Rev Chris weekly update
So, we find ourselves in Tier 3. This is a situation that some may find hard to believe but at the end of the day it is what we have to work with and we must all do our best to keep to the rules as they apply to each of us.
The immediate effect on church life is that, sadly, and with a heavy heart, I have taken the decision to cancel the Christmas Market. This will come as a great disappointment to many, and I am sorry for that, but I believe it is the right thing to do in the circumstances. I am immensely grateful to those who have put so much hard work into the planning process. I must also say a big thank you to all who donated so many items – please be assured that everything will be found a good home and will go to benefit the local refugee hostel, the food bank and the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester.
The hope had also been to have a Tuesday Community Café on the 8TH December, but Tier 3 guidelines do not make this possible. Again, this is a great disappointment as this would have been an opportunity for fellowship amongst many who greatly benefit from meeting with others in this way.
I have also had to consider the Christmas Tree Festival and how that goes forward. It can no longer be an ‘event’ as such as the guidelines do not permit that, however we will still decorate the church with the donated trees from the community. St Nicholas Church will be open for private prayer and for services (see attached Services & Events for details) and these will take place amongst the donated trees – I shall also ensure that pictures are published of the decorated space.
Regarding services, these can re-commence in church, although, as before, this will be on a selected basis. Places will need to be booked, and rules around social distancing and face coverings will apply – I am also asking that those attending do not interact with others before or after a service.
This is a hugely challenging time for our churches, and the Church of England generally, especially as we enter one of the most important seasons of the Christian year. Please make the most of all that is on offer, whether online or in person. I am sure that we also recognise that this is a very difficult time for families as they work out the logistics of who they can be with over the festive season, not least as we all weigh up the risks involved to our loved ones.
In the meantime, as well as thanking those who have put so much work into the Christmas Market and the Christmas Tree Festival, I would also like to thank all those who work behind the scenes. This includes lay teams who prepare services, those who serve on committees and councils and take great responsibility on their shoulders and those who keep things ‘ticking over’ in many varied, and unseen, ways, from leaf clearing to cleaning.
To conclude, as we head into Advent, I would like to include a picture of the outside notice board, developed by Fiona, with help from all who have donated messages and pictures, with that ever relevant message of HOPE. I also attach a Calendar of Prayer to take you through the season.