The Beaminster Area Team
From The Hub Covid-19 Weekly Update Friday 14th August 2020
Another week passes and there have been very few changes to the guidelines on how we can meet in larger numbers. Last night the Government announced that from next Saturday wedding receptions and funeral wakes can be held following services with a maximum of 30 people in attendance.
I would like to thank you all for your understanding on the wearing of face masks in church and for last Sunday’s compliance. I would also like to confirm that the wearing of visors without a mask is not allowed and that masks should cover both the mouth and nose.
Thank you to everyone who has spoken with me or emailed me to show their understanding and support with regards to the Team Service Rota and the reduction in the number of services across the team on Sundays. The rota as it stood before the Pandemic was put in place by Ken Masters who at the time had a larger group of Partner Priests and Lay Readers (now LLMs). Ken also trained all of the Church Wardens to lead Morning and Evening Prayer which was no mean task.
We are no longer able to staff the average 12 services with the allocated staff of me and Jo, supported by Barbara Simmonds LLM, and Fiona who is here to train and should not be included in the staff allocation. We presently have Rev Chris Luckcraft and the Ven Patrick Evans who are happy to help, but not every Sunday. As I write this Rev Alastair Wheeler, The Very Revd David Sherlock, Neville Adams Emeritus LLM are all shielding and self protecting. We are also incredibly fortunate to have help from Revd Dr David Campbell, Lead Chaplain at Sherborne School when he is not taking school services. So where do we go from here?
It was always obvious that we were overstretched on Sundays. Jo and I have discussed many times how we can help people discern a personal calling to ministry and this was one of the topics that came through in Church 2030 discussions. Lay Pastoral Assistants work alongside the Clergy Staff Team in providing many elements of pastoral care and visiting. Some LPAs choose to specialise in areas such as baptism preparation and visiting or bereavement visiting. Lay Worship Leaders work alongside the Clergy Staff team in preparing and leading non Eucharistic acts of worship, again some may have areas of special skills and interests. We would like to help anyone who feels called to this ministry to have an initial conversation with me and Jo and we can talk through what the training requirements are and help you discern if this is where you are called to serve God in the Beaminster Team. We will be organising a Deanery Training Taster session on Tuesday 29th September followed by the full course, if restrictions allow, in the autumn and post Christmas.
Jo is on holiday from Sunday until 5th September so please direct all calls to me during this time.
May God bless the work of our hands.
This week has been all about forward planning: prerecording worship for the weeks I am away on annual leave, planning all the collective worship for schools until Christmas, beginning to think about bringing Messy Church back in October, thinking about Christmas outreach.
Yet it is hard to make concrete plans for anything currently, plans in pencil is the order of the day. Hard for those of us who like to forward plan and be in control. It will be a chance to be creative and dream up new ways of connecting. The trouble is, after 22 weeks of online church (nearly half a year, how is that possible?) I think I need a rest before we can dream up any more new things. Bring on the annual leave – I am back at my desk on Saturday 5th September.
A-level results came out this week, GCSEs follow next week. Please continue to pray for the young people in our team facing difficulties and challenges. We pray too for those facing job insecurity or redundancy. Life is tough for many people. If you are having a hard time and need support do please get in touch. We can pray for you, listen to you and signpost you on to other agencies who may be able to help. God is in the midst of every part of our lives.
Our Gospel reading this week is a challenging one, but as a friend mentioned in an online group, never underestimate the power of a persistent woman and the God she believes in.
One of our challenges as a team of churches is how to be welcoming and hospitable to all people and never discriminating. It is our job as Christians to speak out when we see or experience racism, sexism or discrimination in any form. It is our job to speak out against injustice, to proclaim the love of God for all people. It is a challenging calling, but one we need to live up to.
Worship continues on this site and in churches throughout the team. It will be good to be back at Burstock this week for their first public worship since March. And we had a lovely time outdoors at Salway Ash last week for our 10.15@Salway Ash service. We plan to meet again like that next month, so we hope for good weather to continue.
Finally – as Harvest 2020 continues across our farming communities if you have any photos or videos you would like to send in for our Harvest online service in September, we would love to hear from you.
With every blessing,