Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)

23rd

September

2020

27th

September

2020


May

2020

September

23rd

2020

A letter from Jonathan

Dear Church Family

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133 v1


Psalm 133 is one of the Psalms of Ascent. This collection of Psalms were sung with increasing fervour as God’s people journeyed up to the Temple in Jerusalem for the great annual feasts. Part of their joy was in the coming together as God’s people who had been apart for several months in their respective villages and homes. God was the basis of their unity: they were His and He their God who loved, cared, protected, led and sustained them. As God’s people today, we too should experience genuine joy as we come together. We may be saved individually but we are saved into the precious family of the local Church. As those saved through Jesus we are empowered by the Spirit that together we may learn, live and love in His name. And all the more so after being apart for 25 weeks! 


And there was joy last Sunday as 27 members of the Church family gathered on-line (representing some 30 or 40 people) while another 51 gathered in the church building to watch the streamed service together. Despite the obvious limitations (please remember to observe hygiene and distancing), it was a wonderfully ‘good and pleasant’ moment in the life of our Church family. Providing restrictions allow, we will continue in this way, developing the service in the church as much as we are able. 


Present in the church, and welcomed with a rousing applause, were Rachel and Chris Lord who moved to Shepton Mallet last Saturday. Rachel begins as our Children’s, Youth and Families worker on October 11th. It was lovely that, as they joined us, they were included in the intercessions. We continue to thank the Lord for them and support them as they settle in. Please remember them in your prayers. 


I continue to pray that through the this time of transition - be forwards or backwards over the next few weeks - our desire and commitment to live together in unity and joy only grows. 


With love in Christ Jesus

Jonathan 


Live-streamed Services

Our next Sunday Morning Worship Service will be live-streamed on Sunday 27th September at 11.00. You can watch on our YouTube channel or by clicking in the player 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.

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

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