Updates From the Rector

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  1st May 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Dear Friends,


I trust that by now you are anticipating my weekly mail drop regarding the availability of Sunday worship either on-line or via other media.  


Do please, as always, endeavour to 'connect' with worship for this coming Fourth Sunday of Easter and if the underneath is not to your 'taste' have an explore around and you are likely to find something 'up your street', it is probably a very good discipline to exercise some selectivity if you do opt to 'shop around'.  Also remember that both the Diocesan Cathedral and national C of E website have daily resources and services, why not have a look at these too?


Attached are this coming Sunday's Collects and Readings along with a Homily for the Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).  


This Sunday, as on every Sunday, for the interim, the Eucharist will be celebrated in The Rectory, on behalf of the whole Benefice, at 0930.  

[As indeed it will be at 0930 this morning (1 May) for the Festival of SS Philip and James Apostles.]  


This Sunday is also World Press Freedom Day, a time to remember and give thanks for our treasured our freedoms we so often take for granted and pray for those who are oppressed:

Liberating Lord we pray for all those falsely imprisoned for their belief

in liberty and freedom of speech; for speaking out against corruption and injustice;

for proclaiming the good news of your saving power;

may their voices be heard and their liberty restored.
Through the power of the Spirit. Amen.

 

 

If you wish to access the C of E website click on: www.churchofengland.org simply scroll down the page to 'Church on Line' there you will find daily prayer and prayers, live-streams and a wealth of devotional material, plus for the day itself the live-streamed service.  Also you may be able to utilise the Church Facebook page @thechurchofengland


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL


I have been taken by how many have fed-back that these straightforward services from our cathedral have been devotionally helpful and accessible.


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  The Eucharist for the 4th Sunday of Easter


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio 4:  0810.  'Unless the Lord builds the house...' focusing on Salisbury Cathedral with both its Bishop, Nicholas Holtam and Precentor on the 800th anniversary of its foundation

BBC 1:   1045.  Sunday worship from Bangor Cathedral for the 4th Sunday of Easter, led by The Very Rev. Kathy Jones, Dean of Bangor.  With pre-recorded hymns including 'Thy hand O Lord has guided' and 'We have a gospel to proclaim'.



The Diocesan Prayer Diary for next week is not yet available; however as soon as it is I will forward to all, please remember from the current diary for today:

‘For all working in healthcare services at the present time, especially those on the front line caring for patients and their families; for those having to make difficult decisions or redesign services to meet a constantly changing need. For the desperate need of PPE within hospitals, hospices and residential care homes. In particular we pray for Revd Emma Louis (Black Country Partnership NHS Trust) and for Revd Martin McGonigle (Douglas Macmillan Hospice; Stoke-on-Trent)’

 

Do find also attached our local prayer diary for this coming week.


On Wednesday I sent out the Parish Magazine for May, if you haven't received your copy of this yet my apologies - just let me know and I will forward asap.


This Fri is VE day, you may wish to pray the following prayer at some point during the day - please also find attached our local prayer diary for the week.

                                      From the Act of Commitment for Peace:

Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.
Amen.



Lastly, for now, may I reiterate that whilst things are difficult if I might be able help in any way or you want to talk at anytime please, please give me a call or email.



A prayer from our Cathedral website:


A PRAYER IN LOCKDOWN

The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)

Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake.

Amen.


With every good wish, take care and continue to stay safe,


Nick

 

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  9th May 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


I hope that this finds you all well and, under the circumstances, in good spirits.  This is not only my weekly mail drop regarding the availability of Sunday worship either on-line or via other media but also an email with a couple of snippets of news.


The first, and by a very considerable way most importantly, is the sad news that David Mackay passed away peacefully earlier this week.  I have spoken with Con and David's daughter, as yet there is no date set for the funeral although it will be in accordance with the guidelines and limitations we have to adhere to; a truly lovely man - may he rest in peace.  Please remember Con and all David's family in your prayers.


Secondly on Tuesday, the House of Bishops issued a statement updating the Church response to the covid-19 crisis, you may read this in full at: www.churchofengland.org However, it changes only one matter for us now which is that the Eucharists for the whole Benefice may (Laus Deo) now be celebrated in church and in our case most emphatically will be (and indeed I will be saying Daily Prayer in church from now on) - whilst this does not directly impact upon you I hope you find strength in the symbolism of this.  However, the document envisages a three stage movement always, too clearly, dependent on the trajectory of the virus and governmental instruction.


1. An initial immediate phase allowing very limited access to church buildings for activities such as streaming of services or private prayer by clergy in their own parishes, so long as the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are taken

2. Subsequently access for some rites and ceremonies when allowed by law, observing appropriate physical distancing and hygiene precautions

3. Worship services with limited congregations meeting, when Government restrictions are eased to allow this


Do please, as always, endeavour to 'connect' with worship for this coming Fifth Sunday of Easter and perhaps have an explore around and if need be you are likely to find something 'up your street', it is probably a very good discipline to exercise some selectivity if you do opt to 'shop around'.  It has been encouraging to hear stories of folk discovering 'high quality' worship which has really helped through this arduous time.   Also remember that both the Diocesan Cathedral and national C of E website have daily resources and services, do have a look at these too.


Attached are this coming Sunday's Collects and Readings along with a Homily for the Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).  


This Sunday, The Fifth of Easter, at 0930 the Eucharist will be celebrated in St Peter & St Paul's for the whole Benefice

[As indeed it will be at 0830 on Thu 14 May for the Festival of St Matthias Apostle.]  


"Love never fails.  Coronavirus impacts on all of us.  But love unites us all."  This Sunday is also the start of Christian Aid Week, the Christain Aid website is -  www.christianaid.org.uk  It is easy to see that the giving to Christian Aid could be very seriously depleted this year with the lack of collections, not least in their usual major week, yet at the same time the impact or coronavirus in some of the poorest communities in our world which they support could be absolutely devastating.  Please visit their website, see their amazing work worldwide and do consider supporting, most certainly pray for this essential work - from their website:


Love never fails

Even in the darkest moments, love gives hope.

Love compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty.

Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far.

Love compels us to give and act as one.

Now, it is clear that our futures are bound together more tightly than ever before.

As we pray in our individual homes – around the nation and around the world – we are united as one family.

So, let us pause and find a moment of peace, as we lift up our hearts together in prayer.


If you do access the C of E website on: www.churchofengland.org you will find details of this week's main on-line Sunday service: this week it is so appropriately a celebration of nurses and healthcare workers, Bishop of London and former Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Mullally leads the service, with contributions from the current Chief Nursing Officer and many more, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.  Daily prayer and prayers, live-streams and a wealth of devotional material is available too and in abundance.  Also you may be able to utilise the Church Facebook page @thechurchofengland


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL


I have been taken by how many have fed-back that these straightforward services from our cathedral have been devotionally helpful and accessible.


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  The Eucharist for the 4th Sunday of Easter


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  0810.  'What sort of Victory' a focus on the momentous events of 75 years ago in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, with Archbishop Rowan Williams and mirroring the C of E website at 0900


Bicentenary of the birth of Florenc

BBC 1:   1045.  Sunday worship from Hereford Cathedral for VE Day, led by the Bishop of Dover The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin  With pre-recorded hymns including, 'Who would valiant be',  'Dear Lord and Father of mankind' and 'Lord of all hopefulness'.


Do find also attached our Diocesan Prayer Diary and our local prayer diary for this coming week.


Lastly, for now, may I reiterate that whilst things are difficult if I might be able help in any way or you want to talk at anytime please, please give me a call or email.


A prayer from our Cathedral website:


A PRAYER IN LOCKDOWN

The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)

Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake.

Amen.


With every good wish, take care and continue to stay safe,

Nick

 

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  16th May 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Dear Friends,


I hope this finds you all, under the circumstances, managing to stay connected with your church, one another and in the best health possible.


To begin with what may be news to some of you, or something you may have seen in the media - an update on when churches may open again.  Things are, of course, 'fluid' and second guessing is tempting and understandable yet probably unhelpful (I spend long periods misguidedly doing so).  What we have factually to go on is the Governmental paper published last Mon (11 May) ['The UK Gov't COVID-19 recovery strategy'], you have probably by now heard or read of the three stage approach in this.  It is readily available on-line.  It refers to 'current planning assumptions' and in para 4.3 speaks of re-opening places of worship in the third stage which is 'no earlier than 4 Jul'.  This is the Gov'ts direction as of 11 May. 


The C of E Lead on this for the House of Bishops is The Bishop of London, shortly after the publication came the following statement in response - on the C of E website:


The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said: “We note from the Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy that churches could be open from July as part of the conditional and phased plan to begin lifting the lockdown. We look forward to the time when we are able to gather again in our church buildings. We are examining what steps we will need to take to do so safely and are actively planning ahead in preparation. We strongly support the Government’s approach of continuing to suppress the transmission of the virus and accordingly, we recognise that at this time public worship cannot return in the interests of public health and safety.”


This may come as no surprise but I feel I ought to share this with you; whilst longing for a return to our church worship I'm equally sure we all desperately wish for the safest and surest return to 'normality' across our society.  The most up to date Church Guidance is continually available on the C of E website.


Until such as time as we meet physically together let us always treasure the fact, that we are still united in Faith, Hope and Love, not least in this week when we celebrate the Principal Feast of The Ascension; we are bound together in our prayer and personal devotions and may experience this through accessing, via different media, those services available.  It is not my 'style' to be prescriptive so as always why not explore around and, as others have, you may find something that really touches you; however, personally, I found our former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William's short homily last Sun especially powerful (R4 0810 - you may still access this via 'catch-up).


This Sunday is The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Rogation Sunday).  Please find attached the Readings and a Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL  - www.lichfield-cathedral.org


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  The Eucharist for the 6th Sunday of Easter


I'm still getting heartening feedback on how accessible and helpful people are finding these services, mirroring as they do much of the style of worship in our benefice.


OR


Access the C of E website on: www.churchofengland.org to find details of this week's 0900 service, led by the Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, Rector of Liverpool and Revd Canon Dr Rowena Pailing from Blackburn Cathedral, who calls on Christians to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’. The service also includes contributions from Dr Sarah Rushworth, a GP, and palliative care nurse Anthony Walsh.  Also you may be able to utilise the Church Facebook page @thechurchofengland


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four  0810.  'The Gifts of the Holy Spirit'.  Discovering the gifts of the Holy Spirit with The Revd Dr Alison Jack and Fr Dermot Preston SJ.

BBC 1   1045.  Sunday Worship from St David's Cathedral Pembrokeshire for the 6th Sunday of Easter, led by The Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland James; including the hymns 'Angel voices ever singing', 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind'  and 'How great thou art'.

                      1315.  'Songs of Praise' with Aled Jones focusing on contemporary classic hymns and their authors.


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 0930 (in St Luke's Weston)


ASCENSION DAY


To mark this great day in our Church Year there will doubtless be services on line from our Cathedral and the C of E Website (however I may be a little ahead of them - do please look nearer the day).  There is what promises to be a super R4 broadcast at 2000.  This will be led by the Rev'd Dr Sam Wells Vicar of St Martin in the Fields: at a time when musicians cannot meet it connects remotely the BBC Phil, Daily Service Singers, St Martin's Voices and solo artists singing Ascension hymns and anthems. The conclusion is a new recording of Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus' with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the voices of R4 listeners.


The Eucharist for The Ascension will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 0830 (in SS Peter & Paul's Wem)


Also find  attached our Diocesan Prayer Diary and our Local Prayer Diary for this coming week.  This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, please especially remember in your prayers and thoughts all who have mental health issues, those for whom these have been exacerbated by the current crisis and all who work and serve in our over-stretched Mental Health Services.


This coming week we are compiling the Jun Parish Mag, last months edition was graced with many contributors, it would be wonderful to have contributions for this month to either Pam or myself.  Perhaps some further reflections on 'lockdown', or on VE Day - on the anniversary itself I was really fortunate to speak  to several who could remember the actual day - perhaps some reflections on this and memories evoked, maybe some 'good news stories' to encourage one another, or a poem, a thought for the day....the list is long.  It would be great to hear from you.


I hope that you are able to have the best week possible next week, take care and stay safe.


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  23rd May 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


I hope this finds you as well as possible, continuing to adapt to our very strange circumstances, able to use the different media available to stay connected to worship and prayer and where possible in touch with one another.


Little has changed regarding the specific direction and guidelines the Church is adhering to apropos any move back to opening our churches in line with the Government's three stage approach I mentioned in last week's email, except reported in today's 'Church Times' last Friday leaders and representatives of the main faiths met with government representatives to work towards re-opening when safe to do so.  (It is worth remembering that our circumstances are not unique to the Christian faith but apply equally to all faith communities; Moslem, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu etc who we should surely remember as they grapple with parallel issue to ourselves whilst equally serving our communities.)  What little that came from this reportage was largely positive yet emphasised it won't be as simple as just re-opening and turning the lights back on and off we go (you'll understand I'm ludicrously paraphrasing!) I think you'd probably thought the same.


The most up to date Church Guidance is continually available on the C of E website.


Too clearly the suppression of transmission and the protection of all, especially the most vulnerable, should be the driver behind all we do at present.  Still for all that, we yearn for a return to communal worship as we do it is so, so important to keep reminding ourselves that there is real value in linking-up online with quality worship and input to both sustain us and at a deep level participate in - and thereby add to that worship even though not physically present.  When we do we are still united in Faith, Hope and Love, perhaps a real message there for us in the week that moves to Pentecost.


This Sunday is The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Sunday after The Ascension).  Please find attached the readings and a Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL  - www.lichfield-cathedral.org


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  The Eucharist for the 7th Sunday of Easter


OR


Access the C of E website on: www.churchofengland.org to find details of this week's 0900 service, reflecting the end of mental Health Awareness Week. The service, led by Rev Professor Gina Radford, Vicar in Devon and a former Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, includes a series of prayers for all those whose mental health has been affected, their relatives, friends and carers. In a contribution to the service The Duke of Cambridge urges people who are concerned about their mental health or that of others to reach out and start a conversation.


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  0810.  'Living well while waiting'.  Catherine Fox and the Bishop of Sheffield Pete Wilcox reflect on living well during this time of waiting.  For people yearning for things to be normal again it seems like there’ll be a long time to wait.  Many people’s plans for the summer have been cancelled, so what can we do to stay positive in this period of uncertainty?  The Miraculous Catch of Fish (John 21: 1-7) leads them to suggest that old plans and hopes can be transformed by Jesus. .

icentenary of the birth of Florenc

BBC 1:   1145.  Sunday Worship from Bangor Cathedral Pembrokeshire for the Sunday after Ascension, led by The Very Rev. Kathy Jones, Dean of Bangor

              1315.  Songs of Praise. 'Islands of Faith'. With Katherine Jenkins looking back at stories of faith from islands around our coastline.  With great hymns inc' 'I the Lord of Sea and Sky' from the Isle of Wight Proms and Katherine Jenkins with a 'spectacular performance' of 'How Great Thou Art'.


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 0930 (in St Peter's Lee)


Please don't forget that this is the season of 'Thy Kingdom Come' and the call to join in this great worldwide movement of prayer, from Ascension to Pentecost, which I emailed about on Ascension Day along with Bishop Michael's invitation:


'I would like personally to invite you to join during these days in the simple but beautiful service of Night Prayer, also known as Compline. Led by my colleagues and myself, this will be streamed at 9pm every evening between 21st and 31st May. Compline speaks of the protection of the angels, the faithfulness of God, and the light and peace which are promised us in Jesus Christ. I pray that you may know these realities in your own life as we walk together through these unsettled times.'   

www.lichfield.anglican.org


The following link is to a 'Blessing for the UK' sung by people from many denominations, I'm grateful to several who have forwarded this to me.  You will probably have to skip an advert first, as one wrote - not our 'usual style' yet something 'very real in its expression of the generosity of God'  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U


Also find  attached our Diocesan Prayer Diary and our Local Prayer Diary for this coming week. 


You will be receiving the Parish magazine for June at the beginning of next week.


I hope you find this prayer as helpful and stirring as I did:


Prayers for the Pandemic: for keyworkers

God of a day’s work,
who knew the early start,
the long shift, the thankless task,
help us to ‘see’ keyworkers in the pandemic
in a new and lasting way –
the ones who leave home to mingle
with the virus

to keep us fed,
keep us safe, keep us clean,
to care for us: in school, in care, in intensive care;
help us to help them by being careful ourselves
and remembering, on the other side of this,
who deserves our esteem, our national applause,
our lasting care.

 

Raymond Friel


Take care, stay safe, be grateful 🌈


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Ascension Day - 21st May 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


Happy Ascension Day!  One of the Principal Feasts in our Christian Year resplendent with hope as it proclaims the Ascension of Our Lord, a day to recognise that for all our physical separation from one another we are truly united, as one, with our brothers and sisters not only in our individual parishes and across our Benefice but also so significantly with our neighbours in Christ across the world.  Perhaps today can be truly special if we take time to mark it through an extra time set aside to pray, reflect or join in with our wider Church.  Not least as today marks the beginning of 'Thy Kingdom Come' and as you will discover there is an absolute wealth of material and prayer available; also there is the Lichfield Cathedral Eucharist at 1230 and Bishop Michael's invitation (see below) to join in Compline/Night Prayer throughout this season.


Thy Kingdom Come


Thy Kingdom Come runs from Ascension Day to Pentecost, it is a global prayer movement that started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England and has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.  In 2019 Christians from 172 countries took part in praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ.


This year we are called to prayer in lockdown. Christ’s followers, on their return to Jerusalem following the Ascension of Christ, went to the upper room where they prayed constantly (Acts 1:12-14). They prayed while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, knowing the joy of the risen Christ, yet facing an uncertain future commissioned to continue His mission.


The following is from our Diocesan Bulletin: do please consider connecting with the Ecumenical launch for our area which is at 1000 on Thu 21, Ascension Day, as you open this - don't worry if you can't or have 'missed it' you will be able to catch up later today.









On Ascension Day there will be an Ecumenical Launch Event. Join us to hear 40 mins of worship including reflections and prayer, bringing together leaders and members of different denominations across the Lichfield Diocese and the West Midlands. The service will be available on our website, on our Facebook Group and on YouTube - available from 10am tomorrow, Thursday 21 May.

Also, each evening from Ascension to Pentecost 21-31 May Night Prayer will be streamed, led by members of our diocesan Bishop's Staff team, on our Facebook Page and Group at 9pm each evening.

Thy Kingdom Come resources for all ages can be found on the diocesan website and TKC website. You can download the free TKC app now. People who aren't online can also access TKC reflections and prayers using the Daily Hope Phone Line on 0800 804 8044. 



Bishop Michael has also written:


I would like personally to invite you to join during these days in the simple but beautiful service of Night Prayer, also known as Compline. Led by my colleagues and myself, this will be streamed at 9pm every evening between 21st and 31st May. Compline speaks of the protection of the angels, the faithfulness of God, and the light and peace which are promised us in Jesus Christ. I pray that you may know these realities in your own life as we walk together through these unsettled times.


A beautiful encouragement in these times from our Diocesan Bishop.


Ascension Day


The Eucharist will be celebrated in Wem Parish Church on behalf of the whole Benefice at 0830.


A live streamed Eucharist from our Cathedral will take place at 1230, it will of course be possible to access this later in the day too, please go to:   www.lichfield-cathedral.org


May you have a content and blessed day to remember the love of God revealed in Jesus, Risen and Ascended, from which we can never be separated and which binds us all together.


Take care and, as always, stay safe,


Nick


N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  30th May 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


Please find attached the June Parish Mag.  Our many thanks to all the contributors (even more than last month!) - all adding to a super Jun edition.


Perhaps during June you might put your thinking cap on, sharpen the pencil or hone your typing and send copy to Pam or myself to make the July edition as full of valuable inputs as this one?  Do please give this some thought as I know how many value the magazine, not least in these different and not always easy times.


Do take care and stay safe,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  6th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


I hope that this finds you well, content and that the past week has been as good as it might have been under our continuing very different circumstances.  Equally I trust that you were able to take time aside on Pentecost Sunday and that either the suggested media connections offered or indeed your own internet searching provided a helpful focus.  For this coming Sunday, very significantly Trinity Sunday, please see below.


Firstly some words from our Diocesan Bishop:


In a new introduction to the coronavirus section of our diocesan website: www.lichfield.anglican.org,  Bishop Michael says: 


"As lockdown eases, and as restrictions on the use of church buildings are gradually lifted, I encourage you to read through the new and regularly updated guidance, as it arises, and together to assess what this will mean in practice for you locally, in your parish.”

"I want to reassure you that we do not expect you to do more than you are able to, taking all local and personal factors into account, whilst making the most of the available opportunities to show and to share the love of Christ." 


New advice, we are told, will be emerging soon on such areas as funerals and the planning of re-opening churches for private prayer etc.  However, as yet nothing has changed and most certainly for all the developments nationally (some schools, retail etc) please do continue to exercise the highest degree of care as you doubtless have throughout the pandemic.  Also it is not wise to start to build up hopes of an imminent return to 'church as normal', nonetheless you can imagine that myself and your Church Wardens will be speaking very soon (where we haven't already) to plan so that we will be ready for whatever contingencies.


I trust we have all been shocked by the recent developments in the USA, will have seen the tidal wave of reaction around the world  and I know some of you were greatly touched by the Radio Shropshire  interview on Wed of this week with the Vicar of St Chad's Shrewsbury - The Revd Yejide Peters.  If you click here you will find more of Mother Yijede's reflection as a Priest who ministered in New York until recently, it is moving, articulate and I warmly commend you seek this out; to give you a snippet:-

"God is walking with those who are suffering...God is inspiring us to do things differently."

“We don’t just stand in solidarity with those who are hurting in the US but in the UK we can also be people who ask questions and wonder about the kind of people we want to be."


This Sunday as said, is of course the Major  Feast of Trinity Sunday a significant day in our Church Calendar.  


Please find attached the readings and a Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL  - www.lichfield-cathedral.org


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  Choral Eucharist for Trinity Sunday


OR


Access the C of E website on: www.churchofengland.org to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, I'm sure it will be well worth watching or catching-up because - 


0900.  This week the service will be a Farewell Service for the Archbishop of York


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  0810.  'The Comfort of the Trinity'.  Sunday worship from N Ireland, a reflection on how the Trinity comforts           us in our troubles.  With Jonathan Rea Creative Chief executive of New Irish Arts.

BBC 1:   1045. Sunday Worship from Sr David's Cathedral Pembrokeshire, led by the Sub-Dean and Precentor Canon Leigh           Richardson, including the wonderful hymns 'Love Divine' and 'Great is thy faithfulness'.

                       1315.  Songs of Praise. How faith and music can help us through the darkest of times with (it says in the                         schedules) 'memorable stories of faith and music coming together' and also interviewing Bishop Dr Joe Aldred                         about the Christian response to the death of George Floyd in the USA'.


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 0930 (in St Peter & St Paul's, Wem).


This Sunday is also Environment Sunday, which fits very neatly with Trinity Sunday (but here is not the place for a sermon!) so please find attached A Rocha prayers reflecting this; you may also wish to pray on this Sunday - and through the week -  this beautiful prayer reflecting our common vocation as stewards of the environment 


A Collect (or prayer) for Creation

 

Heavenly Father,

You have taught us, through your servant St Francis,

That all creation is your handiwork.

Grant us your grace that we may

Exercise wise stewardship of this Earth;

Tread lightly upon it;

And cherish its resources;

That our children may enjoy its riches, throughout all generations,

And your name be glorified through all that you have made.

Amen.

 


Also find  attached our Diocesan Prayer Diary and our Local Prayer Diary for this coming week.  


Thursday is the hallowed Feast of the Visit of Corpus Christi (or the Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion) and the Eucharist will be celebrated for the Benefice at 0830, again in SS P and P's.  Friday is the Feast of Barnabas the Apostle (transferred from Thu) the Eucharist will be offered for the whole Benefice at 0830 in St Luke's Weston.


A prayer for Corpus Christi

 

All praise to you, our God and Father,

for you have fed us with the bread of heaven

and quenched our thirst with the true vine:

hear our prayer that, being grafted into Christ,

we may grow together in unity

and feast with him in his kingdom’

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

I understand that some of you may not have received last weeks parallel email, if so may I apologise however those who didn't were most certainly on the (BCC) address list - the wonders of modern technology..........or perhaps the floundering of a rector 🦖who still prefers pen and ink?! 🖋


Continue to take care, keep in touch with one another.....and stay safe; with every good wish,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  13th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Dear Friends,


Following the momentous Feasts of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday please see underneath some connections for online and media worship for this coming Sunday, the 2nd After Trinity.  May you find these helpful and may this email find you connected with others, as well as possible and bearing up during this fluid period of lockdown.


It seems right to begin again with some words from Michael our Diocesan Bishop:


"I welcome the Government’s announcement that church buildings are now permitted to open for individual private prayer from next Monday, 15th June. This is another step on the journey towards the full re-opening of church buildings as lockdown begins to ease. Further Government advice, including whether church buildings need to be ‘supervised’ by someone from the church if open for individual prayer, is expected in the next few days.
I want to reassure you that, while I hope that you will make the most of the available opportunities to share the love of Christ with your community, I do not expect all church buildings to re-open from next Monday. You will need to take into account what is appropriate for you, your church and your local community as you consider the best way to respond. Above all, you will want to ensure that churches which re-open can do so safely, for yourselves, for members of your church, and for the public.
Church buildings that do re-open should not be open to the public for individual prayer when other activities – such as the celebration of the offices or Eucharist or live-streaming – are taking place. Opening times for prayer should be clearly displayed on the church building’s door."


In addition to this potential development with effect from now church funerals are again (thankfully) permitted.  As you will expect this is subject to physical distancing, certain other safeguards (for instance no hymns) and such funerals will be only for close family members - the alternative of a graveside service remains.  I stand ready at (literally) anytime to talk re this most important of areas and sine qua non of any parish priest's being.


What this means for our Benefice apropos church opening rightly depends on each parish's very local, specific needs and resources.  Whether there will be a requirement for this to be 'supervised' will make a difference, very frustratingly to date, I have not been able to find any further government advice.


Further details of Michael's words and developments regarding the Church's response to the pandemic can, as always, be found via the coronavirus section of our diocesan website where you will also find links to the National Church developments : www.lichfield.anglican.org,  You may recall my words of last week that it is "not wise to start to build up hopes of an imminent return to 'church as normal'" nonetheless I was heartened to read that when worship does recommence the Eucharist may continue (I can't tell you how cross I would have been if not).  Please find attached draft Advice issued by the House of Bishops Steering Group.


As a relaxation of other stages of lockdown begin please do continue to exercise the highest degree of care as you doubtless have throughout the pandemic for all that some things are easing that care and concern for others remains essential . 


THIS SUNDAY: as said, is the Second  After Trinity .  


Please find attached the readings and a Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  Choral Eucharist for the Second Sunday after Trinity


There is also an extraordinary powerful (and on occasion personal) Address from the Dean which I cannot recommend highly enough - do please have a read, it is dated 5 Jun.


OR


Access the C of E website to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, it is available from 0900 although as yet details have not been announced.


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  0810.  Mass for Corpus Christi.  Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Mass for Corpus Christi live from Westminster Cathedral

BBC 1:   1045. Sunday Worship from Holy Trinity Church, Platt, Manchester, led by Youth and Children's Minister Sarah Bradley - recorded before the closure of church buildings

              1315.  Songs of Praise. 'Worship in the great outdoors'.  Aled Price revisists people who find spiritual inspiration in the great outdoors, including Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales and Perthshire.  There are some absolutely cracking hymns!!


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 0930 (in St Luke's, Weston).


WEM PARISH DAY OF PRAYER (see also the previous (11th Jun) update)


Saturday 20 June from 0700 to 1900.

A day, just as in previous years, to especially pray - for the needs of our world and all God's people, our community and church.  The only difference this year is that we shall be completely united yet doing so in the comfort of our own homes, some details have been sent and 'stations' to enable our focus along with further details will soon be sent electronically.  Parishioners from Lee and Weston are most welcome to join in this day of prayer, email me and I will ensure all details are forwarded to you.


Please find attached our Diocesan and Local Prayer Diaries for the coming week.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK


Picking up on Dean Adrian Durber's words in his address, a timely thought for this week:


“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”.  Nelson Mandela


Let St Paul correct all our fears about race and difference: “When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory…In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” (Colossians 3:4-11)


Do have the best week that you can, be grateful for it and keep safe, every good wish,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  11th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


As you might recall from the details in the Parish magazine our Parish Day of Prayer will still very much be held on Sat 20 Jun and last from 0700 to 1900. This will be in every way as important and meaningful as those held in previous years, the only difference being that we will be praying in the comfort of our own homes.  Very soon 'stations' reflecting the focus of our prayers and intentions will be sent for you to access electronically, as Thelma Pugh wrote we will be praying:


" For our world; politically and environmentally
• for our nation; the needs and impact of the coronavirus pandemic
• for our community of Wem
• our benefice; for guidance when we emerge from ‘lockdown’
• for your own individual concerns."


When we have used the church we have had a rota of people in situ praying through the day, it would be spot on if we could do the same for this Prayer Day only from home, thus knowing that throughout the day there will be a solid 'wave' of prayer.  We are looking for two people each hour so there is an assurance the day is covered.  Could you please pass your names to Thelma (with your time/s), please either call  01939 232273 or email  thelmapugh0@gmail.com


It may be that we can close the day with a short reflective ZOOM service at 1900, if so you will hear early next week.


With every good wish, stay safe,


Nick 🌈

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  17th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,

 

As you will have read in the media and my last bulk email the government has said that churches can now open to the public for private prayer.  This is doubtless something you will be delighted to know - firstly because it indicates that after such awful costs to individuals, families and nation it is considered safe enough to do so and secondly it is always a matter of joy to open our church doors for our wider community and each other.

 

As you must expect in the current pandemic there are certain constraints on this iaw the risk of transmitting the virus:

 

  - This can only be for private prayer and not for informal or formal gatherings and social distancing should be maintained except for those from the same household.

  - All are expected to follow the guidance that will be clearly shown on our notices especially with regard to the use of sanitiser and restraint from unnecessarily handling items or touching surfaces.

  - The Church Hall, and therefore toilets, will not be open.

  - To either facilitate the necessary cleaning or allow time for any risk of transmission to subside we will be only opening for limited periods, namely:

 

Monday:  0900 to 1500

and

Friday:  0900 to 1500

 

This will ONLY be possible to sustain if we can establish a team/rota of cleaners from our congregation, it need not take long and many hands will make lighter work of this.  We are looking for the gift of no more than an hour of your time, hopefully not very often, on a late Saturday afternoon.  Please speak to either Elaine, Chris or myself.


It is really important to note, quoting directly from the C of E website

 

'Anyone is welcome in our churches so long as they are there for the current legally allowed purposes. However there are certain groups who are more vulnerable, and government has provided guidance on these including: • People over 70 • Individuals who are extremely clinically vulnerable/shielding' 

 

If you fall into one of these categories do please consider very carefully whether the time is right for you to be coming into church at present

 

With every good wish, stay safe,

 

Nick 

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  18th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Dear All,


Each year for several years now we have had a Parish Day of Prayer.   We will absolutely not, as you see, be deterred from holding a prayer day due to our current restrictions; rather we trust that from the comfort of our own homes there can be every bit as much, indeed more, prayer throughout this special day for us all.  A Prayer Day is what it 'says on the can' or indeed as Thelma wrote in our current magazine:

SATURDAY 20th JUNE

 

SS PETER & PAUL’S

PARISH DAY OF PRAYER

 

7.00am – 7.00pm

Location of your choice, within lockdown restrictions


Please do consider committing some time during the day, to praise God and pray

 

 

With the restriction of our church building being closed, we are working on providing inspirations using other means than the Prayer Stations of previous years.

 

If you are able to commit to a particular hour, please contact Thelma Pugh so we can ensure that prayer is continuous throughout the 12 hour day thelmapugh0@gmail.com  Tel: 01939 232273


Please find attached an introduction to the day and links to the stations, the 5th station joyously ends with the UK Blessing which you may recall from an earlier email. Very many thanks to the team of Thelma, Sue, Katharine and David who have brought this together.


Thelma mentions creating a rota for prayer throughout the day (just as we did in church) it will be quite something to have a continuous 'wave' of prayer across the parish in so many different homes throughout the day.  The early slots are covered; we would like some slots filled from 0900 - 1100 and 1200 – 1900 and I wonder if folk are concerned that an hour seems a long time; in which case perhaps you could link up with someone else to do 30 mins each?  Either way please contact Thelma as above


At 1900 there will be a short, 15 min, ZOOM conclusion with a reflection and Act of Prayer.  Should you be able and wish to be included in this please email myself as soon as you can and no later than 1700 Fri, this will allow time for my liaising with David (Murray) who will host, to send your invitation.  [If you are unfamiliar you need to install the app (which is easy) and as you join please do so on mute and video initially not enabled - then David can bring in as required or I will ask you to unmute.  It will be fun!.....as well as prayerful.]


Do please feel able to join and be a part of this united day across every part of our parish, praying for our community, World, our own part of it, the Church and one another.


With every good wish, stay safe,



Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  28th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


Last week I was able to refer to the government announcement that church buildings are now permitted to reopen - subject, of course and as we would all wish, to necessary protocols.  Within our Benefice that means very much adapting to each parish's local, specific needs and resources. 


What this means, at the moment, for our Benefice church opening is:


Lee Brockhurst:  Sundays 08:00 to 16:00

Weston under Redcastle:  remaining closed

Wem:  Mondays and Fridays 09:00 to 15:00


A such we mirror Bishop Michael's words:


"I want to reassure you that, while I hope that you will make the most of the available opportunities to share the love of Christ with your community, I do not expect all church buildings to re-open from next Monday. You will need to take into account what is appropriate for you, your church and your local community as you consider the best way to respond. Above all, you will want to ensure that churches which re-open can do so safely, for yourselves, for members of your church, and for the public..."


Most of you will also have heard the announcement (long expected) regarding a further relaxation of government restrictions on places of worship, for ourselves this means:


-   church funerals are permitted but there are restrictions on attendance and the size of the church may be a factor

-   ‘small’ weddings will be permitted from 4 Jul however, again, numbers will be limited and the necessary legalities met by other than                 banns  - for now

-   from 4 Jul places of worship can reopen from public worship


For funerals and weddings as each case, and parish church, will be and are different please make no assumptions without checking with myself first.


With regard to the churches resuming worship the Church Wardens and myself will be talking this through in detail to ensure that we do so in the best and safest way possible across the Benefice.  Once we know we will let as many as possible know as soon as possible, as I write we are awaiting further guidance, as it says as I type, on the up to date C of E website: "Following the Prime Minister's statement on 23 June, we are awaiting publication of the detail of the Government's guidance before updating our advice." 16:00 26 Jun.  Clearly we will base our reopening iaw intelligent use of this guidance and follow absolutely the spirit of Bishop Michael's statement of Wed 24 which is attached.  


As a relaxation of other elements of lockdown continues please maintain the highest degree of care for yourself and others that I'm sure we all have throughout the pandemic especially, but not only, if you are in a vulnerable group or shielding.  We should all take note of +Michael's pastoral words about care as we return to worship together.


THIS SUNDAY: as said, is the Third  After Trinity .  


Please find attached the readings and a Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL  - www.lichfield-cathedral.org


08:00  The Eucharist (traditional language)

10:30  Choral Eucharist for the Third Sunday after Trinity


OR


Access the C of E website to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, it is available from 09:00.  The past two weeks have been quite memorable in different ways, why should this week's be any different?   09:00 - 'God welcomes us all': - exploring the welcome that God offers us to experience his love: www.churchofengland.org

 

THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  08:10   'Looking to the future hopefully.'.  With John Bell of the Iona Community


BBC 1:   11:45  'Sharing and Giving.'  Looking at what happens when we strive to be the best we can be, sharing stories of people who by                             playing to their strengths are making a real difference to their communities, including artists of different faiths who are finding                            common ground.  The first in a new series.

               13:15.  Songs of Praise.  From the coast on the N of Ireland, a sharing of faith stories from along the coast along with a mixture of                             traditional and modern hymns.


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 09:30 (in St Peter's Lee).


It will also be celebrated for the whole Benefice (in SS Peter and Paul's, Wem) on Mon 29 at 08:30 for the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles


Collect for the Feast of St Peter & St Paul

Almighty God,

whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul

glorified you in their death and in their life:

grant that your Church,

inspired by their teaching and example,

and made one by your Spirit,

may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,

Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.

 

Please find attached our Diocesan and Local Prayer Diaries for the coming week.


FOODBANK


Many thanks to all who are continuing to support our local Food Bank which performs a wonderful work in helping to alleviate the blight of food poverty made even worse by the impact of the pandemic.  Many will still not be able to drop resources off at their centre (Bargates Hall, Whitchurch 09:30 to 11:00 Tue and Fri) and our churches are insufficiently open nonetheless we can still support quite easily.  Firstly: the Wem Co-op will take donations, please ask staff for the exact location of the 'bin'.  Secondly: via online giving, please go to their website -www.whitchurch.foodbank.org.uk  


PRAYER DAY


Many thanks indeed to the team who made this all we wished it to be given our restrictions.  If anything the ZOOM meeting to conclude the day was particularly special given our physical seperations - a lesson learned and something to perhaps repeat.


MAGAZINE


This will be forwarded electronically in the next few days, thanks again to all who contribute to this and to Pam for her diligent work (not least correcting my syntax and typos!).


Take care, stay safe and enjoy our summer weather safely, every good wish,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  20th June 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


I hope this finds you well and that the past week has been as good as it could have been.  Sometimes in this strange period time seems to do funny things and some weeks just fly by, so here we are at the week beginning the Second Sunday after Trinity, 21 Jun.  


Connections to online and media services for this Sunday are, as always, detailed underneath equally you may (with, please, discernment) trawl online for other services - maybe taking a leaf out of Fr William Price's book, indeed perhaps linking to the worship he mentioned in his article in the current Benefice magazine?  It is lovely to keep hearing how helpful you find the varying services, not least last week's C of  E web site Sunday morning service which was beautiful.


Last week I was able to refer to the government announcement that church buildings are now permitted to reopen - subject, of course and as we would all wish, to necessary protocols.  Within our Benefice that means very much adapting to each parish's local, specific needs and resources. In Bishop Michael's words:


"I want to reassure you that, while I hope that you will make the most of the available opportunities to share the love of Christ with your community, I do not expect all church buildings to re-open from next Monday. You will need to take into account what is appropriate for you, your church and your local community as you consider the best way to respond. Above all, you will want to ensure that churches which re-open can do so safely, for yourselves, for members of your church, and for the public.

Church buildings that do re-open should not be open to the public for individual prayer when other activities – such as the celebration of the offices or Eucharist or live-streaming – are taking place. Opening times for prayer should be clearly displayed on the church building’s door."


What this means, at the moment, for our Benefice church opening is:


Lee:  Sundays 0800 to 1600

Weston:  remaining closed

Wem:  Mondays and Fridays 0900 to 1500


As announced last week church funerals are again (thankfully) permitted.  As you will expect this is subject to physical distancing (therefore numbers may be critical), certain other safeguards (for instance no hymns) and such funerals will be only for close family members - the alternative of a graveside service remains.  I stand ready at (literally) anytime to talk re this most important of areas and sine qua non of any parish priest's being.  As yet weddings and baptisms (except emergency baptisms) are not permitted.


As a relaxation of other elements of lockdown continues please maintain the highest degree of care for yourself and others that I'm sure we all have throughout the pandemic especially, but not only, if you are in a vulnerable group or shielding.


THIS SUNDAY: as said, is the Second  After Trinity .  


Please find attached the readings and a Homily for this Sunday  (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL  - www.lichfield-cathedral.org


0800.  The Eucharist (traditional language)

1030.  Choral Eucharist for the Second Sunday after Trinity


OR


Access the C of  E web site to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, it is available from 0900.  This week's details are not as yet directly available, however I understand from the Diocesan bulletin that it will be:


0900:  'Ending the sin of racism'. The national Church's weekly streamed service at 9am this Sunday will have a Windrush theme ahead of Windrush Day on Monday, 22 June. Details will be available soon at: www.churchofengland.org


From the Church of England website:

On Monday 22 June at 11am (Windrush Day) bishops, clergy, cathedrals and parishes across the Church of England are encouraged to keep a two-minute silence to lament the suffering of the Windrush Generation and wider issues of racism in society. A minute’s silence will be observed during the online service on Sunday.


THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  0810.  'Images of Fatherhood'  led by Ben Lindsay with Guvna B and Lord Hastings.  The schedule outlines what promises to be a very inspiring and thoughtful service.  Ben who leads the service is a London Pastor who runs a charity working to prevent knife crime, Guvna B is a grime artist who reflects on losing his own and becoming a father himself, Lord Hastings will share his experience of becoming a father figure to young men in prison through his prison ministry.  The Gospel reading is, so appropriately, the Prodigal Son.


BBC 1:   1145. Sunday Worship for Father's Day from Holy Trinity Church, Platt, Manchester, led by their rector - filmed before the closure of church buildings and with music recorded by Songs of Praise

              1315.  Songs of Praise. For Father's Day with stories of inspirational dads and a mixture of traditional and modern hymns; the presenter also reflects on meeting 'a truly inspiring mother', Baroness Doreen Lawrence


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole benefice at 0930 (in St Luke's, Weston).


It will also be celebrated for the whole Benefice (in SS Peter and Paul's, Wem) on Wed at 0830 for the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist


WEM PARISH DAY OF PRAYER


Saturday 20 June from 0700 to 1900.

Because I am emailing this the day before just a reminder of the Wem Parish Day of Prayer which all will have had full details of, nonetheless please look back at the details and try and commit a little extra time for prayer and reflection on this special unifying day.  You will also find a reminder on Wem Parish Church website: www.wemcofe.co.uk


Please find attached our Diocesan and Local Prayer Diaries for the coming week.


From the Wed of our Diocesan Prayer Diary:


FOODBANK


We will all have heard and seen in the news headlines the question of food poverty and its consequences for many, exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.  The easing of covid restrictions does not in the slightest mean this need is diminishing.  Our local foodbank performs a wonderful work in helping to alleviate this scourge and the urgent need is ongoing.  Many will still not be able to drop resources off at their centre (Bargates Hall, Whitchurch) and our churches are insufficiently open nonetheless we can still support quite easily.  Firstly: the Wem Co-op will take donations, please ask staff for the exact location of the 'bin'.  Secondly: via online giving, please go to their website - whitchurch.foodbank.org.uk    In the week where we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist some words of his resonate with this:


‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’

Luke 3. 11


Our July edition of the Parish magazine is soon to be put together, the last two editions have benefited from the wider cross-section of inputs which have been so appreciated.  It would be excellent to have a July edition in a similar vein, time is now of the essence, however please do not let this deter you.  Some contuned reflections on lockdown, perhaps those online services which may have inspired or supported your faith in this time or reflections on the acts of kindness and other 'silver linings' to the dark cloud of our global crisis.


Take care, stay safe and enjoy the coming week as much as you can - it is a gift,



Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  1st July 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Dear Friends,


A happy Patronal Feast day to you all.

Please find attached the Parish Mag for Jul.

Hope this finds you well and adapting the vagaries in our 'Summer' weather!

Take care,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  4th July 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Friends,


I trust this finds you well and in good heart.  Some important news about the resuming of Public Worship and what this means across our Benefice, details of services available through various outlets for this coming Sun the Fourth Sunday after Trinity and some very sad news and details particularly for Wem Parish.


Firstly though a reiteration of church opening, at the moment, for our Benefice, which is:


Lee:   Sundays 0800 to 1600

Weston:   Remaining closed

Wem:   Mondays and Fridays 0900 to 1500


This pattern has been chosen carefully to reflect the different parishes and more than anything ensures that we keep ourselves and others as safe as we can during this stage of things - as such it reflects Bishop Michael's encouraging and affirmative words.


"You will need to take into account what is appropriate for you, your church and your local community as you consider the best way to respond. Above all, you will want to ensure that churches which re-open can do so safely, for yourselves, for members of your church, and for the public..."


More detail has now been published regarding the further relaxation of government restrictions on places of worship, for ourselves this means:


-   church funerals are permitted but the size of the church will be a factor and the guidance is that attendance should be no more than             30

-   ‘small’ weddings will be permitted from 4 Jul with a parallel cap on numbers attending (for us this also means alternative legal              preliminaries until banns can be fully read)

-   from 4 Jul places of worship can reopen for public worship - for those who wish to look the detailed guidance is available at:             www.churchofengland.org


For each type of service we will follow the guidance we have been given and thus do all we can to minimise risk and ensure a safe environment to resume our worship, something we are (doubtless) all yearning for.  However, quite understandably, there will be some who will prefer to wait for a while and others for whom a return to public worship is not yet wise - please know this is absolutely right.  


Both Church and governmental guidance reiterate the need for caution for those 'vulnerable' and the current situation for those 'shielding'.  From my perspective, as your Rector, I really wish to stress that whilst it would be lovely to see all return to worship if in your case this is not wise then you should not do so - yet.  There will be a time.......


Last week Bishop Michael wrote to all ministers in his Diocese:


"This is a significant step on the journey out of lockdown for our churches which I welcome. For many it will bring a sense of relief – that they will again be able to worship together in the building they call ‘home’, or get married in church.

“For others, there may be nervousness due to the continued, and real, threat of coronavirus which has had such a devastating impact in our communities. That is why there will be no pressure for churches to open their buildings on 4 July or until they are ready. Each minister or church will want to take into account their local circumstances in deciding how and when to respond.

“When buildings do re-open, it will not be ‘church as normal’ due to the necessary restrictions that will remain in place."


What +Michael says for churches and their decisions applies equally to each of us personally and what he says specifically about churches and the resuming worship means for us:


St Luke's Weston will wait, for a short while before reopening, looking probably to the beginning of August for this.


SS Peter & Paul's Wem will resume worship on Sun 12 July with a Eucharist at the previous times of 08:00 and 09:45.


St Peter's Lee will, as Weston, wait for a short while, again looking to a resuming in August


Whether Wem on 12 Jul or Lee and Weston soon, for each church our Bishop is so correct in reminding us that it will not be 'church as normal' due to physical distancing and other covid related precautions.  At present we are still following the 2m rule in churches (as indeed elsewhere without mitigating factors).   As long as we have the situation where some are unable to attend due to prevailing risks I will keep sending out news and details of on-line and other services in tandem with Sun worship ensuring we all as the local body of Christ are as linked as far as possible with both one another and the wider Church.  For this week these are as follows: -


THIS SUNDAY: as said, is the Fourth  After Trinity .  


Please find attached the readings and a Homily for this Sunday (courtesy of Redemptorist publications).


LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL  - www.lichfield-cathedral.org


08:00 - The Eucharist (traditional language)

10:30 - Choral Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity


OR


Access the C of E website to find details of this week's service which you can also watch during the week, it is available from 0900.  

The past weeks have been truly memorable in different ways.  This week it will certainly be the case.   09:00 'God welcomes us all': - the first ever on-line prison church service to be broadcast by the Church of England.   Recorded at three sites - HMP Stocken in Rutland, HMP Low Newton in Durham and HMP Pentonville in London - the service will include contributions from prison staff and chaplains, along with prayers, reflections and artwork written and created by prisoners.   The service, with the theme of hope, will be led by Reverend Helen Dearnley, Anglican chaplaincy adviser for HM Prison and Probation Service

 

THIS SUNDAY on BBC


Radio Four:  08:10 - 'Speaking to troubled times.'.  The Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James' Piccadilly, and composer Bob Chilcott                                    explore the power of music to speak into troubled times.


BBC 1:  13:15 - Songs of Praise.  'Celebrating Florence Nightingale and the NHS.'  Katherine Jenkins marks the anniversary of the                             foundation of the NHS and the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.  The Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to                             all carers on the front-line.


To reflect this Sun, 5 Jul, marking the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of our priceless NHS it would be right if we could all give of our time to pray with thanksgiving for its foundation and for all who today serve our communities and brothers and sisters so tirelessly.  Might we all at least spare a few minutes to pray the following, separately yet as one, with heartfelt thanks and praise.


PRAYERS ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE NHS


God of healing and compassion,
we thank you for the establishment of the National Health Service,
and for the dedication of all who work in it:
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who care for the sick,
and your wisdom to those engaged in medical research.
Strengthen all in their vocation through your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Everlasting God,
at this time we lift to you
those from all nations and backgrounds
who work on the front line in healthcare.
Give them skill and wisdom in their work.
Be their strength and their shield
as they give of themselves in the care of others.
Amen.


Please find attached some more prayers and a resume of the birth of the NHS from the Chair of the Liturgical Commission.  Also the Diocesan Prayer Diary for the week alongside our local prayer diary.


The Eucharist will be celebrated for the whole Benefice at 09:30 on Sun in St Peter & St Paul's.


BETTE RICH


Very sadly Bette, for many, many years a stalwart of SS Peter & Paul's and dear friend passed away last Sun.  'Rest eternal grant unto her O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon her.'


Bette will be received into her church at 15:30 on Wed 8 July prior to leaving for Committal at Emstry the following day.  The hearse is scheduled to leave church at 12:30, an occasion when you may wish to gather to pay your respects as the cortege leaves.


There will be a service of Celebration for the life of Bette at 10:45 on Tue 14 July in Wem Parish Church.  All are most welcome to attend, however, may I gently request that if you are attending you let me know in advance (a brief 1 line email will suffice) this is simply so we may be confident we have contingencies in place apropos the numbers.  


Please continue to stay safe and take care, every good wish,


Nick

N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550