A message from Revd Jo Richards on an unusual aspect of parish life.
Live streaming at St Dunstan’s: Thank you to the PCC, and in particular Martin Ward for getting the ball rolling in installing our wifi, camera and getting us up and running with Church Services TV; this has been very much appreciated by us all but especially folk whose funerals we are taking – last Monday we had a funeral with 126 attendees from around the world, 21 countries, on all continents, including Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste; all these folk coming to the funeral virtually – it is so very much appreciated. Thank you.
Good morning to you all on another cold and frosty morning – it is very icy out there – going for my walk yesterday I rather glamorously slipped over on the ice, whilst heading up St Thomas’s Hill, all is well but be careful! Morning prayer: https://youtu.be/E3J53B5PCtk Today in Morning Prayer, we have been asked to remember another character: St. Scholastica, so a little bit about her… I love how we get to hear of these folk down the ages… Scholastica (c. 480 – 10 February 543) is a saint of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion. She was born in Italy. According to a ninth century tradition, she was the twin sister of Benedict of Nursia.Her feast day is 10 February, Saint Scholastica’s Day. Scholastica is traditionally regarded as the foundress of the Benedictine nuns. Ref and more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholastica
Plastic Free Lent: With Lent beginning next week, Sami (from St Dunstan’s), Caroline Blamely who heads up our eco-church committee and myself are compiling a series of tips to help us reduce the amount of plastic we use in our lives – so much is changing a habit. So watch this space, as we will be publishing these tips in my daily brief, on our website, twitter account, instagram & Facebook – so watch this space.
Ash Wednesday: 17th February: This will be live-streamed from St Dunstan’s in the evening (7.30), Meanwhile, keep warm, it’s freezing, and am heading off to Barham Crematorium so prayers for another family mourning the loss of a loved one – it is so tough. Keep connected, keep well and keep praying!
God Bless, Jo
Rev Jo Richards Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury
More reflection from Rev Jo Richards of Canterbury. I hope that by the time this is published the restrictions on people attending funerals will have been eased. Thank you again for allowing us to share your reflections, Jo.
Just back from another funeral, this really is tough with so few family and friends being present, to say goodbye to someone, and this morning reading Psalm 23 seemed to speak into the situation of being comforted by God’s presence in all that we are and all that we do. That sense of God with us both in the good times, and the most challenging of times.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil;my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I saw this yesterday from the Mother’s Union prayer diary, which I thought was lovely: Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting and tedious of all works. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.’ Corrie Ten Boom 1892- 1983.
Rev Jo Richards,
Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury.
The Good Shepherd statue in St Mildred’s, Canterbury.
From Rev Jo’s daily briefing for yesterday, 12 June. Preparations are afoot to reopen our churches: it’s not just a matter of turning the key.
Good morning everyone, and hope you are well, as we continue to be here at the Rectory. A brief note this morning, as I have a funeral first thing (thank you John for leading Morning Prayer), and then meeting with Mary, churchwarden for St Mildred’s as we go into church to start planning the logistics for worship. Rachel (churchwarden) and I met yesterday at St Peter’s and did likewise. All St Peter’s folk – all is well, and we were working out seating in there – slightly easier as it is chairs. Of course it depends if the government reduces the social distancing from 2 metres. We were there with tape measure working it all out; it is also working out the flow etc – again a steep learning curve for us all! But that is what life is about – they say a lifetime of learning!I will send out service information for Sunday later today, and please access our youtube channel for Morning Prayer. From today’s psalm: 17: 8 “keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me under the shadow of your wings” God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying. Jo🙏🙏🙏 Rev Jo Richards, Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury
And here is an extract from St Thomas’s Catholic Church in Canterbury, tackling the problems in a different building, and one that traditionally is open for private prayer every day. REOPENING THE CHURCH From Monday, we have been given permission to open our churches for private prayer. Archbishop John Wilson in his letter to the clergy says “It is imperative that any church which does open is fully compliant with the obligatory prerequisites. It is important to emphasise that this date (15th June) is the date from which Churches may open and not the date on which churches must open. The limitations of particular church buildings, the availability of volunteers, and the requirement of the Risk Assessment, may all mean that some churches, perhaps the majority of our churches, may not be able to open immediately or in the short term”. The Parish Pastoral Council are meeting to finalise our Risk Assessment which will then need to be approved by Canon John O’Toole, the Episcopal Vicar for Kent. This is the first step on the road back to restoring the full sacramental, pastoral, and liturgical life of the Church. Please pray that we can move forward safely. Amen to that for St Thomas’, St Mildred’s and all our church buildings.
From Rev Jo Richards’ morning updates for the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury. Parish life goes on, despite not getting to choose and see the path. Thank you, Jo, for permission to share your reflections.
Good morning everyone, hope all continue to keep well, as we are here.
Just back from a funeral – this is really tough on so many families, with the social distancing and limited numbers, as it is in so many different spheres of life.
Today I will be reviewing various documents from CofE re cleaning churches and social distancing regulations prior to any further guidance about opening our churches. Nothing further to note, but as and when we are told, we need to be prepared to the best of our ability. That sense of waiting is good to reflect upon, it gives us patience and time to process things. In our ‘normal busy lives’ that sense of patiently waiting can be easily put to one side – that must have now attitude, rather than waiting, and being patient. Looking in the Bible, folk were waiting in the wilderness, and again in exile from Jerusalem. Time and time again people have waited, as we do now, but the time can be well spent – listening to the eulogy at the funeral this morning – make the most of each and every day, whatever it may bring, each and every day is a gift from God.
God Bless you all. and do keep praying, keep connected, and keep safe.
At last, this afternoon we can commit Pamela’s body to the ground by way of the crematorium. Bureaucracy doing what bureaucracy does, or doesn’t do.
When I say ‘we’, it will be just ten of us, unless the restrictions have been eased since the start of the month. We can come together in bigger numbers to celebrate her life once we can all breathe the same air again.
Meanwhile we pray for her, confident that the Good Shepherd has found her and brought her home.
This duck was a gift to our family from Pam. We painted it up like an Aylesbury duck, a popular British breed. It stands guard over our house which was named Aylesbury Villas by the Victorian builder. So we feel Pam is close to us, thanks to this relic!
Click here to read Eddie Gilmore’s appreciation of Pamela.