St Mark’s church news for February 2021.
I suppose this should begin with ‘A Happy New Year to all our readers’! I think we have all been saying ‘Well it couldn’t be worse!’
As I write, 3 of the new vaccines have been approved for use in the UK, and the Buxted surgery has just started calling the over 70s for vaccination. Let us pray this will indeed be the beginning of a Happy New Year for us all. So sadly we are presently in the process of a 3rd lockdown, and that has meant some big decisions needing to be made for our Parish of Buxted and Hadlow Down.
We had made some alternative preparations for the Crib Service, to make it as safe as possible. We planned on holding it outside in the church grounds, singing shortened carols, —but at least we could sing them—, and having a shorter service. Our new Rector, Pete, was looking forward to preaching a short address, and meeting more people from Hadlow Down, but eventually it was felt that it should be cancelled, because of the spread of this virulent virus.
The Christmas morning service was also cancelled, with great regret, because despite all the precautions that we had put in place, we still couldn’t be sure that we wouldn’t spread the infection amongst so many vulnerable people who would attend. Once again, preparations had been made, by the flower ladies and various people making welcome wreaths for the window sills, and the Christmas tree (kindly donated by Wilderness Wood as usual), brought in and decorated, so that the church looked very festive and welcoming.
Fortunately the church remained open for private prayer then, but now we have now very reluctantly decided to keep it closed even for that, so that we know that the virus isn’t being carried into the church unwittingly by people who do not know that they have it. We know that God will hear our prayers wherever we are praying them.
There is now a notice on the church door, telling people that if they wish to use the church for private prayer, they may telephone Janet Tourell on 075 1199 2682, who will open the church for them, and close it afterwards. The Rector, churchwardens, the majority of the PCC, using guidelines from the Bishop have agreed to cancel all services in the Parish until 31st March, but with a review on17th February, and more regular reviews if the situation changes, so watch this space!
Rector Pete still hasn’t been able to meet as many parishioners as he hoped that he would, because he has been able to lead so few services. He would love to speak with people who would like a call from him. Please ring him on 01825 733 103, or give your name and number to Janet (number above), and she will pass it on to him.
So, stay safe by observing all the precautions, and we hope to all meet up again soon!
Valerie Banks : Deputy Church Warden