Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)

25th

November

2020

29th November

2020


May

2020

November

2nd

2020

Returning to Sunday services at St Peter and St Paul’s

Please note that during the month of November 2020 we will not be permitted to hold Sunday services in church. The notes below may apply again when the restrictions are lifted. More details will be posted here in due course, if and when the situation changes.

This Sunday we will gather from 10:30 to watch the live-streamed service projected on the big screens. Afterwards there will be a short said service of Holy Communion ‘in one kind only’ that is, only wafers will be distributed. Our top priority is safety so things will be rather different from what we are used to. While we have put in place recommended hygiene and distancing practices, it is very important that you make an informed decision about when to return to services, taking into account any health issues and risk factors which apply to you or your family. For any who can’t attend, we’ll continue to stream services online so there is no pressure to return before you feel ready to do so. 


Arriving

  • Doors will open at 10:30 so to avoid long queues please don’t arrive before then! It might take a little while for us to get everyone in safely, so thank you for your patience.
  • In line with government guidelines, we will be displaying the official NHS QR code poster in church and in Peter Street Rooms. If you have downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app, please scan the QR code as you enter the buildings.
  • Parking, as always, is very limited. Please park in the public carparks unless there are mobility issues that would make this very difficult.
  • You’ll need to stay with your household as you come in and for the duration of the service and to stay two metres away from other groups
  • You’ll need to have your own face covering, ready to wear whilst you’re with us - and take home with you after the service
  • We’ll ask everyone to use the hand sanitisers provided as they enter the buildings, and before they receive the bread at Communion.
  • A one-way system will be in place in the church so please follow the instructions of the welcome team as they show you where your group should sit.
  • There will be youth and children’s meetings for ages 5 and up. Parents need to take their children to Peter Street Rooms at approx. 10.45am and collect from there after communion.

During the service

  • Please do not shake hands, high 5 or hug anyone - the Shepton wave is the new way of greeting each other!
  • We will not be able to sing out loud, but will worship together whilst listening to the live or pre-recorded music.
  • Please bring your own bible and notebook etc
  • Please bring a drink if you need one as we will not be providing refreshments.
  • The Peter Street Rooms ground floor accessible toilet will be open, but best just use in an emergency to be on the safe side.
  • Children will have their own groups in Peter Street Rooms. Any children attending church will need to remain seated with their household throughout the service. We appreciate this is difficult and apologise for the challenge!
  • The collection will be not be taken during the service - there will be a collection basket at the door if people wish to make an offering as they leave.
  • There won’t be a paper service/notice sheet - please ensure that you can see one of the screens.
  • After the pre-recorded streamed service, we will have a simple said service of Holy Communion where, if you wish, you may go forward to receive the bread, or a blessing from Tony or Jonathan, who will be standing at the front of each side aisle. Please sanitise your hands before just before receiving the bread. There will be ushers to guide you through this. 

Departing

  • Please do not shake hands or hug anyone as you leave! 
  • Please leave through the North Door, respecting the 2 metre distancing as you do so.
  • Feel free to feedback any comments. We’d love to make the experience of being together as good as possible while being as safe as possible. 


If you or any of your household: 

  • feel unwell
  • show or have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 (or have been in close contact with someone who has) within the last 14 days
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (or been in close contact with someone who has) within the last 14 days
  • have been asked to self-isolate under the NHS Test and Trace scheme or have returned from a country outside of the UK government exemption list in the last 14 days, we would kindly ask you to please stay at home and join us online instead

A letter from Jonathan

Dear Church Family


On the 26th November, America celebrated Thanksgiving. The origins of this annual holiday go back to 1619 when 38 English pilgrims and puritan settlers landed in Virginia after a perilous Atlantic crossing. Upon safe landing, they held a religious celebration as required in the charter of the London Company who sponsored the voyage. This charter required “. . . that the day of our ship’s arrival at the place assigned . . . in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Two years later, after a really good harvest, the celebration included Native Americans, who had given food to the settlers to help them survive the previous winter. Today, the tradition involves families getting together for a meal but also to share what they are really thankful for. 

This is no bad thing. As we’ve noted previously, being thankful is associated with better sleep, various health benefits and has been identified as central to being emotionally resilient. As Christians, this should come as no surprise. Time and again, the Bible encourages thankfulness to be part of our life attitude because of God the Father’s love for us in sending His one and only Son into the world to be our Saviour. This is why the Apostle Paul can say in 1 Thessalonians 5 ‘. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ As Christians, we can genuinely be thankful even when things are difficult, even in our loneliness, even when plans for Christmas go wrong. 

Spiritually, being thankful to ‘Almighty God’ as those settlers were 400 years ago, fosters the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our midst for, as Paul goes on to warn in the very next verse, 'Do not quench the Spirit.’ the implication being, being unthankful to God is the way to spiritual poverty. 

As I take stock at the end of the Church year and as I look forward to Advent, while I am so deeply thankful to Almighty God for Jesus, I also thank Him for all of you, my Church family. Whatever is going on in your life, however you are feeling at this time, do make time to think about what you are thankful to Almighty God for. It will bless you as you express it to Him and bless others as you share your thanks with them. 

Love and Blessings

Jonathan


Services online

Our morning worship service for Sunday 29th November was live streamed at 11.00. You can watch it now on our YouTube channel or by clicking in the viewer below.

Benefice Updates

Supporting our fellowship

We are keeping a list of those who are self-isolating, along with any particular pastoral or practical needs so that we can arrange appropriate help. Morag Brown is co-ordinating this. Please let her know of any needs or changes to need as they arise.

Keeping us praying

Praying together as a family is vital. We will be sending out a weekly list of prayer needs for the whole church family and our community. Do try to set aside a time each day to pray - many of us are pausing at 8 in the mornings and evenings to do this, and knowing that others are too at the times is encouraging.