Dear Church member
Monday 19th July marks 'stage 4' of the Government's 'roadmap out of lockdown', which some have dubbed 'freedom day'. For some people, however, the changes will feel like a backwards step, placing them in a position of vulnerability and fear. So how should we use our freedoms? To love one God and one another.
My friends, you were chosen to be free.
So don't use your freedom as an excuse
to do anything you want.
Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.
Galatians 5:13, CEV
There is a difficult balance to be struck, and there is a wide range of views - including within our church family - about how fast and far we should be going back to 'normal'. Loving one another includes caring for the vulnerable, and so whilst making steps towards how services were before March 2020, we will be retaining certain safeguards, for the time being at least.
Masks and all that...
From Sunday 25th July we will re-commence singing in our services - which many people - but not all - will be delighted about. We will, however, along with many other groups and organisations, be strongly encouraging everyone who is able to continue to wear face coverings when inside, and we will also not be serving refreshments after services (indoors, at least). We will not have any restriction on the numbers attending services, and there will be no need to pre-book. Whilst not formally 'social distancing' (e.g. "1 metre plus", etc) we will be encouraging people to spread out in our church buildings, and we will ventilate our buildings as much as possible, and have hand gel available at the entrances.
Services in July and August
Before these 'stage 4' changes occur, we do this Sunday, 18th July (for which the weather forecast is glorious!), have at 9.30am a special service of Holy Communion in the Churchyard of All Saints' Chilton, where we will also be singing (outside). Do please come along if you can.
Our other regular services in July and August are the 10.30am Interactive Service at St Matthew's Harwell, 6pm Evening Worship services alternately between All Saints' and St Matthew's (see website and posters for details), and the online services available from 9am every Sunday. Do please try out these services, even if they are not something you have done previously.
Our new pattern of services will start in September - news of those to follow soon.
Spring Harvest 2022
A number of church members have booked to go to Spring Harvest at Butlin's Minehead on 18-22 April 2022 (the week after Easter). The theme is 'Restore, Renew, Rebuild'. It would be really great if others decide to go along at the same time. Not only is it a great faith-building time with lots of opportunity for fun and relaxation, it is also an opportunity to connect with others in our church family. Further information here. If you do decide to book, do please let us know.
I would like to take this opportunity to pass on the sad news of the death of Sylvia Bosher on Saturday 3rd July at Framland Care Home, Wantage, where she lived for the past few years. Sylvia had been a longstanding, committed member of St Matthew's. Her funeral will be on Friday 23rd July, 2pm at St Matthew's.
Yours, in Christ,
Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey
Rector of Harwell with Chilton