Church Information - 27th June

27th June 2020

Benefice of Farleigh, Candover and Wield

Dear friends,

Church buildings have been re-opening this week for private prayer, and next Sunday, 5th July, we re-start public worship (hallelujah I hope I hear from many of you!). There will be restrictions in place- please wash your hands before coming, take your own hand sanitizer with you ( I guess we all have them) – although most of our churches will also have sanitizer at the door. Please sit in alternate pews – some of our churches will have “ribboned off” pews – and sit as own households in one pew.

We have been advised not to sing inside in case anyone unknowingly carrying the virus spreads it on their breath. However, singing outside carries a far lower risk (Parish of Farleigh this month is having services in the churchyards so we can sing and take advantage of the summer weather.)

It has been suggested that churches should fill up from the front and leave from the back – so first in, last out, to avoid too much close contact – your churchwardens will direct – and no refreshments yet.

Rebuilding confidence in meeting together, free from fear, whilst being cautious because this pandemic is not yet over, carries some risk, but at the same time we take risks every day without thinking: we may find it takes a while, but we know in all things God is with us, He knows, and His presence will give us peace. One lesson that everyone has faced is the frailty and fragility of life itself; for Christians, we have a living experience of the future if we know Jesus Christ as Lord and the Holy Spirit is filling us. Eternal life begins at conversion, not at death, so with our eyes fixed not on what is seen, which is transient, but what is unseen, which is eternal, we have a perspective that enables us to be filled with hope not fear, confidence not terror, and a certainty of eternal life that is infectious for others who fear their future destiny.

We suggest if you are out for a walk this week, visit your church building, whether or not it is open; walk round and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ as we prepare ourselves to worship.

Below we list the arrangements for each of the nine churches, and below that the service rota for July and August, shortly to be published in “Oxdrove” and “Hill and Dale”; please pray for God to bless us as we restart, and also that as quite a few folk around us who are not regular worshippers have been stirred and challenged by the situation, and have had conversations and seen some of the online services, may well want to come. Have you ever befriended someone in the village and invited them to worship, or to join an exploring faith course? Small group meetings will restart together after the summer, and this is an ideal opportunity for regulars to seriously engage in thinking, learning and growing in experience and understanding of following Jesus Christ.

Online worship will continue for the moment: David and Stephen think it may be right to continue till end of August, when we think full service patterns will be restored.

We would like you each to think about what God has taught you during this time, and we really would like some personal stories of growth, challenge and so on. Despite asking in talks and in these letters, we’ve had only one or two responses. Are we afraid to speak? Are we afraid to reflect on what we have learned? Sharing our faith stories is one of the most exhilarating and growing experiences of Christian faith; not to share is not to grow – so, please tell us – and maybe we can incorporate these stories into our worship.

Sunday online services are bring uploaded as you read this, and will be available via the website.

As always we are available on phone, email, or face to face over a garden gate or wall, for all matters.

Prayer times Wednesdays 9.00 to 930 a.m. and fellowship group on Wednesday evenings 7.45 to 9.15 p.m. on Zoom – contact peter.c.w.raine@btinternet.com.                         

May God bless each of you this week, Every blessing,

With our prayers and greetings,  

David and Stephen