Church Information - 14th June

14th June 2020

Benefice of Farleigh, Candover and Wield

Dear friends,

We now have permission to re-open our church buildings from Monday for private prayer, with the restrictions of not more than two at a time, and please to wash hands beforehand, use hand sanitizer as you enter( we may have to wait a day or two to make sure we have that in place) and as you go. Not all of our churches will be ready by Monday, and some may remain closed a little longer, so please bear with our wardens and PCCs that they have time to put in place the necessary notices and hand sanitizer.

Funerals may now be held in our buildings with limited attendance, and we hope weddings as well before long. All of us will be used to private prayer at home anyway, but sometimes it is good to have a change of venue; some of the churches will have some additional materials of psalms and prayers to use as well.

Hints are being given that we may be able to re-start Sunday worship in July, and we are looking at the service rota to see how best to plan for July and August. Singing has been a concern as the virus is mainly spread through our breath, or coughing or sneezing if we happen to be carrying the virus; some have suggested that we may be better to have “said” services, but singing outside is much less risky, so we will make local arrangements for each church – the virus spread as we know has slowed hugely, but it is not yet completely under control, although locally in the Area according to published statistics, there are very few known cases. But we have to be cautious, as we are not yet “out of the woods,” and some may not yet feel confident to venture out and mix as they are “vulnerable” with underlying health issues.

One of our prayers is the return of confidence and faith that we can begin to get together, spatially distanced, and re-enter our relationships with hope and peace.

A talk by Stephen, split into three parts, was uploaded earlier in the week on the subject of suffering, where is God in the disasters, and some reflection on God’s Word – you may find them stretching, but we would encourage you to watch as there is material which can be used to help others questioning God’s existence, His plans for us, and what we can discover about His workings. If you would prefer the full script, please email Stephen.

As mentioned last week, we have a prayer time on Wednesdays from 9.00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. currently on Zoom, hosted by Peter and Sylvia Raine: if you would like to join in, please let Peter know by e-mail [peter.c.w.raine@btinternet.com]  and he’ll send you the Zoom link; the home group meeting on Wednesday evenings, from 7.45 to 9.15 p.m., is also a good time to meet others, currently on Zoom too, and Peter Raine is the person to contact.

It would be useful to have some feedback – as David remarked in one of his talks, we find sometimes that our letters and recorded Sunday Worship are like throwing a tennis ball over a wall, not knowing if it has been seen or caught, and it’s only if it’s thrown back do we know that there’s life beyond the wall! Trying to care pastorally for nearly 3,000 people, and more particularly for the church membership of around 300+ - the accumulated church electoral roll – in these difficult times with no regular visual contact and limited to phone calls or email/text, makes it hard to gauge whether we are meeting the needs of you all, and our online services are only being viewed by a fairly limited number – although many “views” are for couples watching together.

Next week we may have more detail of when we can re-open, but it will be limited to perhaps use of alternate pews, and no communions as yet; but the early Christians had to meet in secret – just as many in countries like Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan, to name but a few places in our world today of persecution for Christ- and they made and make the best of what is possible, in order to have fellowship and prayer together. So let’s all make an effort to keep walking together with Christ and encourage one another, pray for one another, and meet together as soon as we are able. As always we are available on phone, email, or face to face over a garden gate or wall, for all matters.

May God bless each of you this week,

Every blessing,

With our prayers and greetings,  

David and Stephen