Tag Archives: worship

Going viral CI: slowly returning to normal Parish Life

The martyrdom of Saint Thomas, 1170.

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

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2 February, Going Viral C: Easy there!

Saint Dunstan’s Church, Canterbury.

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

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Going viral XCVIII: New Guidance for Catholic Churches in England.

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Staithes, Yorkshire.

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have updated and relaxed rules for worship according to new Government guidelines. The following sets out the principles for the new guidance; the link leads to the full document.

The vaccine programme has had a major impact in reducing death and serious illness from infection
with Covid-19. The Church in England and Wales supports the vaccination programme and
encourages people to be vaccinated.
The scientific consensus is that society is moving towards the stage where the virus is transitioning
from the pandemic phase to the endemic phase, but as stated by HM Government, there is still a risk
associated with gathering for sustained periods in enclosed spaces and therefore there needs to be
continued caution by all against infection.
This, however, has to be balanced against the need to move forward safely towards a normal lifestyle
and these two positions will always be held in tension. This holding in tension is the key to living
safely with Covid-19, namely keeping infections from a virus that cannot be eliminated to levels
which minimise disruption to people’s lives.
This guidance has been written with this principle in mind.
Alongside the positive effects of covid vaccination, it should be stressed that any people displaying
symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and not participate in acts of worship in church.

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23 January: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022, Day VI.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022

Original photo of Nablus (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0): Dr. Michael Loadenthal

Day 6 They saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage Matthew 2:11

Readings

Psalm 84 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

Mt 28:16-20 When they saw him, they worshipped him.

Reflection

When the Magi from their far-away countries arrived at Bethlehem and saw the child with his mother, they worshipped him. In the presence of this revelation of God among us, eyes were cast down and knees bent. Similarly, when the disciples saw the risen Christ on the mountain in Galilee, they were amazed and troubled. Yet they worshipped him.

Do we see? Are we amazed? Are we truly worshipping? How many times do we remain blind to God’s presence? How can we worship in truth if we do not really see first? In our narrow vision, too often we see only our tangled disagreements, forgetting that God’s saving grace is to all, and that we share in the one Spirit who draws us into unity. Often in our pride we follow human laws and traditions, disregarding the love we are called to share as one people justified by Christ’s blood.

As communities enlivened by the Holy Spirit, we are called to walk together towards the Christ-Child, offering homage as one people. The Spirit of compassion guides us to each other and only by following this guide will we be able to “worship in spirit and truth”.

Prayer

Compassionate God, 
in your mercy, remove the scales from our eyes
and lead us to repent and to worship you.
In the midst of our sorrow and despite the depth of our sin,
give us the capacity to love you with all our hearts.
As we journey together with one heart and mind,
may we glorify you in the Spirit’s fellowship,
and witness to those around us.Amen.
Hymn Verse
Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in Heav'n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
                          Charles Wesley, 1747

Questions

Global: What are you doing as part of your own pattern of worship to pray for the worldwide church?

Local: Within your worship as a local Christian community what are the barriers you face to greater unity and how might they be overcome?

Personal: Can you remember a time when you were able to worship “in spirit and in truth”? What was it like?

Go and Do

(see www.ctbi.org.uk/goanddo)

Global: Use the ecumenical prayer cycle to pray with communities across the global Church – https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/prayer-cycle

Local: Partner with churches in your area to participate in a biblical dialogue to learn with a church community across the world. Visit Just Scripture to find out more – https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/join-in/just-scripture

Personal: Find and join an online service from a church of a different tradition. Join in this act of worship and reflect on what riches God has shown you through this different experience of worship together.

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Going Viral XCIV: Just when you thought it was safer…

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!

Saint Thomas’ Catholic Church

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.

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Going Viral LXXXVIII: Covid changes in Worship

Worship in our church buildings – a step forward for Canterbury’s Anglican churches.

Covid measures: hand sanitising, Test & Trace and social distancing are still in place. Face coverings are recommended, particularly when coming and going. The Peace will continue from afar and the communion will continue in one kind only. Singing is permitted, but we will wear masks when doing so.

God Bless and have a good day

Rev Jo Richards

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21 July: Dancing in the aisles.

African music on the march at the St Maurice Pilgrimage, Switzerland.

A few years ago the Missionaries of Africa came to help celebrate the centenary of our parish school. Every parishioner I spoke to at the time was struck by the reverence shown by the African Missionary students as they danced the book of the Gospels to the lectern to the sound of drums. Other Masses that I have attended with African music and dance were also accessibly prayerful. So I was disappointed to read some of what Sister Freda Ehimuan describes in this article; a mismatch between Christian faith and practice in Africa. She reports that:

  • For the African, worship is the expression of feelings (negative and positive) toward the Divine, in different ways and through various media. Since worship is the expression of feelings, songs, dance, drums and incantations are significant to African worship. Physical expression is important in African worship; even if the person remains motionless, they may be crying, or making sounds from their throat. Without these expressions, Africans think that their worship is not deep enough and that it lacks the ability to reach God. They go through the rubrics of worship without experiencing an internal impact.

She describes one mismatch below:

  • A bishop has been speaking against dancing in the church for many years. One day he got a donation from some organization to build a pastoral center. He was so full of joy that right there on the altar he began to sing and dance. All the parishioners were so surprised that they spontaneously danced with him. Of course, he stopped when he realized what he was doing! When some Africans — who feel that they are civilized and too dignified to dance in worship — are shaken by incidents or experiences, their true nature comes out. Physical expression is their natural way of expressing faith whether they deny it or not.

I urge you to reflect on the article in the light of the recent posts about reforming the liturgy. Not just to ‘tut, tut’ at the missionaries whose predecessors had insufficient understanding of African cultures: they laid the foundations people like Sister Freda can build on today. But also to wonder what a truly local expression of faith would look like in your home town. What would you like to see happening in our celebrations? Read all of Sister Freda’s article here. (from Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter, 12 July 2021.)

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

Psalm 149.3

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Going Viral LXXXV: the certain fact that the virus is still with us.

A statement from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales regarding attending Sunday Mass.

“It is hoped that it will be possible for all Catholics in England and Wales to fulfil the Sunday Obligation, by the First Sunday in Advent 2021.”

(Pere Jacques Hamel, martyred at the altar, 2017).

We are mindful of the certain fact that the Covid-19 virus is still circulating in society. Vaccines provide genuine protection against the worst effects of the virus, yet we recognise the legitimate fear on the part of some who otherwise desire to gather for Holy Mass. It is our continuing judgement, therefore, that it is not possible at the present time for all of the faithful to attend Mass on a Sunday thus fulfilling their duty to God.

It is hoped that it will be possible for all Catholics in England and Wales to fulfil this most important Church precept, that of the Sunday Obligation, by the First Sunday in Advent 2021. In the meantime, all Catholics are asked to do their best to participate in the celebration of the weekly Sunday Mass and to reflect deeply on the centrality of Sunday worship in the life of the Church.

In April, following our Plenary Assembly, we offered a reflection on the experience of the extraordinary long months of the pandemic. It was titled The Day of the Lord. We also began to look at the way forward. We spoke about the important invitation to restore the Sunday Mass to its rightful centrality in our lives. We asked for a rekindling in our hearts of a yearning for the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, as our response to the total, sacrificial love that Jesus has for us. We said: “The Eucharist should be the cause of our deepest joy, our highest manner of offering thanks to God and for seeking his mercy and love. We need to make it the foundation stone of our lives.”

May this continue to be our striving during these coming months as we journey back to the full celebration of our Sunday Mass and our renewed observance of The Day of the Lord.

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Going Viral LXXXIV: We are in this together! 

A few words from Rev Jo Richards of Saint Mildred’s, Canterbury, on her church’s patronal feast day, 13 July.

St Mildred: Today is the Feast day of St Mildred,  a fascinating woman and a very local saint. So for those who might be less familiar with her, one of our patron saints here is some info: St. Mildred was the daughter of King Merewald of Magonset and his wife, St. Ermenburga (alias Aebbe of Minster-in-Thanet); and therefore sister of SS. Milburga and Milgith. At an early age, her mother sent her to be educated at Chelles in France, where many English ladies were trained to a saintly life. There is lots more info here:   http://earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/mildred.html

Lifting of covid restrictions: we are still awaiting guidance from CofE with respect to what this means for our places of worship, and how we conduct public worship. I assure you that we will not be rushing into anything, though I would be very interested to hear your thoughts about what you would feel comfortable with in terms of mask wearing, social distancing, singing and receiving of communion; of course this may all be dictated by CofE, but good to get a feel of what folk are thinking, and would feel comfortable with – we are in this together! 

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3 July, Going Viral LXXXII: Particular care needs to be taken.

Here are Rev Jo Richards and her team, negotiating the latest twists and turns of policy around covid-19.

Good morning to you all, on a warm sunny morning, and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory – an exciting weekend ahead, and just to update you…

Seating arrangements in our church buildings: updated from Church of England, 30th June 2021:

From Step 3 groups of 6, or larger groups where everyone present is from the same two households (or linked support bubbles), can sit together. Everyone else will need to observe appropriate physical distancing at all times. It may be helpful to remind people as they enter, and to supervise this if needed. When entering and leaving church particular care needs to be taken that there is no mingling between groups. This can be particularly hard for people to do when encountering friends and clear paths for entrance and exit need to be considered as well as stewarding where this is considered to be an issue.” 

What this means is: Attendees may sit in non-household groups of up to six on a pew together, but they must not mingle with other groups.   Mask wearing is mandatory (unless exempt), and there is no congregational singing, track and trace in place, and hand sanitizers.

We are expecting quite a few folk to come to our services on the 4th July and the 11th July, not only is it [new curate] Jenny’s first services with us, but we have couples hearing their Banns of marriage being read (5  couples at St Dunstan’s and 2 at St Mildred’s).

When you arrive, if you would rather sit alone (which is absolutely fine) please do indicate this, otherwise we will ask if you are happy to sit in a group of six on a pew. At St Dunstan’s we have rearranged the ribbons, and closed off every other pew, as that brings us to just under the 2m social distancing between open pews; whereas before it was over 2m social distancing.

We as with everyone else await to hear if there will be any restrictions with the ease of lockdown, and will let you know accordingly.

Welcome party for Rev Jenny (4th and 11th July), following government guidelines: to take place in churchyard only (so if wet it will be cancelled), overall group size max 30 (so split into 2 groups in separate parts of churchyard if necessary). Smaller groups of 6 to be maintained, and sat together with no mingling between the groups. Drinks will be provided and brought to you (or byo); we are not permitted to stand and drink/eat. Individual snacks will be available or bring-your-own. If you do have a collapsible chair and can bring it please do.

Link to the Cathedral for the Ordination service 3rd July at 5.30pm : https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/worship/online-worship/#evensong

As we prepare to welcome Jenny to our Benefice – today’s reading in Morning Prayer spoke to me most profoundly: Romans 16:1-2

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.”

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