Dear Parish Magazine readers,
In case you haven't had chance to read the announcement that went out on Thursday, i have included it again to make sure that everyone is aware of our current positon in regards to public worship and private prayer:
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 4th January of a new national lockdown in order to deal with the rapidly increasing spread of Covid-19 (fuelled by a ‘new variant’ of the virus) and to save lives, emergency consultations with the PCCs of each of our three churches were held so that the leadership of each church could consider their local situation, examine the available options, assess risks and make well-informed decisions concerning the provision of worship and the availability of church buildings for public access during the lockdown.
After thorough deliberation, each of the PCCs of our benefice formally decided – particularly in light of information suggesting that our local area is one of four in Staffordshire where the virus is spreading most rapidly – that the most appropriate course of action was to suspend all weekly public worship services with immediate effect (weddings and funerals under Covid-secure conditions may still take place), and to continue offering on-line worship provision for the whole benefice through All Saints and St. Stephens so that worship can be safely experienced in our own homes. Each PCC wishes to assure their congregation and local community that this painful decision was not taken lightly, and is committed to resuming in-person communal worship as soon as it is deemed wise and sensible to do so in each context; this decision and the evolving situation will be carefully reviewed at regular intervals, and any changes will be communicated as soon as possible.
With regard to the availability of church buildings during this lockdown, once again each PCC carefully explored and assessed the situation in light of what was deemed to be appropriate and practical for their own community, each of which has its own unique context, and each has decided the following:
St. Leonards Wychnor – which until springtime is not normally open anyway – will continue to be closed for the time being, but will happily continue the provision (established during the first lockdown) to make the building available, for anyone wishing to use it for private prayer, by contacting a local church officer or the Vicar whose information has been publicly displayed.
All Saints Alrewas has decided, based on an assessment of the situation in its own village context, to keep the building closed for the time being, but also to happily offer the opportunity of private prayer for anyone wishing it, by contacting Vicar John via his published contact details.
St Stephens Fradley, based on an assessment of the situation in its own particular context, has decided to continue opening the building for private prayer, for the days and times it has established locally – residents should consult the usual sources of church information for up-to-date information.
As with the situation concerning public worship, each PCC is committed to reviewing these decisions regarding the availability of their local church building during the lockdown restrictions at regular intervals, and will communicate any changes concerning the above provisions as soon as possible to the communities they serve.
Finally, on behalf of all of our PCCs, please be assured of our continued desire and commitment to be of service and support to all in our benefice communities, and our earnest prayers for the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones as this extremely challenging situation continues on in this new year –
With every blessing,
Vicar John Allan