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It seems a good time to update everybody with how things are going and how I anticipate us moving forward into the autumn and winter months. Although we are not facing a national lockdown as before undoubtedly the following months will continue to present us all with challenges as we face up to further restrictions of some degree or other. Let’s continue to pray for our Government and all those making key and difficult decisions at this time. I will now try and outline some sort of road map for us as we move forward as churches and I will continue to send out bulletins on a monthly basis. Thank you so much to everyone who responded to Ruth’s Survey Monkey which has helped us in our planning as we look forward. A reminder too that the Overton APCM is on Wed, Oct 14th at 7.30pm.
Welcome: To Amy Roche our new Curate who was ordained on October 4th in Winchester Cathedral. We’re delighted to have Amy with us and we look forward to getting to know her as she ministers amongst us.
Church Services: Our present pattern of services will continue until the end of October. We will continue to have an on-line service available through the St. Mary’s website and a ‘live’ Sunday@6 evening service in Overton. I will also continue to lead ‘live’ services in the morning at Laverstoke, North Waltham, Steventon and Deane as already planned.
From November, following discussions at our PCC meeting in September, the pattern will change. We will then move our ‘live’ service in St. Mary’s Overton to the morning at 11am. I fully appreciate that 10.30am would be the preferred time for many but meeting at 11am then gives me the opportunity to lead earlier morning services (either at 9am or 9.30am) in the other churches across both Benefices. The other thing to consider of course is that without coffee afterwards and the services being shorter anyway without congregational singing we will still be finishing by 12noon latest. We will keep this pattern in place until the end of March and can then review things again. Face Coverings continue to be mandatory in church – over both your mouth and nose please!
We will continue to put something on-line week by week but it might just be a recording of the sermon and the prayers from the morning service and Amelia’s ‘Family church’ videos.
Due to the change in service times ‘Zoom Coffee’ as it presently exists will come to an end from the end of this month but we can still consider other ways that we can connect socially on-line as and when is appropriate.
All-Age Services & Messy Church: I am particularly aware that our work amongst children and families (Holiday club aside!) has come to a complete halt in recent months. Clearly there are some very obvious reasons why this has been the case but it is still a deep concern, nevertheless. Amelia kindly continues to provide weekly videos for ‘Family Church’ but we are still keen to provide some sort of ‘live’ monthly worship event for our children and families to engage in. We anticipate that this could take place on a Sunday afternoon and a group are currently putting their heads together to see what might be possible from November. Discussions are currently ongoing.
Home Groups & Pastoral Care: I am very aware that the need to keep connected with each other is greater than ever at the present time. I am also aware that the present ‘rule of 6’ will undoubtedly affect if/how some Home Groups meet. I would encourage people to continue to use Zoom and connect regularly in whatever ways are possible. I am also concerned about how we continue to exercise pastoral care in the present circumstances. Clearly visiting is still permissible at present but some people might feel uncomfortable going into each other’s homes. I am currently in discussions with various people thinking about how we might manage an efficient and sustainable pattern of pastoral care and support – particularly for those on their own – as we move further into the autumn and winter months.