Update 24th March 2020
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening, the Church of England has stated: “It means all Church of England churches will close with immediate effect in line with the Government’s instructions. There will also be no Church weddings or baptisms.” I am very sorry but this means that Christ Church will now have to join St Nicholas in remaining closed for the foreseeable future. However, the closure does not apply to our churchyards. These are tranquil, peaceful sacred spaces where folk can sit on the benches around the area and spend some quiet time as they self isolate. As the weather gets warmer and sunnier and we go out for exercise (as the Prime Minister said we should), perhaps a walk and a rest for a few minutes in the churchyard may be therapeutic.
You may notice myself
and up to 5 people in the churchyards occasionally as we are still permitted to
hold short, said funeral services at a graveside outdoors so long as we
maintain self distancing, hygiene rules etc. Services at the crematorium are
still allowed within the same guidelines. However, at this time it is not
permitted to inter ashes following cremation. Sadly,
pastoral support in preparation for funerals will only be done via telephone or
email as personal visits are not allowed.
Whilst neither of our rural churches is equipped to offer virtual services at this time, many are doing so (including St Giles in Newcastle). Several people have said they enjoyed tuning into the televised service last Sunday and maybe this is a way for you to worship in the weeks ahead. Alternatively, the Archbishop has sent a Spiritual Communion service outline (which I have asked be put on the websites) for individual use, especially as we approach the great Christian festival of Easter. The Church of England website also contains link for daily prayer – Morning, Evening and Night prayer; plus, you may like to pray this special prayer for this unprecedented time we are living through:
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy. Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Marion Reynolds, 20 Tudor Hollow, 01782 397073
Mrs Rowena Robinson, Fulford Dale Cottage, Tel 01782 397838
Mrs Shirley Rawlings, 14 Carters Croft, Tean, Tel 01538 724392
Nicholas & Christ Church – worship whilst our buildings are closed for
public worship and we cannot gather together
The Archbishop of Canterbury said: “the term ‘Spiritual Communion’ has been used historically to describe the means of grace by which a person, prevented for some serious reason from sharing in a celebration of the Eucharist, nonetheless shares in the communion of Jesus Christ. The form of prayer below offers Christians an opportunity to give thanks for their communion with him, particularly at times when they would ordinarily be present at the Eucharist.” (20th March 2020)
We all know that, at this time of extreme uncertainty, anxiety and unprecedented changes to our way of life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church of England has suspended all regular worship in our churches and also outside gatherings for the foreseeable future. For some Christians this is particularly distressing as we approach Easter (and possibly Pentecost). However, the Church of which we are members is not defined by the walls of a building but by the Body of Christ of which we are members. In making our communion spiritually, we are joining with Christians everywhere to be nourished by the one who tells us, ‘I am the Bread of Life’.
In making a
Spiritual Communion, you may wish to pray all or part of the act of worship
below, as you are able.
An act of Spiritual Communion
You may wish
to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.
You might choose to make your Spiritual Communion at a particular time of day
(maybe when you know others will be doing the same).
Reflect on the day and on your relationships:
- What good things have come from God today?
- Where have I fallen short?
- What might
I do tomorrow?
As you reflect on your day, say or pray the Kyries:
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
If you have access to today’s readings for Holy Communion read and reflect on them; otherwise read and reflect on the following:
“Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6.35
Pray for the needs of the world, for your local community, and for those close to you.
End with the
Give thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus and ask him to be with you now:
Thanks be to
you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me, for all the
pains and insults you have borne for me. Since I cannot now receive you
sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. O most merciful
redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
Conclude with the following:
The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life. Amen.
St Nicholas Fulford & Christ Church Hilderstone: Holy Week and Easter 2020
It is very sad but, at the same time given our current unprecedented situation, imperative that our church buildings remain closed for public and private worship. However, as has been said many times, the church is not buildings – it is people; people who can worship God any time and anywhere. To help folk to keep the very special time of Holy Week and Easter, the bishops of the Church of England have produced some suggestions. Adapted extracts from the document produced by bishops are given below. I do hope and pray that you will find them useful and may still experience the joy of God at Easter despite the difficulties we are all experiencing at the present time.
Activities during Holy Week
The following list outlines a number of suggested activities which is not exhaustive, but could form the basis of observance this year. On social media, there will also be daily reflections from the Archbishop of Canterbury, discussions on each of the Stations of the Cross, and short films which explain the various facets of Holy Week, together with national broadcasts of Prayer During the Day, Night Prayer, and Sunday services. All will be signposted from the Church of England social channels and website.
Maundy Thursday evening
Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all ages; to him be glory and power, through every age and for ever. Amen.
A locked church, by Alan Amos
Ah my dear Lord, the church is locked
but let my heart be open to your presence;
there let us make, you and I,
your Easter garden;
plant it with flowers,
and let the heavy stone be rolled away.
Services at St. Nicholas Church
Following the statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York (17th March 2020) all regular Sunday and weekday services in the churches are SUSPENDED until further notice. If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me on 01782 397073
We respectfully ask that slug pellets are not used on any grave unless they are “wildlife friendly” as we have had several instances recently of dead rabbits near graves where slug pellets have been scattered.
We reserve the right to remove any items from graves in the churchyard if they are not in accordance with the diocesan regulations, an extract of which is available in the notice board.
We pray for the Church, for all who are ill, bereaved, troubled or confused. If you cannot get to church and would like a visit and/or Holy Communion, contact the Vicar (397073) or Shirley Rawlings (01538 724392).
From the registers
20th Feb George Harold Bedson funeral and burial
The parish profile for the Benefice of Fulford-in-Stone with Hilderstone (2017):
St Francis of Assisi, Meir Heath The Methodist Church (Blythe Bridge): Rev'd Ian Coates 01782 395370 The Roman Catholic Church (Meir & Cresswell): Fr Kazimierz Stefek 01782 313734;
Jan M Berny Fulford Residents
Third Thursday 10 am at the Village Hall ~ All welcome
Coffee and a chat.
St Francis of Assisi, Meir Heath
The Methodist Church (Blythe Bridge): Rev'd Ian Coates 01782 395370
The Roman Catholic Church (Meir & Cresswell): Fr Kazimierz Stefek 01782 313734; Fr Jan M Berny
Third Thursday 10 am at the Village Hall ~ All welcome
Coffee and a chat.