a local nursing home, where he had been for several months. Thoughts and prayers very much with Kitty and the family at this sad and difficult time. Someone so wise, and much loved by so many of us will be sorely missed but, in his words, now elevated to glory, and at peace.
Tomorrow, Thursday, is Ascension Day, and we will mark this with a Eucharist, live-streamed at 7.00 pm (that way we will also be able to cheer for our keyworkers at 8.00pm). Canterbury Diocese for many years now provides a Novena booklet for the 9 days of the Novena - Ascension Day to Pentecost. There are some excellent resources available from the diocese to support this. This will then be concluded at Pentecost, when Bishop Rose is preaching to the diocese on Sunday 31st May 2020, which will be downloaded and incorporated into our Eucharist.
Novena and Thy Kingdom Come details from the diocese:
Here are four ways for you and your church to get involved:
- Download this year's beautiful Novena resources for free - use them for your own quiet time, with those in your household or in an online small group. View the resources and download them here.
- Sign up to receive daily emails with the Novena images and prompts to help you to reflect and go deeper with God - sign up here.
- Join us for our Diocesan Day of Prayer and Pilgrimage, 29-30 May. We've re-imagined it for Lockdown and will be offering an online pilgrimage through everyday items, with contributions from every deanery of our diocese. All you'll need are some everyday objects and and internet connection - check out the details and times here - and please spread the word.
- Tell us what you hear. Our theme this year is 'Listening on the way' and we want to know what you hear from God during this time - write or draw your thoughts, take a photo and email the team to help us to share what God is saying to us during this season.
I must admit I have used the booklet for several years and have always found them very good.
God Bless you all and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying
Morning Prayer from Rev Brian McHenry - thank you, Brian!
TUESDAY 19 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and yet another glorious day! Hope this finds you well, as we are here at The Rectory. Today 19 May is the day of one of our patron saints: St Dunstan. On Sunday we celebrated his patronal festival, though today is his actual day. If you want to find out more, Wikipedia does a reasonable job.
So I won't repeat what that says, though I must admit we do need to credit him for the revival of the monastic life in this country. Before I was appointed, and I do like history, I did my background on our three saints (well, in fact there are more, as churches are amalgamated but more of that when we come to their saint days).
But what makes a saint? Again, I am sure we all have our own understandings about sainthood and what makes a saint. Do you have a favourite saint, and why? I would be fascinated to know. Remember that in the New Testament, “saints” means not canonised saints (a much later development), but rather all the people of God.
One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Hebrews 12:1 12. 'Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[a] and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us'. That real sense that we really are surrounded by all the saints. Back in 2012, we were at the packed Olympic stadium and there was a big banner with the words: Hebrews 12.1. So when I got home I looked it up and the realisation that we really are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses: all those that have gone before us, are here with us today, and then those to come. Comparable to the Sanctus in the Eucharist, which is something I really miss us all saying together at the moment: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for today, and on Dunstan...
Update on Michael: Daphne reports that he is continuing to improve, and has been moved to a cottage hospital for rehabilitation, which is really good news. Prayers continue.
Attached is the latest menu from Refectory Catering.
God Bless you all, and keep praying, keep connected and please keep well.
Please note tomorrow Rev Brian McHenry will be live streaming Morning Prayer on Facebook Live, Benefice page, and uploading to YouTube, as I have a funeral first thing, and morning briefing will be slightly later.
MONDAY 18 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone and another glorious day. I understand it is going to get warmer this week, which will be lovely. I hope this finds you all well, as we are here - another lovely walk on Saturday.
Then after our service yesterday, I 'Beat the Bounds' of the Benefice, which I mentioned on Friday. What struck me the most was the sheer emptiness of Palace Street, The Buttermarket, and Burgate. It was completely deserted - never before have I seen it completely empty - day or night. The gates to the cathedral were shut along with all other shops, pubs and restaurants. It was the enormity of what is happening that really hit me.
Of course Canterbury, like many other ancient cities, has the 'double whammy' of losing both our students and tourists. On a hot balmy spring afternoon (it was 3.00 o'clock), the place should have been swarming with residents, students and tourists alike. Evensong would be about to begin in the cathedral - everything gone. I must admit it was rather a wake up call of the impact that this virus is having. From there I went around the boundary (which is Burgate), turning right along the city wall, past the car park with Age UK and down Gas Street, past St Mildred's (a lovely chat with folk enjoying the churchyard), then along the Stour to Bingly Island, where I said the litany for Rogation Sunday (Boundary of the two parishes). I did record it, but it didn't come out too well! Then back working my way through the roads up to the university, along and back down through the woods to the Rectory (5 miles exactly according to Strava). Although our Benefice is compact, we have both rural and the city centre within our boundary. What was also lovely was to see several folk from our congregation out, and to say hello (keeping social distancing at all times)!
All in training for next week - I was meant to be in the Holy Land, assisting Dean Nicholas Papodopalous on pilgrimage to the Holy Land but alas, not to be (hopefully next year?); so am going to be walking around the Kent coast instead, from Canterbury to Whitstable and then turn right and see how far I get!
There is something about walking and pilgrimage, that sense of journeying. Of course we have our physical journeys, but also our faith journeys - that inner journey of faith/spiritual journey, of which we are all on. This time of lockdown is an opportunity to perhaps stop and reflect upon that - where is God in all this, and my/our relationship with God? Rev Kevin spoke so well into this yesterday in our service. If you haven't heard it, or want to hear it again, it is attached as a sound recording; something we could perhaps reflect more upon in the coming weeks, especially as we begin to think about coming out of lockdown.
In the meantime, God Bless you all, and please as ever: keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
FRIDAY 15 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and where do the weeks go?? Hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory, and instead of playing Catan last night (that's our board game), got drawn into this ancestry/family tree; both Jim and I have signed up and exploring our respective trees...I have ancestry from India (great grandfather), which is really interesting - perhaps explains my love for curries!
Sunday as well as celebrating our patronal festival of St Dunstan (more about that on St Dunstan's day: 19th May), it is Rogation Sunday - a time when historically one would beat the bounds of the Parish; something I was introduced to in my curacy Parish, and then here. In fact it was one of the first opportunities to meet many of you, more informally.
Place is important to me, and I was determined to establish in my mind before I was appointed the Benefice boundaries - I got Google Maps, Google Earth, OS Maps, A Church Near You, and established the Benefice boundary and mapped it out, all 6.9 miles of it! I am pretty certain where all the roads are in the Benefice.
When I was given the cure of souls for all those within the Benefice, at my licensing, this is something that I take very seriously, also recognising it is a huge privilege. That sense of pastoral oversight of all, those who attend church, and those who don't, people of all faiths and none. Up until lockdown, every Monday morning as many of you know, I would spend two and half hours walking the Benefice and praying for all who live there, along with the pubs, restaurants, shops etc etc. It is through this ministry, and my daily walking around I have got to know so many of our homeless community (I am in touch with Catching Lives still). Now that we are allowed to do more exercise, I will resume this ministry next week, and be actively walking and praying around the Benefice.
It brings me onto Rogation Sunday, and that tradition of praying, if you are out and about please do pray for God's blessing upon the land, if you are shielding at home, perhaps find a map of Canterbury and pray for the streets that are familiar to you.
I will certainly be walking and praying the boundary Sunday afternoon, and say the prayers, which are attached in a Word document.
Will also send out this afternoon details for our Sunday service.
Michael: Having spoken to Daphne, Michael is slowly improving, which is good news, but still a long way to go. Prayers continue for them both.
Psalm: Please do read all of psalm 138 for today - it was so pertinent, I felt.
In the meantime keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
THURSDAY 14 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, hope you continue to stay well as we are here at the Rectory.
As I mentioned yesterday, we have received further guidance from Bishop Rose, and the CofE, which will be available on Diocese website, and is on their Facebook page.
As you am sure you will be aware, we have been instructed that all our church buildings remain closed until the beginning of July, at the very earliest (and this is very conditional on government guidance). However, and I quote:
"with certain guidance and practices in place, parishes may now decide to enable ONE designated person to enter your church building, for the following purposes:
- Praying the daily offices
- Live streaming or pre-recording worship
- Celebrating the Eucharist on behalf of the community (if the designated person is a priest)
- Ringing one bell from the ground floor to announce prayers being said
- Checking the fabric of the building in the course of these duties
Please note that no parish or individual should feel compelled to do this"
In light of this, and in discussion with our four churchwardens we have come to the following conclusion:
Live-streaming vs pre-recorded services
None of our three churches have any wifi provision, with only St Dunstan having 4G cover for use with a phone for live-streaming (though we are currently exploring how to tap into the wifi from the hall).
It is my preference, and of those I have spoken to, for live-streaming to continue, i.e. everything is done in real time, rather than watching a pre-recorded service. With a live-stream service for the Eucharist, I am dependent on another member of my household to assist with the technology /monitoring comments etc and I am hugely grateful to my husband, Jim, who is doing this, especially if technology fails, as it did last week.
We felt that in this continual time of uncertainty and anxiety, we would keep to what seems to be working, and from what I understand is well received:
- Daily Office: Morning Prayer and Compline continue to be live-streamed from the Rectory at 9.00 am and 7.00 pm. This is available on our Facebook page and immediately uploaded to our YouTube page, with both services being well supported by people in the Benefice and further afield. When Jo is not available (taking funerals/on leave), Rev Brian McHenry and John Morrison are able to take live-stream from their homes and upload accordingly.
- Eucharist: Continue with celebrating the Eucharist from the Rectory, live-streamed, and immediately uploaded to YouTube, and with the support and availability of my husband Jim, followed immediately by Zoom Coffee morning.
- Designated people: Our designated people for each church: Sue (St Dunstan's), Rachel (St Peter's), and Conrad (St Mildred's) continue as they have been accessing our churches for building checks, abiding by all the 'Covid-safe' practices with cleaning and I know are praying in them, and can ring the bell to alert people they are praying in them (though we don't want to give 'mixed messages' in that our buildings remain closed).
- Rev Jo to continue to visit each church regularly and prays in the grounds, and often meets people walking in our churchyards.
Bishop Rose has stressed that it is for us to decide as to what works best in our context here. If you do have any questions please do not hesitate to phone/email.
Thomas More: Following this guidance and continual uncertainty about public worship, we have decided to cancel the St Thomas More Service on 6th July, and Rev Brian McHenry will do a short service recorded from home for that day (I am on leave at that time, and Brian was going to take the service).
Words form our Psalmist: from Psalm 16: Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge.
Many thanks to you all for your ongoing prayers and support. None of these decisions, I assure you, have been taken lightly.
Keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
WEDNESDAY 13 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, I hope this continues to find you all well, as we are here at the Rectory, though rather a cold and blustery morning (morning prayer inside today), and I did notice a bit of snow in Scotland!!
Several of you have sent this through to me from YouTube: The UK Blessing, and within a week it has had 2.2 million views, which apparently is equivalent to 200 new people watching it every single minute of every hour since it was released, and people who don't consider themselves being religious have been moved to tears by watching it. The same article also commented that the British online bookstore, Eden, has reported a 55% increase in the sales of bibles in April. A recent headline in one paper said that one in four are tuning into a service online. We are certainly keeping a record of all our numbers; and Ana has created a spreadsheet and one can also note how long people watch for; although our buildings are shut, church online would appear to be thriving. Of course it is spiritual growth, rather than clicks on a screen, but what appears to be happening is that a door is being knocked on, and people are dipping their toes in, and little seeds grow into huge trees.
Yesterday we received further guidance from Bishop Rose, and am meeting on Zoom with our wardens today, with view to discussing our options, remaining mindful that our church buildings remain closed for all public worship. Despite this, and I know how difficult it is, it is good to hear that so many of you are remaining connected, praying for one another, and keeping in touch on the phone, and keeping well. I met someone yesterday whilst on my daily exercise, who works in our local hospital, and said first hand just how difficult and challenging things are, and this virus is very real and present here in Canterbury. Hearing that really made me think and pray....for all our key workers especially those who at this moment are working on our frontline in whatever context that may be; as this person said, this is my job, and day after day I get on with it.
In the words of today's psalmist (Psalm 30): 'I will exalt you O Lord, because you have raised me up, and not let my foes triumph over me'.
In the meantime, please keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 12 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this continues to find you all well, as we are here at The Rectory.
One of the conversations we have had on our Zoom coffee morning is folk using this time to revisit their family tree - I know a couple of you have enjoyed spending time doing this. This is something Jim & I did many years ago, before there was the internet, and had to go to various records offices, Somerset House etc, now it would seem it is at the touch of a button on the computer; so we decided that we would revisit this, using Ancestry. (I am sure there are many other sites available, but this one had an offer!!). It was quite incredible, we put in a few details of what we knew and researched already and there before us was opened a whole past - it was like that TV programme, 'Who do you think you are?', it linked in with other families who may have done some research on your distant ancestor, and it linked in together. But it got me thinking, who we are - all that has gone before us, shaping who we are today, and how that is then passed on to the next generation. Really fascinating, and how I come back to that thought of how this current experience will perhaps shape next generations. It really was interesting, and worth having a look at! It also makes us think about our identity - 'who do you say that I am?'.... and as it is written in the Gospels, whoever we are, whatever our background: you are my beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased.
As yet no further guidance re 'next steps' for our church buildings, but I am aware of much activity behind the scenes from what is on the CofE website. In the meantime, please do let me know if you are available to read/lead intercessions, as it is always good to have different voices. This week coming up we have St Dunstan's patronal festival (19th May is his day, but we celebrate on nearest Sunday); little did we know when we put this month's rota together that we wouldn't be gathered in our churches...but we are where we are, and rise to the challenge! As +Rowen says: "Find out what God is doing, and join in".
Update on Michael: Continuing to get a little stronger, which is good news, and prayers continue.
Bless, and keep praying, keep connected, and keep safe.
MONDAY 11 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you all well on this very blustery morning, as we are here at the Rectory. Thank you to all those who have contributed to our VE Day website page, there are some lovely stories there. It is not too late to add any more stories, or pictures of your VE Day 75th Celebrations, either send them to Caroline Blamey, or to me and I can forward. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting our neighbours here in Harkness Drive, with a number of tea parties taking place in front gardens (social distancing maintained throughout). What was nice was having the time, in "normal times", many people are rushing off here there and everywhere, and there was no sense of that on Friday, rather being very present to the present moment, and chatting to folk - someone said how he heard me saying morning prayer every day, to camera!
This week is also Christian Aid week, in times past we have done door to door collections, and then last year there was a quiz night to raise funds, along with envelopes in our churches. All of that is out of the question, but we do have a link on our website to enable giving to this charity.
Yesterday we had a technology failure with streaming our service, although we soon managed to get back online. This really drew to my attention how dependent we are on the internet, wifi connections etc etc, and how mindful we must be for those folk who are off-line, and the only means of communication is either by post or phone call. I do encourage you to keep the phone calls going, as I know how very much it is appreciated. I must admit I thoroughly enjoy phoning around and catching up with you all; though there are still services to plan, Zoom meetings to attend, emails, and funerals to take (prayers please for Jo Durkins' family as I take her funeral this morning). In the next couple of days we will hear more from Bishop Rose re the plans for our diocese and what 'next steps' might look like.
For those of us who are online however, technology today has helped enormously - just to see familiar faces, be it on our Zoom coffee mornings, or keeping in touch with our friends and families, and even online quizzes, which we have thoroughly enjoyed partaking in, over recent weeks. But nothing beats seeing someone face to face, worshipping together, and we really do have that to look forward to!! Though I fear it will be some time before we can 'share the peace'/shake a hand/offer a hug.
We have a lot to be thankful for, the birds are singing, and it is a fresh new day, and in the words of this morning's psalm, psalm 145: Every day I will bless you and praise your name for ever and ever.
Michael: Update from Daphne, that Michael is slowly getting stronger, but still a very long way to go, so please do keep them both in your prayers.
God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
FRIDAY 8 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you all well, as today we celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
I do encourage you all to have a look at our website this morning, and read all the wonderful memories, that have come from you all, including Ron Lobeck talking on camera, of his memories of the day - and please do add further memories that you have and photos from today. (Thank you Caroline for putting the page together). Send them either to Caroline Blamey or myself, and I will forward.
On our website there is the Royal British Legion schedule of events today, so again do have a look.
Please do also have a look at these services recorded earlier, and do watch both part 1 and 2, (I struggled to merge the videos, so two separate). Click on the Order of Service and then click on Part 1 and Part 2.
VE Service for VE Day 75th Commemoration:
Michael: Daphne has advised that Michael is getting stronger, and again yesterday they were able to speak on Zoom, which is wonderful news. May prayers continue, please.
Menu: See the latest menu from Refectory Catering Services.
Julian of Norwich: Today 8 May, we also remember that wonderful mystic, Julian of Norwich, so I will conclude with her comforting words for these times: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”
God Bless you all, and whatever you do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
THURSDAY 7 MAY 2020
Good morning and hope this finds you well, as we are here at the Rectory. One of the things I find difficult about this lockdown, is remembering what day it is! Those of you watching Morning Prayer know where I am coming from...is it Wednesday or Thursday, and then the reassuring sound of the rubbish lorry (thank you keyworkers) alerted me to the fact that it's Thursday - but what does differentiate our days?
Several people have mentioned that this rhythm of prayer (Morning Prayer & Compline), work (paid work or clearing cupboards/gardening), exercise, and rest is very monastic, and something that I have reflected on myself. Last night I caught up with a friend of mine, a sister in a closed convent, and we chatted on Zoom (yes it is possible), and how this rhythm to our days was not that dissimilar to their way of life. Many years ago I was introduced to something called Rhythm of life, how each day one should have a quiet time, each week a quiet time (Sabbath), every month maybe a quiet day, every year maybe a retreat - and what this feels like at the moment is a global 'retreat', everything has been paused - a chance of reflection, of asking some of the bigger questions, of giving our planet that opportunity to breathe....of action and contemplation. That rhythm of alternating between meeting with God in the quiet place, and then the meeting of God in the busyness of the market place.
VE DAY 75th anniversary celebrations
On a different note, tomorrow we celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and thank you for those who have already contributed to our VE Day webpage...and here is a note form Caroline Blamey.
We are creating a page on the website to mark the special 75th anniversary of VE day. Already a few people have sent us some interesting stories - thank you very much. Later today, you should be able to see it up on the website, linked from the Homepage. If any of you have memories of VE Day or any photos, I would appreciate it if you would send them to Rev Jo as soon as possible please. We will only put your first name up on the website unless you specifically want your surname there too. Thank you in advance.
On the web page I would also like to draw your attention to Pauline's suggestions for how we can mark the day ourselves and follow the day's schedule via the Royal British Legion website.
We would also welcome photographs of any home/garden decorations you may be doing for this weekend. Send them to Rev Jo and they will be forwarded to Samuel for the web gallery. Thanks.
Update on Michael: Yesterday he was brighter, and Daphne was able to chat to him on Zoom! Prayers continue...
In haste, as off to Zoom chapter meeting, but will send out details etc for Sunday services, and our short service tomorrow for VE Day in due course.
WEDNESDAY 6 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and another glorious day out there, and good to be outside again for Morning Prayer, and the birdsong, I know I keep saying it, but it is just beautiful. That real sense that before the dawn they are singing in anticipation of the day ahead; they sing in the darkness, in the knowledge and sure and certain hope that the sun will rise; and it then seems that they give thanks at the end of the day with the evening birdsong; our birds and the prevalence of our birdsong certainly give that sense of hope: hope that it won't be too long before we can meet together in our churches (I sense we might find out more from Boris on Sunday re lifting of some restrictions, and then what that might mean for our churches). Hope that we will be able to catch up with family and friends in real time, and Christian Hope...
I wrote in italics the sure and certain hope as they are also words used at a committal at a funeral: in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life. In all of this, our faith gives us that hope, and belief in eternal life. This morning in Morning Prayer, the passage from Luke was about Jesus' baptism; as many of you know the symbolism associated with Baptism (Christenings) is so powerful: the oil, the scallop shell, the water, the light...that sense of journey.
We are all on a journey of faith, you and me, and just at different places on that journey, some might be new to faith, some been committed Christians all their life, whilst others maybe doubting, or others confused, uncertain and wondering what it is all about - as were the disciples - some in the story of Emmaus had turned away from Jerusalem, and walking away from it all, and met Jesus (unbeknown to them) on that road. He met them where they were at, and listened as he meets us wherever we are at, on are journey; but Christ is with us, wherever we may be, and we must remember that, in the good times, and in the challenging times....
As promised yesterday I was sent through the programme for VE Day celebrations on Friday, and thank you so much for those who have sent stories through...and do add to this, as might create a page on the website.
The Royal British Legion has sent out a plan for celebrating VE Day.
11 am 2 minutes' silence in front gardens or on the pavement
3 pm Churchill's speech on the BBC, followed by a picnic in front gardens
4 pm Tea in front gardens
6 pm Raise a glass with neighbours
9 pm Singalong with the Royal British Legion after the Queen's Speech
Go to the British Legion Website, VE Day livestream from 11.15 am
Candle Corner: Candle lit here for those who have asked for prayers.
Michael remains stable, though progress is slow, so please do keep both Michael and Daphne in your prayers.
Many thanks and please do keep praying, keep connected and keep well, as we are here.
God Bless, and have a good day!
TUESDAY 5 MAY 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this once again finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory, and good to see the sun shining, though unfortunately with it being so windy I did Morning Prayer inside rather than outside, as the wind makes such a noise on the microphone! Did miss the birds though!
I have been thinking re VE Day celebrations on Friday, and I know the BBC have a number of ideas that we have been encouraged to take part in, including a tea party in our front gardens (weather permitting); I will find out more and let you know. John Morrison and I are looking to put together a short service of reflection - still work in progress. However, if any of our older folk have any particular memories from VE Day, please could you send them through, as might be able to incorporate some of the stories into the service, or even pictures. All can be anonymous if you would prefer. I know when my daughter was at Primary school, and my grandmother was still alive, her topic in history was WWII, and we learnt so much from what my grandmother said from first hand experience. It really would be lovely if anyone could send something through - email/audio...thank you in anticipation. I would imagine that those of you who might remember it would have been children yourself, so to recall it from that perspective I know would be great.
Much in the news about things beginning to unlock, as I have said before, as and when I hear anything re our churches I will of course let you know - though we don't know any more than you at the moment. Though are beginning to have conversations re thoughts about taking some of the streaming of services forward as this has been a bonus of these times in enabling us to keep connected, mindful of those of course who are off-line. If you are in touch with folk off-line please do tell them about the Hope Line from the Archbishop: 0800 804 8044, those I have spoken to have much appreciated it.
Re Michael: I keep in touch with Daphne, and unfortunately Michael's progress is slow, and he remains on the ward, please keep both Michael and Daphne in your prayers.
We read again Psalm 139 in Morning Prayer, please do listen below, or look it up, it really is so powerful.
Any requests for my prayer corner here, please do forward, as candle lit for those who have asked for prayer, and prayers continue for those who have requested.
God Bless, and keep praying, keep connected, and keep safe.
MONDAY 4 MAY 2020
Good Morning everyone, I hope you are all well this morning, as we are here at The Rectory, catching up with friends via Zoom on Friday evening, and then a fabulous walk on Saturday, this time venturing out the back of where we live, through the university, which is so quiet, and onto the Crab & Winkle Way, to Tyler Hill, and then looping back into Canterbury behind Hales's Place, and back through university.
It is so strange walking through a desolate University, almost as though everyone left in a hurry, with banners and posters up advertising various events for March and April and on, into the summer. You wonder how all this will effect the lives of all those young people, and then for all of us. Last week I had to pop into St Dunstan's church to pick something up, and it felt so strange, such that sense of leaving it as it was with the posters up, and the March Parish Magazine, and still the purple Lenten furnishing...this is all so strange, but church is still very much open, our treasured buildings are temporarily shut.
Then this morning on the news there is talk as to how the lockdown, may be lifted, as and when it comes - I certainly don't envy those having to make these decisions; not an easy job!
I was talking to Caroline re website, and having a Candle Corner, with some scripture - as I am spending more time in my study, I am happy to have a Candle Corner here, and will keep candle burning for the day and if you have anyone you would like a prayer for I will put them on the list for that day, and pray for them - just send an email/text/call.
Prayer in these times is so very important; you may have read in the paper that more folk are turning to faith at this time, than has been the case for some time, and is reflected as I have said before in the folk joining us for our online services.
Attached is something fun to do, is to make a (thank you Caroline) and we might give it a go! Talking of food also attached is this week's menu for Refectory Catering Services.
As I mentioned at the service yesterday morning, am looking into incorporating words, hymns etc for Sunday - discovered some software which will help with this!
Meanwhile, thank you all for your support and prayers, and feedback - as I say I am this side of the camera, so please do feedback....
Please do come forward re reading and intercessions- if you can use Zoom, it is easier than that, and Ana is very happy to help!
Have a good day, keep praying, keep connected and keep safe.
FRIDAY 1 MAY 2020
Good morning, and hope this continues to find you well, as we are here at The Rectory.
Lovely to be out in the garden again for Morning Prayer. That has been one of the real bonuses of this time, to share Morning Prayer with so many of you, and to be outside!
Thank you to those who have given feedback re our services, and please do continue. As I said yesterday, I am not on the receiving end of the camera, unless I look at the recordings!
The Church of England produced a really helpful document yesterday.
You would have picked up that we have to be so careful with issues relating to copyright etc (understandably). In conjunction with the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music), St Martins-in-the fields choir and Church of England, we can use their material in our live services, along with what David and Charlotte are doing. The RSCM produce an excellent guide for music called Sunday-by-Sunday. We use it across the Benefice, and it gives us guidance as to which hymns tie in with that Sunday's gospel reading, and the hymns that are being produced will do just that. Five hymns a Sunday are coming out, so any favourites let me know. Now is the time! We need to get a streaming licence from CCLI, which I will do today, but it also means we can use the words on the screen etc so we can sing along! Just need to work out the techy side of that - this is all sounding promising....by the end of this we will have a full sung Eucharist live-streamed!! Watch this space...
Talking of liturgy, the Psalm today for Morning Prayer was one of my favourites - Psalm 139. I do urge you to read it, and so helpful in what we are going through at the moment. I don't know about you but I have found the Psalms so helpful; yesterday I took a funeral - not permitted to sing hymns (fear of spreading water droplets), so we sat and listened to The Lord's my Shepherd. These words were written thousands of years ago. The Book of Psalms is estimated to have been written between 1440 BC and 586 BC. But they really do speak into so many situations - Psalms of Lament to Psalms of Praise. If you haven't had the opportunity to look at some of these, I do encourage you to. There are 150 of them, and they really do embrace all our emotions...I wonder what your favourites are - do let me know.
Update on Michael: Again touched base with Daphne yesterday, and he remains stable on the ward. Please do continue to keep them in your prayers.
Attached is Daily Prayer sheet for May (Thank you to Rev Mark Blamey for putting together, and Caroline for formatting)...this is team work!!
God Bless you all. Will send out Orders of Service for Sunday later today.
Meanwhile, keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
Rev Jo Richards
THURSDAY 30 April 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this finds you well, as we are here at the Rectory.
I have been giving some thought as to how we can improve our streamed services, and what you would like.
We have been operating like this for six weeks now; initially it was a case of 'hitting the road running' a steep learning curve for us all, certainly for me! But my sense is we are in this for the long haul, and have engaged through Facebook Live, and YouTube, with a far wider community than who would otherwise 'come to church'. The publication I sent out a couple of days ago taps into this.
However in our context, please can you give some feedback for what we are currently providing:
Services live-streamed on Facebook Live then uploaded to YouTube:
- Morning Prayer at 9.00 am Mon - Fri
- Compline 7.00 Mon - Fri
- Sunday Eucharist: 10.00 Sunday
Reflections: on YouTube - Stations of the Cross
Bible Study: email run by Rev Brian
Social: Zoom Coffee morning 11.00am on Sundays.
I have been looking at what other churches are doing etc, as I am sure you may have, and there is much variety.
- Live-streamed vs pre-recorded services - Facebook Live has provision for those who are browsing to find us, whereas YouTube is more targeted. To live-stream on YouTube we need to use webcam and computer, rather than phone (current practice), but could do this.
- Combination of both ie have Sunday Service live-streamed but insert pre-recorded videos, either audio or video.
- Service on Zoom - send out invitation beforehand.
- Service on Zoom, but simultaneously live-stream on Facebook Live.
I have my own thoughts but would be really interested to hear your views, as you are the ones at the other end of the camera! Any experience you may have welcomed, we are very much in this together. I have been talking to colleagues etc but want to know what works for us, and our wider community.
In the meantime, please keep sending your lovely pictures to Samuel.
Michael: I spoke to Daphne yesterday, where he remains on the ward, and slowly gaining strength; please continue with your prayers for both Daphne and Michael.
In the meantime keep safe, keep well and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 29 April 2020
Good morning everyone,
I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory, and so good to be outside again for Morning Prayer this morning. It is like many things, it is not until it is taken away you realise how much you value it (in this context that is being outdoors, and the birdsong that accompanies us for prayer). But that can be so true for so many things, especially at this time - so much of what we just took for granted has been snatched away from us - be it gathering together for worship in our church buildings, the ability to potter down to the shops and no doubt meet folk on the way, or to see friends and loved ones - be it parents, sons/daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and the list goes on....but then we must be so thankful for what we do have - particularly if you have a garden, and able to enjoy it, or a neighbour you talk to over a fence, and to have friends who phone and keep in touch. Yes this is difficult times, and for some I appreciate it is really challenging, but it is also an opportunity to strengthen relationships, with one another and with God, to really enjoy the birdsong and all that God's beautiful creation has to offer.
And credit to our amazing key workers - and this is a delivery driver.
Something to share with you, my work mobile phone, as many of you might be aware, has been on its last legs for some time, in that when I try to call you, all you hear is a gargled muffled sound, which is very off putting for the person on the other end...anyway it was long overdue for an upgrade, as I got it when I came to post. I have two phones, one for work which I do switch off, day off, on holiday etc and a personal one which I rarely switch off. Although we have a landline, I don't even know the number! Everything is on the mobile. Anyway last night just before 10.00pm I ordered a new phone for work (which hopefully will work better), and by 9.30am this morning, within 12 hours it was delivered!! I hadn't paid for speedy delivery or anything, it was there waiting for me after Morning Prayer - I am impressed! Thank you God and delivery person.
I was reflecting this morning whilst we were reciting Psalm 105, which is the narrative of the Israelite people, how what we are living through at the moment is such a momentous time in history, and will be part of our narrative in times to come, in so many ways, including of course the temporary closing of our churches, along with the growth of online and digital platforms - it will be so interesting, for all of us, especially for younger generations on how this will impact upon them in years to come.
Attached Week 6 Holiday Club - some really good worksheets for our younger folk, from Rev Hannah.
Update on Michael: I spoke to Daphne, Michael is out of ITU and on the ward, which is really encouraging, and now pray please for him to gain strength. And Daphne is so appreciative of your prayers and support. Thank you.
Keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 28 April 2020
Good morning everyone,
Well that was a first - Morning Prayer streamed from my study, as it is a bit damp out there, and I really missed the birdsong. Isn't it interesting how we have become accustomed so quickly (at least I do) to their joyful accompaniment. It also felt quite claustrophobic being inside, rather than under the clear blue sky that we have been blessed with throughout the lockdown. Having said that, I know the rain is a blessing, not just for our gardens but for our farmers as well. I have a feeling tomorrow may be the same but we will wait and see.
We continue to stay well here at the Rectory, and I must admit another of the blessings that this time has brought has been having lunch and supper together - last night didn't play Catan, rather I caught up on Zoom with my friends whom I initially trained with as a physio, and just listening to their stories, all NHS workers, and working in our hospitals; ironically the only friend who is no longer a physio, is a Baptist Minister! So we were comparing notes on how Zoom meetings and live streaming have become embedded in our vocabulary. If you had asked me a couple of months ago, I like many of you perhaps wouldn't know what we were talking about. It is so strange how we do adapt to this 'new norm'. Yesterday for my exercise I went to all three churches, and walked around each, and bumped into (not literally) a few folk on my way, which was nice to see familiar faces. The churches are still very much there, and the grass outside St Mildred's is a mass of daisies.
Every now and then I experience moments when the reality of all this really hits, and one came yesterday, totally unexpectedly. Although I use for work an electronic diary (Google) which I thoroughly recommend, for home we still very much use a paper diary, and 'normally' every Sunday evening we go through the week ahead - who's in, who's out, etc. I hadn't opened it for a while - no need to as we are in - last night I did, and there in my daughter's writing were the words 'textile' exam on Thursday, and then as I went further all her exams were written down, and then dinner we were having with friends Saturday night, and then my pilgrimage to the Holy Land next month, Greenbelt, Oberammergau....all of it gone. It was one of those moments, I am sure we are all having, when the reality of this pandemic comes home. But then this virus is really making us all stop, and what is it that really matters, our loved ones and our faith, food on our table, and a roof over our heads, and we are all in it together, and we have our faith: Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and whether we are online or off-line, He doesn't change. Christ is in the midst of it all.
John Morrisson forwarded to me this really interesting paper which has already been produced about church online and the impact it is having, touching so many more folk than our regular Sunday Worship' does. I am in the process of reading, but please do so, as it looks very interesting.
On a practical note, there is a free phone line for all our 'off-line' folk to use to access prayers and reflections etc. Please if you speaking to them give them the details. Our off-line folk do get a copy of these briefings along with other resources, but am acutely conscious that they can't access online services, though there is Sunday Worship on Radio 4, and Songs of Praise.
Church of England launches free 'dial-in' service for elderly who can't get online. The Church of England has launched a free dial-in worship service to bring prayer to people's homes while churches are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Daily Hope, which is available from Sunday, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. The national line is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the service has been primarily set up to support Britons, especially the elderly, who have been unable to take advantage of the boom in online church services.
The Archbishop added: "With many in our country on lockdown, it's important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are." Callers to Daily Hope will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop, before being given several options to chose from such as hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on Covid-19.
Anyway, thank you all for your prayers and support, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
MONDAY 27 April 2020
Good morning everyone,
I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory. With Saturday being my day off, we went for another lovely walk, though I must admit there were more folk out there than had previously been. We ventured up to No-man's Land Orchard just above Harbledown. I first discovered this orchard several years ago when the children were small - for those of you not familiar with it, have a look at this. We used to pick up fallen apples and they played on the sculpture of a serpent. How theological is that to find in the midst of a beautiful apple orchard? Something to reflect upon. I will send some photos through to Samuel for the website; it was absolutely stunning!
I do encourage you to continue to send pictures, to Samuel, or to me, and I can forward them. But what is happening at the moment is history in the making, and so important that as a church community we have a record of this, for folk to read in years to come. Recently we have been making photo books of the year, where you can get printed books with your photos. The one for this year will be quite something for our archives. I feel it is so important we have a tangible record of what we have been up to; the lives of our church and community during Lockdown 2020. Perhaps there are some budding poets/artists out there to create something as a keepsake. We are certainly taking photos on a regular basis and scrap book things; something I started when at school and still maintain. So important to have tangible things when so much of what we do is digital, and how will the digital be accessed in years to come? That's why I am sure photo books are popular. You can just pick them up and look.
Journaling is something that many folk do, to write their thoughts down. For some it is a means of deepening our relationship with God; be it a prayer diary, a conversation with God; something to reflect back upon and to see where God was working, although it may not be obvious at the time. There will be much in the literature and theological books etc reflecting on this current situation, and how church and society have responded. It certainly is history in the making, and something each and everyone of us is in the midst of.
Anyway, on a more practical level, please find attached Refectory Catering Services menu for the week, along with my sermon from yesterday - Samuel, please can you upload my sermon?
And after our services this week, please do let me know if you would like to read/intercessions - those who have done so already, it has been great, and it really isn't that difficult, do speak to Ana (usual office number 786109) or to someone who has done it already.
On a positive note, I spoke to Daphne yesterday, and Michael is off the ventilator, which is really good news, and they were able to wave to one another on screen, which is wonderful. So thank you for your prayers, and please keep them going, as he remains weak, but heading in the right direction, thank you God.
I can't easily upload Morning Prayer to YouTube this morning, but you can see it here.
God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep connected, and keep praying.
FRIDAY 24 April 2020
Good morning everyone,
The sun continues to shine and we are all well here at the Rectory at the end of another week. This week seems to have gone by very quickly. Perhaps that is what happens as you get older! We have been blessed with good weather through during this lockdown time.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to catch up both with my mentor/pastoral supervisor in the morning and Spiritual Director in the afternoon, as part of our support network the diocese ensures all clergy have a mentor, regardless of whether you are a relative newbie like me, or someone who has been in ordained ministry for a long time. This is an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas and discuss the more practical aspects of ministry etc. Yesterday we discussed the practice of celebrating the Eucharist online.
This is something I have been doing since the onset of lockdown, and I would welcome your thoughts on this, and I fully appreciate that there is a very mixed view about this, as there is amongst clergy; I can forward clip if you are interested. When I do so, it is doing so as The Body of Christ, and receiving on behalf of us all, each and every one of us. The Body of Christ.
To help my thinking I was directed to a YouTube clip which I found really helpful and for me affirming, but also in recognition that we hold different views and that is OK.
In the afternoon I spent time with my Spiritual Director (on Zoom) - this is someone with whom I can thrash out those more spiritual questions that come to the fore. Though, to be honest, there is some overlap, but really good to ponder those bigger questions and good to have that support. The question which I know is asked, 'Where is God in all this?'
I know that Brian is leading Bible Study which is on email and proving very popular, but to add to that, if anyone would like to be involved in a Zoom discussion group to share thoughts and ideas in these times, do let me know. Or even if you are struggling with what this means to us on an individual basis, please do feel free to chat one-to-one to either myself or others on the ministry team. We are all in this together, and if nothing else, this is an opportunity to reflect on some of these questions that might be coming to the fore. On the other hand, it is also a time to breathe, and in the words of the Psalmist: 'Be still and know that I am God', and to enjoy God's beautiful and bountiful creation.
Today's reading from Colossians 3:12 again spoke very powerfully, 'Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience....above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony'.
Attached also is a flyer to keep vigilant re scams.
So no Morning Prayer from me tomorrow, as it's my rest day. I may see you for Sunday Eucharist at 10.00 hrs and will send Orders of Service etc out later.
Readers and intercessors: If this is something you can do please do let me know. We need readers and intercessors for our Sunday services - it really is straight forward and Ana is more than happy to help. No question is a stupid question - we are all learning together!
Update from Daphne re Michael: I spoke again yesterday to Michael, who remains on a ventilator, is stable, and along with cricket is listening to services streamed from the Cathedral. So please continue to hold Michael and Daphne in your prayers, and Daphne thanks you all for the prayers and support you are giving, which she very much appreciates.
Keep safe, keep connected, and keep praying.
Rev Jo (Prayers for you all)
THURSDAY 23 April 2020
Good morning everyone,
Yet another blue sky day - the sun continues to shine. May I begin with a thank you for all the birthday wishes. It was certainly one to remember. I wonder how many of us will share 'lockdown birthdays' though following the news yesterday. It could be quite a few of us! Just make the party bigger when we can celebrate together. But seriously, I was very touched, so thank you - but I still didn't win at Catan!! Never mind, it's taking part that matters!!
So it was two years ago today that I was licensed as your Rector in that wonderful service in St Dunstan's, for which I have so many fond memories! It really was an incredible evening and still brings a smile to my face with ringing the bell and nearly going up with the rope, and then sprinkling as many of you as possible with holy water!! For me it was a joyous occasion, and to have so many family and friends there as well, along with so many of you.
Thank you for all your on-going support and prayers since then. Between us we have achieved a lot. I know it was initially a case of getting some of the bureaucracy under our belt - my arrival coincided within a month of the deadline for GDPR, so we had to undertake that challenge. (But in fact without it, we wouldn't have had so many of the contact details we have for you all now to enable us to keep in touch). We then had the mandatory safeguarding training from the diocese that needed to be done, along with getting to know one another.
Then last year we undertook our worship review, which I continue to draw upon, along with our Benefice Away Day, when we focused on the identity of our three churches and what they offer in terms of their strengths...but I am sure like you I do wonder what church will look like the other side of all this; something for certain is that in some way we will continue with our on-line presence. Some very interesting articles in the Church Times last week related to this and how the church is connecting with far more folk than previously, which is certainly reflected in our own numbers. But it's spiritual growth that counts. There was one really interesting comment yesterday from Lyons, our local funeral directors. A couple of months ago when I had a number of funerals, we were saying how few funerals are taken by religious ministers - down to about 15%. Yesterday they said the majority of folk are asking for a religious minister - very interesting.
Much to ponder over, and recognising that these are very different times now, but we are the Body of Christ, and we are Christ to each other, and see Christ in the other.
On a sad note, many of you knew Jo Durkin, particularly from St Peter's and St Mildred's. She has recently died (April 15th) and her funeral will take place at Barham on 11th May, with an opportunity for a service of thanksgiving for her life once our churches are open. In the meantime, please do keep her family in your prayers as they mourn her loss. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Words from our reading today, St George's day, from Joshua 1: 'Keep strong and keep courageous'.
Bless you all, and keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
WEDNESDAY 22 April 2020
Good morning everyone, hope all is well with you all, and you are keeping safe. All well here at The Rectory - as I celebrate a lockdown birthday!! Certainly one to remember! And the sun continues to shine. We have certainly been blessed with glorious weather these past few weeks. I think it has only rained the once, and that was last Saturday.
Yesterday I was reflecting about our church buildings being shut, and a couple of you advised that all churches were shut in 1208 under the Interdict of Pope Innocent III. This was through a dispute with King John over the appointment of new ABC. It lasted then 6 years! Well I am pretty certain all three of our churches were there then, and survived that so, God willing, this will be a little pause and before long we will be open.
This is brief this morning as I have a Chapter meeting on Zoom at 10.30, an opportunity for the clergy of Canterbury Deanery to catch up with one another, and compare our Covid-hairstyles! Mine is certainly growing, as you will have noticed. The thing is I don't get to see you, unless you join us for a Zoom coffee morning, though it was lovely to catch up with someone the other day on WhatsApp, so always happy to chat on WhatsApp. To see others makes a difference!
I was really touched this morning by a passage from Colossians 2. 5, 'For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in Spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ'. Some encouraging words from Paul to us all.
God Bless, and will update you later re Michael once I have spoken to Daphne this morning.
Bye for now and please do keep safe, keep praying and keep connected.
TUESDAY 21 April 2020
Good morning everyone, and I do hope this continues to find you all well, as we are here, and another glorious day, though I do feel for our gardeners. I know it rained on Saturday, which was welcome, but I would have thought a bit more was needed. It does help though with the lockdown that when we do exercise, albeit out in the garden, it is lovely.
Yesterday for my exercise I went to all three of our churches, just to the outside, and walked around each. In doing so I was reflecting that this really must be the first time in history that they have been shut like this; something that I would never have thought would happen, but such a sense that although our beautiful church buildings are closed, we, the church, the Body of Christ is very much open, and we are just learning to be Church in a very different way.
We were talking this morning at breakfast about how so many books will be written about this, and I am sure from a theological/mission perspective, of meeting people where they are at, of what it means to 'be church' during this time. Though, like you, I do so miss seeing you all - Zoom coffee morning does help! I was reading this morning in the paper, how we are missing that physical contact - a handshake or a hug, a tap on the shoulder, or that spontaneous laugh together, the twinkle in the eye. Later today I have a funeral and afterwards folk would normally offer a hand for a heartfelt handshake, or a hug, but none of that - instead we will be social distancing and acknowledging one another from afar.
It is remembering though that God is in all of this. Yes, God is present in our empty churches, but also with us in our homes and hospitals, working on the streets. Seeing Christ in the other, and being Christ to the other. Perry sent through a really powerful clip that reflected this (attached below), worth watching.
In the meantime, I need to get ready to robe for Barham, as we say our goodbyes to Geoffrey Jordan, a Canterbury man, who was married at St Mildred's.
Attached also is the latest menu from Refectory Catering Services, a link from Canterbury City Council with a list and details of all those who deliver food etc.
Link for food deliveries - excellent! Find a local delivery service here.
YouTube clip from Perry, as mentioned, worth watching.
Morning Prayer from today.
Ana is putting together a guide to using Zoom, YouTube etc, which will get to you.
God Bless you all, and keep praying, keep safe and keep connected.
MONDAY 20 April 2020
Good morning everyone, and I do hope this continues to find you all well, and keeping strong in these strange times, as we continue with our lockdown, all remains well at The Rectory. School and Uni terms are back, though difficult for my daughter who had had her GCSEs 'pulled', and normally this term is full-on with revision and then exams, so we are awaiting to hear what school will suggest to keep year 11 focused on from now until September, when A-levels begin.
This is also an opportunity for us to read, I must admit I have several theological books on my shelf that I bought with all good intentions of reading but have failed to do so, or at least have started but not finished. Any good books folk have read recently?
So after reading the paper yesterday, and reflecting on this time away from our church buildings - I do wonder when we will be back together again, and what that may look like, and what does our Christian mission and ministry look like at the moment? It is a case of keeping in touch with one another - checking up on friends and neighbours - to follow that hunch to call someone, perhaps you haven't spoken to for a while; remaining ever mindful that we are all in this together. To keep connected, to keep safe and to keep praying - taking that time to spend in prayer, that opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. I looked at the material I sent on Friday - Retreat in Lockdown - it looks promising.
Attached is a helpful document from KCC, along with Rev Hannah's Easter Holiday Club material for young people - please do forward it to any you feel might like it.
Morning Prayer from today - it is a bit windy, but you can hear it!
God Bless, and please keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
FRIDAY 17 April 2020
Good morning everyone, and hope this continues to find you all well - as we are here at The Rectory, and the sun shines again today - we have been so fortunate with the weather during this lockdown, though not easy for those who are isolating indoors with no garden. I must admit I do feel for those who are living in high rise apartments who do not have the availability of outdoor spaces. In a former life I was a community physio working in SE London, and part of my patch was to provide a domiciliary physiotherapy service to folk who lived in such tower blocks. It is to them for whom this must be so challenging, and particularly so when trying to home school, as so many parents have been asked to do, and of course all the concerns surrounding domestic abuse in this challenging time. What we can do in this time of lockdown is pray, as Bishop Rose recently said, prayer is our heart beat, it is our oxygen, and may this be such an opportunity to have that dedicated time of prayer.
Prayer can take place anywhere, at anytime - as many of you join me for Morning Prayer from the garden there is something rather special about praying outdoors - to be closer to nature in a way, and God's beautiful creation.
Reflecting upon yesterday - this end was attending to emails which had come in whilst I was away, planning for a couple of funerals - Frances Quested who lived in St Dunstan's most of her life died recently, along with Geoff Jordan, who was confirmed and married in St Mildred's some time ago. Then catching up with folk on the phone, and all seems to be well, and let's pray things stay that way, then in the evening we joined with others here for our 8.00 clap, and yes that was followed by another game of Catan - and no didn't win - then watched MasterChef on TV - so who I wonder will win? (I don't normally watch much TV, but this I do enjoy).
No Morning Prayer tomorrow from me (Saturday), but Compline at 7.00 this evening, and Eucharist on Sunday at 10.00 live streamed on Facebook Live, then uploaded to YouTube.
From today's psalm, 115: " But we will bless the Lord, from this time forth for evermore, Alleluia"
In the meantime, do keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
THURSDAY 16 April 2020
Good morning everyone, I hope this finds you all well, having been away for a couple of days - well not away, rather on leave - R & R following Holy Week and Easter, and yes we are all well here. Thank you for all your Easter wishes, cards, thoughts and prayers, all very much appreciated.
In fact I was meant to have been walking this week long distance foot paths- Jim & I are currently walking the Weald Way here in Kent (Mon & Tues this week), and then I had planned a trip Weds - Fri walking from Canterbury - Herne Bay - Margate - Ramsgate - Minster - Canterbury - but wasn't to be - and no I didn't do the equivalent to laps in the garden! Rather spent down time at home with the family, time in the garden, and doing some of those jobs one puts off!
And although we are still in lockdown, the sun still shines and Christ has Risen! This has certainly been an Easter to remember - our Churches are empty, but Christ is Risen, and present among us and with us, present in our hospitals and in the supermarkets, in our homes and in us. We are The Body of Christ, and "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19).
So catching up with emails etc today, and will be in touch with those of you who are happy to do a reading, and please do come forward if others want to give it a go.
Attached is this week's menu from Refectory Catering.
In the meantime, keep well, keep connected and keep praying.
EASTER SUNDAY 12 APRIL 2020
Good morning, Alleluia! He is Risen!
Well normally at this time we would be having our Easter Breakfast having had our dawn vigil service but that is not to be this year, and we will light our Paschal Candles when we can celebrate together in our churches.
Meanwhile this morning, we will be streaming a service from the Rectory. I will light a candle and encourage you all to do likewise in your homes, to represent the Risen Lord Jesus risen today. Service at 10.00 hrs on our Facebook page, and then on our YouTube channel. Follow the Order of Service, readings and hymns.
We will also be having a couple of hymns. Thanks to David for playing and Charlotte for singing. Also Charlotte will be singing the Exultant.
Photos: Please do send any pictures that you have of Easter Trees and decorations to our website: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you to the Mothers' Union for their tree, which has been compiled by the MU members of St Dunstan.
I attach a photo sent to me yesterday from Maurice who is involved with L'arche, who placed an Easter garden outside the door of St Mildred's church.
We will also be uploading a powerful reflection from Douglas onto our website, about death and resurrection.
I am taking leave from Mon-Weds this week any queries to our Churchwardens, and thank you all for your messages of support and prayers.
Wishing you all a blessed Easter, and do keep connected, keep safe and keep praying.
SATURDAY 11 APRIL 2020
Good morning Everyone
It really does feel strange today. Holy Saturday, an inbetween day. Some call it an empty day. For many of us, it is also a day of preparation for our Easter celebrations tomorrow, when our churches are being decorated. The smell of the lilies, the music being prepared, the alter linen is all being prepared, the Paschal candle will have been prepared, and I know Conrad was preparing for the Easter Vigil this year. We were having it at St Peter's and out the front of the church on the decking and all ready for 5.00 am. Then we were planning our Easter Breakfast. I was then looking forward to celebrating my first Easter at St Dunstan's (last year I was at St Peter's) and singing together, Thine Be the Glory.
And it's not to be, and it really hit me this morning, not being with you all as we celebrate this festival together. We are all at home; some I know alone, and that must be so tough. I am fortunate the family is here (though son in Manchester) and we have a garden we can enjoy but it's not the same and it is really tough.
The women when they approached the tomb, found it empty, as our churches too are empty. Although we live in this inbetween time, we have hope that one day, hopefully soon, we will be together again, and what a celebration that will be! We can decorate our churches, light the Pascal candles, sing Thine be the Glory together and celebrate together. In the meantime, we hang onto that hope. We are Easter people. Unlike those women, we know what that empty tomb signified.
I pray for you all, and as we all prepare for tomorrow in our own way, may I assure you of my prayers, and tomorrow I will for my daily exercise lay flowers at the door of each of our churches (as others have mentioned this), at least in recognition that that there is hope.
In the meantime, just to alert St Dunstan's folk: we have read the guidelines from the Church of England and we are not allowed to wind our clock until church is open again.
As for tomorrow, I will take a Eucharist here on behalf of us all, as The Body of Christ. We also have some musical contributions. We have to have a streaming licence (an extension of our normal CCLI licence) for the service to be uploaded onto our website. FaceBook Live and YouTube are OK as long as it is not a professional pre-recording. We have Charlotte singing and David Clark playing so hopefully that will all work. (Thank you David & Charlotte).
In the meantime, I wish you all a very joyous Easter when it comes, from us all at the Rectory; certainly an Easter to remember and to reflect upon.
Thank you to Carolyn and Iain who informed that yesterday's poem from Phillipa is by Rev Edward Monro (b 1815) The third part (The story of the Cross) of 'In his own raiment clad.'
Please note I am on leave Mon-Wed next week. Any queries, please do contact our churchwardens. There will be no streamed Morning Prayer, but that will be back at 9.00 hrs on Thursday 16 April.
From today's Psalm 142: 'I cry out to you, O Lord, and say: 'you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living'.'
In the meantime, please keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
PS. We are all well here...
GOOD FRIDAY 10 APRIL 2020
Good morning to you all this Good Friday morning, the day we focus upon the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All is well here this morning, and hope and pray all is well with you all.
This morning do join us for Stations of the Cross led by Rev Brian McHenry at 10.00 hrs: found here. Thank you Brian.
Walk of Witness from Christian Together in Canterbury - details from yesterday's email.
Then at 14.00 hrs this afternoon, we will have Readings and Reflections on the Last Hour of the Cross, led by our Ministry Team and streamed live. Thank you Team!
Any more readers and intercessors out there will be great. Audio is fine. Ana is back in the office on Tuesday and is more than happy to talk you through it - send her an email.
Phillipa found this poem which I am including today, author unknown.
Reflections for Good Friday
On the Cross lifted
Thy face I scan
Bearing that Cross for me
Son of Man.
Thorns from Thy diadem
Rough wood Thy throne
For us Thy cross is borne
No pillow under Thee
To rest Thy head
Only the wooden Cross
Is Thy bed
I read Thy title, Lord
“Jesus of Nazareth”
King of Love
Will send details out later re service for Sunday, and Zoom coffee morning for Sunday
Keep safe, keep connected (Thank you for all your emails - and fab photos. Ann, your Hot Cross Buns look delicious!) and keep praying.
MAUNDY THURSDAY 9 APRIL 2020
Good morning everyone, and another beautiful sunny day, and the bird song is just amazing - for those of you who join me for Morning Prayer - I feel the birds are all there joining in, with the angels and archangels!
All well here, we are certainly getting into a routine, and saying how nice it is to have lunch together and supper together - all eating together in the evenings we are really cherishing, normally something we just do Friday - Sunday, what with meetings for Jim & I, and netball, they are often staggered.
So yesterday we said our final goodbye to Marjorie Lyle, though I do assure you that as soon as we are open again we will have a service of thanksgiving for her life in St Dunstan's. It was tough yesterday as mourners are limited to 10, and with the social distancing, was really difficult.
Today is Maundy Thursday, when we focus this evening on the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples, before the Watch, when he prayed alone in the garden of Gethsemane; before the meal Jesus washed his disciple's feet, and he says the words "I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done to you", and such true words today in this difficult time, with so many helping others, but also sometimes it is difficult to ask for help, but we are all in this together, that I do assure you, and God is with us and amongst us - we are Christ to one another, in showing care and compassion, and thank you for all your words of encouragement, prayers and support, which are much appreciated.
May I assure you that I keep you in my prayers, and during the Watch tonight will be praying for you all by name.
7.30 Eucharist of the Last Supper & The Watch. FaceBook Live (You don't have to join Facebook to watch)
Orders of Service sent last night, attached again. This will then be posted on our YouTube Channel
10.00 Stations of the Cross led by Brian McHenry. Please download booklet attached and visit here on our YouTube Channel. Details also on our website.
11.30 On-line Walk of Witness: Churches together Canterbury with prayers and reflections by ministers across Canterbury, inc. Rev Jo, found at: https://vimeo.com/405066601
2.00 - 3.00 Last Hour of the Cross with readings and reflections led by our Ministry Team, follow FaceBook Live
A Eucharist will be live-streamed at 10.00, but I would want to light the Paschal Candle and re-new Baptismal vows once we are all back together, and have a an Easter Celebration then!
Today's psalm is one of my favourites, Psalm 42: verse 7: "O put your trust in God, for I will give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance, and my God"
God Bless, and keep safe, keep praying, and keep connected.
MAUNDY THURSDAY EVENING
Good evening everyone, hope your day has gone well, and still keeping safe....all well here, just wanted to pass onto you the Order of Service for tomorrow evening's Eucharist of the Last Supper.
The service will begin live at 7.30 pm and last for about 40 minutes, followed by The Watch, which will be for an hour - a chance for prayer and silent reflection. This will be streamed live on our Facebook Page - Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, it is a public site, so you don't have to join Facebook to watch it (if you click it now you get Compline from this evening).
Compline from this evening also found on our YouTube channel.
Order of Service for Maundy Thursday attached, along with the liturgy that I will be using if you would like to follow that.
Bye for now, good night and God Bless.
WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2020
Good morning everyone, another bright spring morning. All well here at the Rectory (though not seen the girls yet - too early for them!).
I have been reflecting on this Holy Week, how very different it is, as the Triduum will be, from Maundy Thursday through to Easter Day; not just for us but for Christians all around the world as we celebrate either on our own, or with those we live with.
In years gone by, there have been the lectures at the Cathedral. The ones I most vividly remember were by Archbishop Rowan, with his reflections on Spirituality (I think that was 2011?). Then last year's were very good, by Archbishop Justin, who reflected on some pictures and his interpretation of them.
As we continue to be in lockdown, I am like you living in hope. Hope that it won't be too long before we will be allowed out; hope that it won't be too long before we gather together again in our churches; hope that life will return to normal but I do wonder what that 'normal' will look like. There is also hope that Sunday will come, Easter Day, but first we must travel through these three most poignant of days to get there.
Resources: With our Redemptorist Readings, other digital material has been released - some reflections on the readings etc. are worth looking at and I have asked Ana to upload to the Resources section of our website (under Readings and Reflections).
Photos: Gallery is looking good (thank you Samuel) and please do send pics through - at the end of this we could make a wonderful picture board!
Readers & Intercessors: We now have readers for our services this week (thank you) but looking forward, it would be great if we could have some volunteers. The clergy/readers are preaching and reading Gospel, but please can we have volunteers to do an audio recording for first reading, second reading, psalm, and intercessions (four folk per service). Ana is more than happy to talk you through what you have to do, but if you have a smart phone, you can download the voice recorder app (most phones have anyway), press record button, record, save, and send to me as a file. I am sending service sheets for tomorrow later today, and will also attach a form with the dates and the readings etc. Thank you in anticipation!
God bless you all, and please today keep the family of Marjorie Lyle in your prayers, as I take her funeral at Barham this afternoon, and hopefully it won't be too long before we can celebrate and give thanks for her life in church.
Keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
TUESDAY 7 APRIL 2020
Good morning everyone, hope this continues to find you all well this morning. It is another beautiful day out there. All well here at the Rectory, with the four of us getting into a routine of a 'new norm'.
So, yesterday I spent time in the office (all well there), printing off resources, bulletin, and getting readings for our folk who are off-line. Then along to the post office at St Stephen's (which incidentally is now open 10.00 - 3.00) to post these....that was my exercise for the day - do miss my walks around the city.
So plans for today, after morning prayer, Zoom meeting, and then more planning for our services for this week, along with catching up with folk by phone, and not forgetting my daily exercise!
However, please do come forward if you feel able to record a reading or intercessions as per my email yesterday. An audio reading is fine, you don't have to do a video. A recording can be done on a phone, nothing fancy is needed!
Reminder of upcoming services this Holy Week:
Morning Prayer: 9.00 hrs
Compline: 19.00 hrs from the Rectory Tues & Weds
Liturgy for Maundy Thursday: 7.30
Stations of the Cross: 10.00 hrs led by Rev Brian McHenry (details to follow)
The Last Hour of the Cross: 14.00 hrs Readings and reflections
Eucharist streamed from the Rectory at 10.00 hrs.
Also do check the Cathedral website, which are providing reflections for Holy Week.
God Bless you all!
MONDAY 6 APRIL 2020
Good morning everyone,
I hope this finds you all well on this Monday of Holy Week...and lovely to have had so many of you follow our service yesterday - it is so very strange, but it is certainly doing church in a very different way, and we are having folk who wouldn't necessary come to our churches tuning in, both on FaceBook Live, and then views on YouTube - as are all our churches - virtual congregations are certainly thriving...something to reflect upon when we come through this, and how do we keep our presence both physically and digitally...thoughts?
So we look towards Holy Week and for some, this 'lock down' could be quite challenging especially as we have no end in sight but we have hope. This week we have to go through Good Friday to get to Easter Day - so we will get there but it may be tough on the way.
Services for the week:
It would be really good to have as many folk as possible involved with readings, and intercessions. You don't have to be a regular reader or intercessor in church, rather be able to record either video or audio and then send to me.
We really can do this together!
We need the following:
First Reading Exodus 12: 1-4, 11-14
Psalm 116, 1, 10-end
Second reading 1 Corinthians 11 23-26
Stations of the Cross: Brian McHenry
Last Hour of the Cross: Rev. Kevin was down for this at St Dunstan's so waiting to hear what he may have in mind.
First reading Jeremiah 31 1-6
Psalm: 118 1-2, 14-24
Second Reading: Acts 10 34-43
Please do give this a thought - we are all (myself included!) on a very steep learning curve, so great if we can put something together between us!
God Bless, and please do keep sending your photos to Samuel.
Keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.
Words from today's Psalm 41, "And so Lord be merciful to me: heal me, for I have sinned against you".
SUNDAY 5 APRIL 2020
Another sunny day here but it is so strange, and am missing you, especially this morning, at least in the knowledge that many of you were there watching, but it really isn't the same...
So here is the link that will take you to the service, and a steep learning curve for us all.
All well here and hope with you, keep connected, keep praying and safe.
SATURDAY 4 APRIL 2020
Just a brief note from me today, as is my day off but just wanted to send through the Order of Service for tomorrow, along with the readings and bulletin. All is well here and we have been enjoying spending some time in the garden (though did venture out to Morrisons this morning!)
The Palm Sunday Eucharist will be streamed live at 10.00 hrs from the Rectory - this can be seen on FaceBook Live if you follow this link, it will take you straight there: You don't have to join Facebook to watch, as it is a public post.
It will then be on our YouTube Channel once I have uploaded it after the service, and I will send a link through once I have uploaded it.
Attached are the following:
Order of Service for tomorrow in Word.doc St Dunstan & St Mildred
Booklet for Holy Week & Easter
Refectory Catering Services menu for w/c 6th April
Readings for tomorrow.
You will see from the Bulletin that there will be Compline Monday - Weds of Holy Week at 19.00 hrs, then service from here Maundy Thursday, Stations of the Cross on Good Friday Morning, Last Hour of the Cross in the afternoon, and then service here on Easter Day at 10.00 hrs.
Will keep you up to speed with everything.
God Bless, keep connected, keep safe and keep praying.
FRIDAY 3 APRIL 2020
Good morning everyone,
Well, at least I got the date right today and hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory. So what did we get up to yesterday - a routine, if you can call it that, is beginning to emerge - writing this and then Morning Prayer, which I will then upload to our new YouTube channel which is now up and running...send this off to you all, and then catching up with emails, planning for Holy Week and Easter - and working out what we can and can't do online, putting together Orders of Service, etc.
Then in the afternoons I am putting aside time to catch up with folk on the phone, touching base and keeping as connected as I can...that is interspersed with our daily exercise, which entailed a trip down to Hedges Butchers, and then back via the expanse of grass between us and the university behind us, where we had a good game of throw and catch (exercise for the day - photo sent to Samuel!)
I will forward to you (easier that way) St Dunstan's Resident's Newsletter which has some helpful information on.
Please keep a close eye on email for plans for Palm Sunday - we are finalising the arrangements for this, streaming it live as we did last week, with a dramatized reading of the Passion Gospel, followed by a Zoom Coffee morning...watch this space for more info.
Here is a link to YouTube for this morning's Morning Prayer.
Meanwhile, from this morning's reading from Hebrews 13.6, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid".
Take care, keep connected, keep praying and keep safe.
THURSDAY 2 April 2020
WEDNESDAY 1 April 2020
Good morning everyone,
I hope you are all well on this rather cold and frosty morning and it is April 1st - so lots to think about.
Who would have thought, on April 1st a year ago I have just looked in my diary, and we were all full-on with our Parish activities - it was a Monday - Lent Course, poetry group, hall and fabric meeting...who would have thought a year on we would be 'locked down'. This has certainly made me think, as am sure it has for all of us.
Being creative: It is an opportunity for us all perhaps to stop and think - an enforced 'pause' but I wonder what life will be like the other side of this? For those who are poets/artists - do be creative. When we come out the other end of this, perhaps we can have a 'picture board' of what we have done or made, written or painted. For those who are knitters/crocheters maybe making some symbols of hope...a cross/heart/bells/flowers....just a thought, and as we had our churches adorned with poppies a couple of years ago we could do the same for when we return from exile....food for thought!
Palm Crosses: Many of you would have returned your palm crosses to church to be burnt on Ash Wednesday, so how about making one - out of paper or twigs from the garden. Again be creative. Then on Sunday in our service which will be streamed from the Rectory we can use them.....
Any thoughts about being creative, do email them through...
Words from today's psalm, Psalm 55: "Hear my prayer, O God, hide not yourself from my petition".
God Bless you all, keep safe, keep praying and keep connected.
PS I won at Catan last night! Sending photo to Samuel!
TUESDAY 31 MARCH 2020
Good morning everyone,
Another beautiful sunny day, and so quiet - sitting here I can hear the birdsong from the garden, and so few vapour trails across the sky - reminds me of the time of the Ash Cloud in 2010 - we got stranded in Malta, could have been worse! Whilst there all flights were suspended, so we had the choice to either sit by the pool for another week, or make our own way back - being adventurous we opted for the latter - the first cargo ship out of Malta to Italy was going in a few days - so we took it - ironically our visit coincided with the Pope, so we did get to attend Mass with him, prior to leaving - took a couple of days, but got back eventually via ship and train, and then a flight....
All well here at the Rectory - the four of us all in our rooms/study, meeting for lunch, tea and supper, but we do go out for our prescribed exercise, and then games in the evening - Catan again - still haven't won, but did win Rummikub the other evening (note St Mildred's folk!!) a bonus of this stay at home - no evening meetings, and board games!! (will take a picture tonight)
So yesterday spent working with Ana (via WhatsApp) to get our YouTube Channel up and running - so will be live streaming from that rather than FaceBook Live - instructions will be forth coming. Being so media-savvy wasn't something that was taught at theological college, so learning on the hoof as they say - but we are all in the same boat!
Then emails, phone calls, and planning dear Marjorie's funeral - all being well will be having a memorial service in church in due course, but please keep family in your prayers.
Palm Sunday: I have booklets which I will email out with the Passion Reading, I now have a Zoom account - what that means is I email you the password, which you then log in, and then as many as possible of you join and we can do the Passion Reading - need 3 key readers, and then crowd as though, good to have folk from across the Benefice. We would need to do a practice before the service on Sunday - but please email me if interested...
Photos: Do keep sending photos through as we are getting quite a gallery - looking good. email@example.com
Off now for Morning Prayer...to be continued! Those who are following Morning Prayer - will be moving to YouTube, but will keep you posted.
Children's activity sheet: Please forward this to any of our children and young people who might be interested - it is compiled by Rev. Hannah - as part of our 'Holiday Club' - All Saints, St Paul's and our three churches - is really excellent material.
Bible Study - not too late to join our bible study/discussion which is soon to begin with Rev. Brian (email above)
Attachments can be found in Resources page:
Children Activity sheets
Menu for Refectory Catering.
Words from today's reading from Hebrews 12:1-2: "Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God"
Have a good day!
Keep praying, keep safe and keep connected.
MONDAY 30 MARCH 2020
Good morning everyone
Hope this finds you all well, as we enter our second week of 'lockdown'. All well here at the Rectory, and what a strange time we are in. It was lovely to have so many of you able to share our service yesterday morning - and what a long Gospel that was! Thank you Brian for your weekend. So now we are in Passiontide,] and in both St Mildred's and St Peter's yesterday we would have marked this by veiling the church - putting coverings over the crosses, acknowledging that this is a step change in our Lenten journey and our walk towards the Cross.
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and we have produced booklets which you would all have had in church but I will send these out on-line. It would be good to work on this so we can have different voices. There is something called Zoom, which will enable us to do this - and you really don't have to be techy to do this so many folk tell me, (including my parents who are doing their bible study via Zoom). So more details tomorrow about that.
Website: I have asked Ana to be responsible for uploading resources onto that so if you come across anything interesting which might be helpful to others, please send it to Ana and I and between us we can get it on there. This is really useful. If you open it, you will see that Jennie who does the Canterbury Fruit Stall is now doing a delivery service. Again, if you are on the phone to folk who are off-line, please do tell them when you are on the phone to them, and give them her number 07557785549.
Photos: please do keep sending them to Samuel.
Holy Week: We will be providing some resources for these.
From today's Psalm: 73: "Yet I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand".
Brian's sermon from yesterday (thank you Brian) is already uploaded onto the website.
Keep safe, keep praying and keep connected....off now for Morning Prayer, 9.00 Facebook Live.
SATURDAY 28 MARCH 2020
Hope this finds you well. This is a brief update this morning as today is my rest day, other than to say all is well at the Rectory - another game of Catan last night and my daughter won again! (Google it if you don't know what I am talking about!) then hopefully today some Rummikub. Got introduced to that game by Tuesday Club at St Mildred's - brilliant game, and then hopefully some time in the garden.
Yesterday spent much of the morning on the phone and emails and then in the afternoon I have printed off updates for our off-line folk, along with our Worship at Home booklets etc. I took them to the post office to post so hopefully they will get there today, and be up to speed with everything.
Attachments: Several attachments:
- Order of Service for our Eucharist tomorrow morning 10.00 at Rectory
- Benefice Daily Prayer for April (thank you Mark for compiling)
- Worship at Home document (have sent previously)
- Flyer from Refectory Catering Services (Jamie is a member of St Mildred's who runs a local catering business and is now doing home deliveries of meals)
Canterbury City Council: Please do register with them as per yesterday's briefing. I have been in touch with them. They are putting together a phone number for those not on-line, so that they too can register (that's 22 of our folk); hopefully available next week.
- Readings for tomorrow.
Photos: Please do send any pics to firstname.lastname@example.org So lovely to see your pictures on our website. Keep sending them in. You can send more than one, as it would be great to have a gallery of this time, and thanks to Samuel for uploading.
Keep safe, keep connected and keep praying. No streamed Morning Prayer today - I encourage you to say it quietly yourselves, as I will, but will be back at 9.00 hrs on Monday. See you tomorrow (Sunday) on-line at 10.00 hrs...
FRIDAY 27 MARCH 2020
Good morning everyone, and another beautiful morning out there.
Update from the Rectory.
Hope all is well with you all....all well here at the Rectory - last night after losing at Catan (board game) that we try and play every night. We then stepped outside and applauded our wonderful NHS - will send a picture to our photo gallery. So yesterday worked again on our Pastoral care plan, which is pretty much in place. Then, had to pick the car up from the garage as it's MOT had expired and filled up with petrol - then ventured into Morrisons, as not much of a queue - allowed in one at a time, and to be honest, it was OK in there, all standing 2 metres apart. No flour at all (we do like making cakes) but did manage loo rolls and eggs!!
Now for some practical things:
Please read this - really important from Canterbury City Council, especially point 1
"Today the following online page and forms have gone live:
1. Asking vulnerable individuals across the district to make themselves known to us https://www.canterbury.gov.
uk/coronavirus-advice- residents2. Asking for fit and healthy volunteers to help get supplies and support to those in need https://www.canterbury. gov.uk/homepage/127/helping_ " in_your_community
Please, please do register, even if you are OK now, in a week or two things may be different. The virus is here in Canterbury. The idea is that if you need help with shopping etc, help pick up prescriptions, someone will be there for you who is registered with the council to offer this service. This is so important.
For those who aren't on-line, I believe we can register for them - so that is where we can all help (an email address isn't needed). Please take a look and we will work with the churchwardens to ensure all of our elderly and vulnerable are covered.
Bible study/discussion group: Rev Brian McHenry is taking the lead with this. This is NOT high-tech (promise). All you need to do is to be able to email. So if interested in joining his weekly group, please email Brian via the Benefice Office and he will get back to you with details.
Photos: Please do send your photos even a picture of your garden, or anything really - to know we are not alone. Samuel will upload onto our website email@example.com
On-line resources: Ana and Caroline are working to get this up and running on our website.
Will send out Bulletin and readings for Sunday in due course - Services for this Sunday 29th March: 10.00 on-line from the Rectory - link on our website - details to follow. Writing this feels so wrong - but it is not the church building - we are the church the Body of Christ, loving and supporting one another.
From today's Psalm 102: "O Lord hear my prayer, and let my crying come before you"
I have sent round Brian and Kevin's emails via email as they are there if I go down, and wardens as it is important you have their details along with Ana's.
God Bless. Keep safe, keep connected and keep praying....off to Morning Prayer in the garden.
THURSDAY 26 MARCH 2020
Good morning everyone,
I hope you are all well this morning.
Another lovely sunny morning out there and yes, all still well here at the Rectory - husband working from home and daughters working on-line - uni and school respectively (son up in Manchester wfh).
So a few things to update you all on:
Church buildings are closed but church is still open (photos will be in gallery - this is real)
It really saddened me yesterday putting notices on our church buildings to say that they are shut. As I put these on the doors (with a tear in my eye), I also realised how we are the Church; we are at this time the body of Christ at home and we must be salt and light in our local communities, and in our on-line community. For those you know who aren't on-line, please do make a call to them. We are setting up for our congregations phone circles so we can keep in touch with one another - do email me if you want further details.
So yesterday, having chatted to many on the phone, we set up on our website a photo gallery. If you have already sent me photos, please can you resend to: firstname.lastname@example.org Samuel Woods is uploading these (thank you Samuel). But a few 'ground rules' please:
- No pictures of children
- No pictures that can identify where you live
- Copyright remains with the photographer, your own photos unless you have permission from the photographer.
- Please can you date the photo and a small caption e.g. completed jigsaw! Over time we can then have quite a gallery of what we have been up to. (If Samuel is unable to, we have three others who can upload them. Samuel also uploads our sermons and we will continue with that).
Bible Study/discussion groups
I have asked the ministerial team to explore this more - so watch this space.
The Church of England is putting together lots of on-line resources at www.churchofengland.org We are also putting together a resources page on our website so you can download Orders of Services etc.
Thank you all for sharing Morning Prayer with me. It is good to know we are doing it together. I will also be live-streaming a service from the Rectory at 10.00 hrs on Sunday 29 March (Passion Sunday/Lent 5) - we will get readings out to you for that in due course.
A message from Martin Ward, Chair of Canterbury Foodbank: 'A huge thank you to everyone who has so generously supported the food bank, at this time when so many families are struggling (to date over £15000 has been raised. Thank you for all those who have donated via our webpage)'.
Vulnerable people: I received this yesterday, and looks very helpful.
CORONAVIRUS AND VULNERABLE PERSONS
If you/anyone in your network knows of people who may be vulnerable in these times of coronavirus but who haven't received anything from the NHS about being on the "official" vulnerable list, there is a form that can be filled in by the person or on their behalf: https://www.gov.uk/
coronavirus-extremely-People are encouraged to register even if they are unsure they have a condition which would make them eligible. vulnerable.
Hedges (Butchers are doing a free home delivery service for local people: 01227 463164).
As we hear of more will let you know. Please do share as much information with folk you know who are not on-line. Many thanks.
God Bless and keep safe, keep praying and keep connected...remember although our church buildings are shut, church is very much open!
Bye for now, and catch up tomorrow (albeit brief as is my 'rest day')...
WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 2020
Hope all well this morning - all OK here at the Rectory.
So yesterday, kept very busy putting together our pastoral care plan (thank goodness for telephones). Please let me know if you know of anyone you may be concerned about or who would appreciate a call.
Then in the evening, went for a brisk walk through the city centre, which was pretty much deserted. I wanted to go via our three churches to check at least from the outside. It was inevitable that they were to be closed - 'building is closed, but church very much open'.
All being well, I hope to celebrate the Eucharist here from my study at the Rectory and 'live steam' on Sunday. Who would have thought three months ago when we were all celebrating Christmas together that this would be on the cards?....But what is encouraging in a strange way is that I feel more connected to so many of you. Lovely to have your emails. Apologies, I can't respond to all, but all are read - huge thank you.
So today, I have put notices on the church door/notice boards to say that the buildings are shut. That saddens me but I guess it was inevitable - but it is the building - Church is us - the Body of Christ.
Watch this space, as looking to upload photos of the website of what folk have done, e.g. garden, an jigsaw etc, (but please no pictures of children) - watch this space. Samuel, Martin and Caroline will be in touch about this.
Bible study: interest has been expressed to set up bible study/discussion groups online. Could do online platforms such as Team/Zoom/ etc...anyone willing to explore this?... especially if this for the long haul. Would be good to get something set up.
At noon we have been asked to recite the Lord's prayer by the Pope and Archbishop - I will 'live stream' then. If you could say it at 12.00 midday.
Here at the Rectory we are lighting a candle in the window at 7.00 as we must remember - Jesus is the Light of the World.
God Bless you all and remember... keep safe, keep praying and keep connected. ee you soon for Morning Prayer. Yesterday we had 867 views (normally it is just one, two or three of us), and it reached 3770 folk around the world...God is moving in the most amazing ways in these most challenging times.
Also set up Twitter account: DMP Canterbury (more details later).
Tuesday 24 MARCH 2020
Good morning everyone,
What a very different world we are in this morning but may I begin with assuring you of my prayers and those on our worshippers' list. I pray your name every evening - last night that was in St Mildred's but alas for the last time.
Bishop Rose wrote last night to say our churches are now all shut - and we are awaiting further guidance from the Church of England. So as it is a glorious day, Morning Prayer will be from the Rectory Garden at 9.00 hrs.
- We are contacting folk on our lists who we know are living alone and or are vulnerable. If you fall into that category and we haven't yet been in touch please do phone today on 07824 155355
- If you are anxious about someone, again please let me or one of the churchwardens know.
- Morning prayer: you can find this at www.churchofengland.org or get the Daily Prayer App and we can do this all together.
- Please do keep phoning around folk. We are getting phone circles set up but in the meantime please keep in touch by phone or WhatsApp - and perhaps WhatsApp Video so we can see one another. Again I am on WhatsApp 07824155355
- Please keep in touch with those who aren't on-line, as they don't get these updates
Doing church differently (on-line) meant that we had 383 views for Morning Prayer yesterday!! (Reached 1573 folk) and for our Sunday Eucharist on Sunday, we have had over 101 views and reached 210 folk. Although we have about 20 following live, the service can be viewed throughout the day and from around the world. Yesterday we had folk in Australia and Singapore!
- Please forward to folk if you feel they are not on the list or would like to receive this - I can add their names.
Words from today's Psalm (54), "Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who upholds my life".
God Bless and keep safe, keep in touch and keep praying.
MONDAY 23 MARCH 2020
Good morning everyone,
Well at least the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day out there. Our magnolia tree here at the Rectory is looking stunning.
It was lovely to have so many of you sharing our Eucharist yesterday morning - we have 81 views to date! And you can still see it here. You don't have to be on Facebook to watch. The hardest bit for me was to close and lock the church door beforehand - how crazy is that?! But to know so may of you were there was great. And same again next week! We will do it from St Dunstan's as neither St Mildred's or St Peter's have internet cover (St Peter's it drops in and out). Though whilst we can, St Peter's will be open for an hour at 12.00 and St Mildred's for an hour at 17.00 hrs, each for private prayer. If we hear otherwise, will keep you posted (some dioceses have been instructed to shut completely, so watch this space).
You might not hear the bell at St Dunstan's this morning as we were ringing yesterday and it suddenly stopped but Len is on the case and it should be up and running again soon. Though Bell ringing at St Peter's and St Mildred's is going well, quite exhausting!
Although doing a Facebook live Morning Prayer, Evening prayer is quiet and for your personal prayer requests, so do send anything through in confidence.
So when not on the computer/phone what else are we up to here? One jigsaw is nearly done, and we try and play a board game in the evening - as a family we love any board game.
I am wondering if we can have a photo gallery on our website and you send your photos there?
Thank you all for your emails, prayers, and support, it is lovely to get them.
Please do let us know if you need shopping doing as several of you have offered to help.
If anyone out there is techy and wants to set up discussion groups/bible study using Zoom, to focus on weekly Gospel readings please do so - this can be done virtually.
Please do keep in touch with folk that you know who aren't on-line, (there are several out there) and will need phone calls - perhaps read them my daily updates/sermon?? Attached is the sermon from yesterday.
Love and prayers to you all,
Keep well, keep connected and keep praying!
SUNDAY 22 MARCH 2020 - MOTHERING SUNDAY
Good morning everyone,
So I am sitting at kitchen table preparing for our service this morning. It is so very strange knowing that you won't be there in person, but there spiritually, and hopefully on-line - prayers please that it will all work! You hopefully have Order of Service sent yesterday to follow at home with the readings. Tune in at 10.00 hrs. Also attached is Guidance on Spiritual Communion and Coronavirus from the Church of England. Perhaps after our service we can have 'virtual coffee' and a chat over the phone to one another, as we would normally do after our services.
Also there is a link to financially support the Foodbank, which is really struggling at the moment through hugely increased demand.
Yesterday I did work in the morning putting together our pastoral care plan - then went to Morrisons - and to be honest it wasn't that busy. Some food there (I was surprised) - and lots of Corona beer. I must admit I did have a chuckle. You do need to have a smile in these difficult times. Will upload some photos that you are sending through, which are lovely.
Well, keep safe, keep praying and keep connected, will update later.
It is Mothering Sunday, so special thoughts for so many of you who are not able to be with mothers/children/grandchildren and for those for whom today is a very difficult day, it is a really tough day.
A prayer for today (from the Cathedral)
God of hope,
in times of disappointment
you lead us to seek fresh purpose and new hope.
Be with all those who are unable to participate
in events they were looking forward to this weekend.
Amidst the sadness, help us to find joy in the simple things of daily living,
and amidst the difficulty of today, remind us of the hope of better things to come
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God Bless you all
Saturday 21 March 2020
Lots to catch up on, and hope you are all well out there - and the sun is shining.
Thank you to those who have sent their pictures through - it will be lovely to have pictures of what we are up to. Yesterday I did Morning Prayer from St Dunstan's where I have 4G and therefore could do Facebook Live. You don't have to be on Facebook to look at this: put into Google 'Facebook Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred, and St Peter, Canterbury' or click this link. I am live streaming from St Dunstan's for Morning Prayer tomorrow and will be having a Eucharist 'behind closed doors' at 10.00 am. Here is the Order of Service so that you can join in. Attached is our Worship from Home booklet (thank you Ana for putting it into booklet form). I have posted through doors of those not online but if you can't see it, please let us know and we can post one to you.
God Bless you all, and catch up soon.
...more later today, as I am going to do Morning Prayer from the Rectory study at 9.00 am today. Saturdays is my 'day-off' though I will keep this updated and make some calls and this afternoon will go for a walk (promise!!).
Friday 20 March 2020
Hope all well this morning, and still all well at the Rectory - will keep you posted if any of us falls ill and I would have to isolate but so far OK and with you too.
So yesterday, I did Morning Prayer at St Dunstan's; lovely to have the church open and all the lights on (thought worth it); shows we are open. Then did Midday Prayer at St Peter's which was lovely. High Street so quiet. Sat there and could here the birds singing in the churchyard (Dan is still keeping an eye on the churchyard which is good news). An afternoon on the phone catching up with several of you and then walked through a very quiet city to St Mildred's and said Evening Prayer there. I had a thought - why don't we create a photo gallery of what we are up to and I can post on my daily bulletin and our Facebook Page? Let's create a virtual gallery, maybe of your garden.
Off soon to St Dunstan's and hope to record Facebook Live Morning Prayer. You don't have to sign up to Facebook to watch. Just Google 'Facebook St Dunstan, St Mildred, St Peter, Canterbury', and it will come up, or click here and if I get the technology right, you may see me doing Morning Prayer. Will do the same again at Midday at St Peter's and then again at St Mildred's for Evening Prayer.
Do keep in touch with each other - more ideas to follow....and do please make suggestions on what we can all do in these very different times.
Remember 19.00 hrs on Sunday, to light a candle in your window (safely) as a sign of prayer...details to follow.
God Bless you all.
Prayer for today taken from the Church of England's website:
Lord Jesus Christ
you taught us to love our neighbour
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful,
to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated of our love
and your love,
for your name's sake.
Thursday 19 March 2020
Well this rather feels like a 'new norm' and here is our daily update....
So yesterday I learnt how to bell ring on my own; I did contact Len first to ensure I knew what I was doing, and unlike when I rang the bell for my licensing, my feet stayed on the floor. Then I said Morning Prayer in St Dunstan's. I went to St Mildred's and caught up with a couple of folk there to advise that our Eucharist was cancelled. Then I spent much of the morning in the office ensuring we had all the congregation contact details (please say if you would rather not receive this). Then the afternoon was spent ringing round many folk - we do need to ensure that our more elderly and vulnerable have food in their cupboards.
Today I am going to trial Morning Prayer at St Dunstan's, and we are keeping church there open. Midday Prayer at St Peter's - have church open for an hour, and then Evening Prayer around 17.00 hrs at St Mildred's, and again chance to have church open.
We are also working to film a Eucharist this Sunday, so watch this space - this is a steep learning curve for us all!
As we hear more I will update you all. Do call if you have any queries; several folk have said that they can help with shopping etc.
Words from today's psalm, Psalm 25: 'To you O Lord, I lift up my soul: O my God in you I trust'.
Please do keep safe, keep praying and keep connected.