I hope this email finds you safe and well.
As I mentioned in my email last week the PCC have been reflecting on the latest guidance from the Diocese and CofE regarding safe re-opening of churches for public worship. In light of this, I can now confirm that we have agreed a gradual return to opening. Baptisms, weddings, funerals and private prayer can now take place in the Priory and the appropriate risk assessments are in place. Bishop James has granted us dispensation to delay re-opening for public worship services until Sunday 16th August and we will complete risk assessments for these in due course.
Great to hear that some of you gathered in each others homes for worship last Sunday. Please do share stories of how “mini church” is blessing you and remember to keep posting the peace, it’s really encouraging to see familiar (and new) names pop up in the comments box.
In the meantime, if you are safe to come to church, then please know that are welcome to the Priory for private prayer between 2pm and 6pm on Sundays. We will continue to livestream worship and send out information in the post each week. Hymns can be found on our website.
This week our 6.30pm service will again be held on Zoom. Instructions are attached. It is possible to participate over the telephone if this would suit you better. Just ring me for instructions. The service will be Contemporary Evening Prayer and will include a short video from Mark Calder, Regional Director of Embrace Middle East. Mark spoke at out Remembrance Sunday service last year after completing a run between here and Carlisle cathedral, one of many marathons he ran in order to raise money and awareness of the struggles of people in the Middle East.
Today the Priory was to be the venue for the Leavers Service for children in Year 6 at primary schools across the Mission Community. Sadly we couldn’t go ahead this year. Instead Rev Nicki and I have made a 35 minute video with contributions from the children. You can find it on the Mission Community facebook page.
You should also know that the Diocesan Office are beginning discussions about the future of ministry and the new normal after Covid. They are considering best, middle and worse case scenarios from a financial standpoint. Parishes have been asked to contribute to the Diocesan discussions with their own views on ministry in their local area. A couple of months ago we received a paper from the Archdeaconry in the west and although much of what we have said is in response to that paper it isn’t necessary to have read it (the Archdeaconry paper is 29 pages long) to follow the gist of what the PCC are saying. Please see the PCC and clergy response attached. If you wish to comment further then please feel free to email Bishop James’ office directly.
This week I am sorry to have to share the sad news that a member of our 9am congregation, John Bragg, died on Monday evening. There will be a private funeral service at the crematorium at 10.30am on Tuesday morning. Please hold his family and friends in your prayers at this time.
Attached to this email is;
Prayer for the week
Lord, you know how weary
and bowed down I feel sometimes.
I claim your rest for my soul.
I come to you in my emptiness
and cry to you for your fullness.
Rescue me and fill me, Lord.
Reverend Becky Gibbs, St Bees Priory and St Leonards Cleator