Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)

5th

May

2021

2nd May

2021

March

10th

2021

January2021

A letter from Jonathan

Our recent service for Sunday 2nd May was available to watch from 11.00 on that day. You can watch the service now on our YouTube channel or by clicking in the player below.

Dear Church Family

Firstly, on behalf of the Service Discernment Group, a big thank you to the 56 individuals who contributed their responses to the survey last week. This is a really good response rate and very helpful as we think and pray about the future together. 

As mentioned two weeks ago, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the book Corporate Worship by Matt Merker. While I highly recommend it, I thought I’d share one of the things I found particularly insightful.

Exodus 32 recounts the occasion when Moses had been up on Mount Sinai where God gave him the Ten Commandments. Moses had been gone for some time. God’s people got a bit fed up of waiting for him to return so they ask Moses’ brother, Aaron, to make for them an idol. Aaron oversees the production of a calf made of gold. Verse 5 tells us, 'When Aaron saw [the calf], he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.”’ Verses 7 to 10 leave us in absolutely no doubt that the Lord God is outraged by all this. But wait! When Aaron sees the calf he declares a " . . . festival to the Lord.” How can the Lord condemn a festival to himself? Simply because when it comes to worship, not only must we worship God alone - the first commandment - but we must worship Him in ways He approves, not how we might feel like worshipping Him. 

The rather beautiful paintings of Moses and Aaron which stand either side of the Ten Commandments above the Chancel Arch in St Peter and St Paul’s, are a very helpful reminder to us that as we gather week by week, we must worship God on His terms. How does this inform your ideas about worship? It’s a question the Service Discernment Group will be thinking and praying about as we continue to think about our corporate worship. Please join us in prayer that we discern faithfully the way forward that is obedient, honouring and pleasing to the Lord our God.


Love and Blessings
Jonathan

Services online

Sunday services at St Peter and St Paul’s

Following much prayerful consideration, the Rector, churchwardens and PCC have decided to recommence attended services from Sunday 14th March 2021. Our pre-recorded online services will continue as before - see here for full details.

Strict covid regulations will be in place for anyone visiting the church building at this time. The protocols below follow current government advice and regulations regarding attended church services. Please read through if you wish to attend. We look forward to seeing you!

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 a queue 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 when it is held.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.

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

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.

we would kindly ask you to please stay at home and join us online instead.