“What is the point” is a sentence I’ve used regularly over the last 6 months. As some of you will know I play Disc Golf, a game where you throw plastic discs towards a basket. The aim is to beat your opponent, by getting the discs into 18 baskets in less shots than your opponent. I can already hear some of you saying, “What’s the point”. Well, it provides me with some exercise, a chance to catch up with friends and addresses my need for sporting competition. However, it’s also on occasions, extremely frustrating! The discs never go where you want them to, they hit trees you weren’t aiming for, they disappear into the river, and get lost in bushes, even though you never aimed at any of these obstacles.
Last Thursday I played Disc Golf with Steve Martin and had one of those rounds best described as very disappointing. On many occasions over the two and half hours we played, I threw my arms out in disgust and exclaimed “What’s the point of playing this stupid game”. Both Steve and I have experienced the frustration of the game and been optimistic that the next round will be better. Sure enough, on Saturday when we played again, I did have a better round and, on this occasion, it was Steve’s turn to ask the forever question, What’s the point!.
Following a risk assessment and review we have now opened up the church and it is no longer necessary to book a place to attend on Sundays. We are also now singing hymns and songs, albeit from behind a mask. We have also reintroduced the Wednesday, midweek service. The services now feel much more like they used to and as Jeremy commented in his message last week, there was a sense of excitement at meeting people in person in church to worship.
I expect there are some people who have got out of the routine of attending church over the past 18 months and are saying “ What’s the point of going back. I can watch the recorded service now and have a lie in and drink my coffee.”. The recorded services were introduced to enable us to worship together at a time when it wasn’t possible to attend church. Although these services have been very well received, they were never meant as an alternative to attending to church in person. These services therefore have a finite period left now the church is open. Later in the autumn we will be offering a live streamed service when the new cameras are installed, and this will provide those who are unable to attend church on Sunday’s due to ill health etc to still join in the live service from home at 10:00am.
If you are thinking “what’s the point of going back” I’d like to offer you four good reasons to consider:
- We are called to worship together in church because we are part of the body of Christ, and each have different gifts to offer – Romans 12 v5 – So in Christ we who are many forms one body, and each member belongs to all the others and we have different gifts, according to the grace given to us.
- We join together in church because we need encouragement in our faith and to support and encourage others. Hebrews 10:24-25a – Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.
- The role of the church is not just to sit and be taught. We are to go out and make disciples as well. Going to church equips us for the journey. Matthew 28 vs 19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I command you.
- We meet to sing praises and worship the Lord. Throughout scripture we are urged to lift our voices in songs of praise to him. Our singing and worship in church inspires us and hopefully those who hear us. Psalm 147 vs 1 – How good it is to sing praises to our God.
I hope and pray that you will be inspired to return to church soon, and we look forward to welcoming you back.
Nick Tooby – Churchwarden
The parish administrator is now on holiday until Monday 20th September. For any church bookings or urgent enquiries please contact Becky Crowe, church warden, on 07875 552518.
The PCC met on Monday 2nd August and have agreed the following changes which will be reviewed regularly.
People are requested to:
- use the sanitiser when entering church.
- Social distance
- Use a face covering when in church.
- Singing – will now be allowed but requested to be done behind a face covering.
- Move to a 1 metre distance – therefore all pews will be open, but only 2 people (related or formally in a bubble) are allowed to sit in each pew. People will be asked to sit at the opposite end of the pew from the people in the pew in front/behind. This is to achieve the 1 metre social distance.
- Upstairs will now be open on Sundays to increase capacity.
- If people, due to mobility or preference, wish to sit downstairs for the Sunday service you will need to contact Julie to book a place. Otherwise, the booking arrangements will be suspended, and people will be seated on a first come first served basis, utilising both the main body of the church and upstairs. The capacity of the church will be 60 people.
- People will still be encouraged to record via the track and trace app.
- We will continue with the current arrangements for sharing the peace.
- Communion – will be administered in the pews as now. We will follow the option to administer the bread only at this time. We will request that people continue to wear a face covering when receiving Communion to protect both themselves and visiting clergy.
- Coffee – will not be available after any service at this stage.
- The online service will continue to support those who are not able to return currently.
- Wednesday Service – Wednesday service at 10:00am will start again from the 18th August.
- Life Events Weddings/Baptisms/Funerals – The church can accommodate 68 people utilising upstairs, downstairs and choir stalls. The number able to attend will be at the discretion of the person officiating at the service. Singing will be requested to be undertaken behind face coverings.
As you can imagine trying to get the balance right is very difficult, but we will keep the guidance under review. We will continue to take our steer from the Church of England and Public Health England guidance to make sure that we are keeping us all as safe as possible.
The church will continue to open on Thursdays and Sundays from 9am until 5pm.
Nick Tooby – Churchwarden
On behalf of the PCC
Annual Sponsored Walk
On September 18th, Selina, Veronika and Lin (and anyone else who would like to join us), will be walking around the six churches of the Pontesbury and Stipertones group along with members of Greg’s new congregation. This is approximately 20 miles of quite hilly terrain, so more difficult than it sounds. We would like as many people to sponsor us as possible, and all proceeds will go to St. Andrews church.
How do you sponsor us:
Please support this worthy cause, as over the past 18 months due to the ongoing pandemic, we have been unable to continue with many of our fundraising events and the money donated will continue to support the work of our church. Thank you all.
Our next Children’s service will take place in church on Sunday 5th September.
Our Wednesday Service has now resumed and commences weekly at 10am. Everyone welcome. There is no need to reserve a seat.
This is a reminder that anyone who volunteers for a role at St Andrew’s, whether paid or unpaid, must be safely recruited and may also require a DBS check. St Andrew’s are proud to abide by the regulations stipulated by the diocese to ensure the safety of all as far as we possibly can.
If you have a role, or volunteered for a role within the church and have not been safely recruited please contact either Julie Crow (Parish Administrator) or Linda Chylinksi (Parish Safeguarding Officer) immediately. The contact details are:
Parish Administrator: Julie Crow – 07756 918847 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Safeguarding Officer: Linda Chylinski – 024 7646 8535
We are looking to resume a sidespersons rota for Sunday services. If you are willing to do sidesperson duty please let Julie or one of the churchwardens know.
Please note that each individual will need to be safely recruited for this role. We will need a short application form completing and contact details to obtain 2 references. A DBS check will not be required for this role.
Flower Rota Coordinator
Ann Dove, having done the role for several years, is standing down as Flower Rota Coordinator. We are now looking to recruit a volunteer to take over the role. If you would like more information and a copy of the job description, please contact Julie on 07756 918847 or email@example.com.
Please note that you will need to be safely recruited for this role. We will need a short application form completing and contact details to obtain 2 references. A DBS check will not be required for this role.
Do send Julie your favourite bible verses or hymn verses, names for prayer and any birthdays, celebrations or articles for inclusion in the bulletin. Julie can be contacted on 07756 918847 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Churchwardens: Nick Tooby – 07951 925772 and Becky Crowe – 07875 552518
Parish Administrator: Julie Crow – 07756 918847
Parish Safeguarding Officer and Children’s Advocate: Linda Chylinski – 024 7646 8535