The other day when I walked into the greenhouse it was the first time this year that it felt appreciably warmer than outdoors. A spring moment even in February and worthy of a mention in the blog.
When I was looking for a picture to mark the moment I came across this snap from exactly a year before. The snow was such a blessing to all who like snowmen and sledges. There was not enough for cross country skiing, and the sledgers were spattered with as much mud as snow. But that was a moment of pure joy for many people who had been locked down by the corona virus. A heartfelt Deo Gratias!
Sr. Dr. Lucy Hometowu, a member of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, educates the parishioners in Ho Dome, a town in the Volta Region of Ghana. She is also the COVID-19 vaccine campaign coordinator of her congregation’s medical team. (Damian Avevor)
Many people believed that the vaccine was unsafe and had severe side effects on human bodies, thus vowing never to take “the jab,” as it is referred to in many African countries.
Religious sisters in the West African nation of over 31 million people have been working hard to debunk COVID-19 vaccine myths that are rampant, ranging from denial that the virus exists to various false side effects. As of Feb. 16, just over 15% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
Clare Boehmer is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. She is now retired after 60 years of active ministry, which included teaching English and computer science, serving as a librarian, and developing a computer center for teenage girls living in an emergency shelter.
She reflects on her recent covid-19 infection. Read her whole article in Global Sisters Report. Highly recommended; here’s part of her introduction. Click on the link and enjoy!
I have realised that the entrance of the corona virus into our world has changed that world dramatically. Our pre-COVID-19 “normal” is not something that we can return to completely.
CHANGES TO COVID RESTRICTIONS for Catholic Churches in England and Wales; as applied to Saint Thomas, Canterbury.
For the record, here is the current situation regarding coming to Church. • Follow good practice for transmissible diseases – if you display symptoms of illness please stay at home • The main for of virus transmission is via personal oral or nasal aerosol. We ask that you continue to wear face coverings (covering both nose and mouth) when in the church building unless you are exempt from doing so. • Formal social distancing is no longer required but please be sensitive to the needs of others around you. • Scientific evidence shows that surface transmission is minimal but we ask that you continue the good practice of sanitising hands on entering and leaving the church. We are also reintroducing the use of Hymn Books and our Holy Water Fonts • Test and Trace is no longer required but the QR codes and forms will still be available for parishioners’ use.
To allow as many parishioners as possible to be able to return to Mass, we will retain the current practice of celebrating two Masses with restricted seating in addition to the points above.
LIVESTREAMING IN CHURCH . We use livestreaming for all Masses. If any services are to be recorded we will inform the parish of those specific services.
USE OF CHURCH FACILITIES. With the relaxation of COVID restrictions, we are slowly returning to normal Parish Life. If you lead a group who wish to use the parish facilities – church, church hall or Upper Room, during 2022, please contact Linda in the office to confirm your bookings. Please contact Linda regardless of whether you used the facilities in the past as some groups have changed venues and times. Thank you
Rev Jo RIchards writes about the next stage in the pandemic as numbers locally are high amongst school children, teachers and parents. In the three churches of Saints Dunstan, Mildred and Peter this is the new policy for worship.
Easing of covid restrictions
With the easing of restrictions we must remember that the case numbers of covid are still high. Therefore in our church buildings and hall:
Mask wearing is not mandatory but to be encouraged – I will continue to wear mine; Jenny and I also do a lateral flow test before all services.
Sanitise hands on entry
Remain mindful of social distancing – if you prefer not to be close to someone in church, please put bag/coat on seat next to you
Peace from afar
Communion: we will return to people coming forward and the intincting (dipping) of a consecrated wafer, for those who would like to receive, or just wafer only. If you would prefer to receive in your seat, that is fine and we will come to you.
Please note when coming forward at St Dunstan’s – the service is live streamed and recorded and you will be observed coming forward to receive. If you would prefer to remain off-camera please come receive in the Roper Chapel.
Coffee will be served in the hall after the 10.00 service
Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you well as we here at the Rectory – Christmas tree is up – we always get ours from Nash Farm in Faversham, where one pays into a charity for the tree and we then take it back after Christmas to be re-planted. Something we have done for years ever since the children were tiny – now it is just Jim & I, but all for such a good cause.
Cancellations – having discussed with all the relevant people it has been decided to cancel the following activities, because of the increase of covid and in particular the Omicron variant. To date all our scheduled Christmas services, except for Messy Church Christingle, are as planned. Please keep an eye on briefings & bulletin for updates. The wearing of face coverings is mandatory in places of worship, unless exempt.
Saturday Morning Coffee at St Dunstan’s Hall – Cancelled until further notice.
Rectory Drinks Saturday 18th December: Cancelled – hopefully postponed to the New Year
If we thought we were jogging along quietly, along comes Covid.mark omicron. Here are the responses from the Roman Catholic and Anglican parishes in Canterbury. Not quite Christmas Past; let’s hope it is only Christmas Present, but not Christmas Yet-to-come!
MASKS AT MASS (AND IN OUR SHOP TOO)
The return to stricter Covid restrictions, announced by the Prime Minister this week, means that people must now wear face masks, sanitise their hands, keep a social distance and be aware of fellow worshippers’ safety when at Mass and in the church shop. Thank you
BOOKINGS FOR CHRISTMAS MASSES. Due to the COVID situation, it has been decided to ticket all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses. Tickets are now available via our website. For those unable to access the website bookings system, please telephone the Parish Office – please leave a message including a contact telephone number. Bookings will close at midnight on Wednesday, 22nd December and no further tickets in any format will be available after this time. Thank you
CHRISTMAS FAIR.: Sunday. 12 December 10:30- 12:30 in Hall. WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU THAT THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID STATUS
And Saints Dunstan, Mildred and Peter, Anglican Benefice.
Covid updates and cancellations
Following the guidance issued by the government on Weds 8th December, face coverings are now mandatory in places of worship, unless exempt. We will also for the short term, return to receiving communion in one kind in seats.
Remain mindful of social distancing.
Sanitise hands upon entry.
More information can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-12/COVID%2019%20Guidance%20v2.3.pdf In light of this, both the Rectory Christmas drinks party is cancelled (18th December) and the Benefice Homecoming Bring & Share lunch on the 19th December is cancelled. We will keep you up to date with any further developments, but at the moment our pattern of Christmas Services remain as planned, with mandatory wearing of face coverings, hand sanitising and remain mindful of social distancing.
I had to collect a couple of things from Saint Mildred’s. It was good to see the church all empurpled for Advent, the place is truly beloved.
Rev Jo Richards was in evidence too, alleluia. She has been isolating, even from her family, after a positive test for Covid-19. Sharing meals with the family via Whats App took some getting used to, but the rectory has an annexe that could have been designed just for this.
Not being able to get out and about enabled Rev Jo to spend time preparing for the next few weeks. As she told me: ‘Advent is planned, Christmas is planned!’
Thank God neither Jo nor Jenny, her curate, had many symptoms of the disease, and are both back at work. And let’s pray for all those who continue to be affected by the disease, and all for whom Christmas will mean an empty place at table which cannot be replaced by Whats App.
And may all who have died from the disease rest in peace, Amen.
We pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life. Lord, graciously hear us.
This is the right season to remember people who suffer from depression, especially in the lands that know Autumn and Winter with our shortening, darkling days, with the cold in the bones, and even without covid, enough infections to stockpile tissues against. Light amid th’encircling gloom, indeed.
And burn-out is all too real for many who have kept going with caring for children, the sick, the frail, the elderly, and who have not had enough time to take care of themselves. Let us pray that we might show more consideration for carers, nurses and teachers, and all who have given without counting the cost. We pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life. Lord, graciously hear us.