OPENING OUR CHURCH BUILDINGS
Message from the Diocese of Leeds:
We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.
Services - September 13
I hope this finds you well and in good heart – and a warm welcome to this week's Sunday resources!
We meet by phone at 9.30 am;
On zoom at 10:30 am
and at 11.00 am at St Bartholomew West Witton - which will be a service of Holy Communion
On forthcoming Sundays in addition to phone and zoom services we will meet at 11.00 as follows:-
Sept 20th – St Margaret, Preston under Scar (Harvest)
Sept 27th – St Andrew Aysgarth (Harvest)
Note that if you would like to be in church, but more privately, our buildings are presently open on the following days:-
Preston under Scar and Wensley every day, but closing for 3 days before a scheduled service
Aysgarth on Wednesdays until September 28 and then usually open every day
Castle Bolton every day .. .. .. .. ..
Redmire every day .. .. .. .. ..
West Witton Sunday and Thursday
Every blessing -
Tom and Penny (Rev Tom Ringland and Rev Penny Yeadon)
The responsibility for keeping buildings clean and the public safe rests with the members of each church council along with myself as Vicar. We show our care for the community by only opening after we have studied the guidance and made a careful risk assessment.
The church (as the family of God), of course, has remained active and alive throughout the health crisis. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if we can be of help.
Scroll down to message of March 21 for the latest details about baptisms, funerals and weddings.
Vicar’s Letter - August 2020
After producing the last two issues online, it’s with great pleasure that we are able to go to print again and reconnect with our whole community with this issue!
The importance of connections and relationships has been laid bare over the experience of this spring and early summer. We have had to learn to live differently – and we are celebrating being able now to meet up again, albeit in new ways and with new restrictions.
I’m reminded of the great 17th century poet and preacher John Donne, who famously wrote: ‘no man is an island, entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were …’.
We are relational beings, and when prevented from relating we suffer. To a degree we have all suffered, but some of those living alone have had the greater burden, and it’s been wonderful to hear of many stories of people maintaining the connection with neighbours near and far!
We understand that God is Himself relational – in constant interaction as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And indeed as the Creator, He chooses to relate to everything that He has made – including of course with us, His children.
We learn (from Genesis 1:27) that we are made ‘imago dei’ – in the image of God – and so as God is relational, we are made so too: truly “no man is an island”.
As we have strengthened the connections with one another by phone-calls, zoom and video-calls, letters and chats on door-steps, so too many people have re-engaged with the natural world over these months – with a renewed focus on growing things, birdsong and cloudscapes. The whole creation is in mutual inter-relationship, and we have been rediscovering that truth, and with it a determination that we prove good stewards of a fragile earth.
A loss we are now beginning to remedy has been our absence from our church buildings. During this time, we have found new ways of worshipping together – by telephone conference call and through our screens using the zoom platform – and this has been a profound discovery that we will continue to explore. But it’s good that we can begin to start using our buildings again, as written elsewhere in this issue. Kneeling ‘where prayer has been valid’ (TS Eliot: Little Gidding) we are touching the intimacy and yet mystery of God in places where our forebears have done the same. We are connecting with the whole company of faith. It’s important because it’s another dimension of our relational nature.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith …”
Whether by phone, ‘zoom’, in church, on the moor or a doorstep let’s savour all our relating - with one another, our natural world and a living, loving God!
Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.
The line is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044. Callers will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19. Please let your family and friends, who are not on internet, know about this. More information at: https://www.leeds.anglican.org/news/free-dial-prayer-service-launched-national-church
FREE DIAL-A-PRAYER SERVICE LAUNCHED BY NATIONAL CHURCH
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has launched a free national phone-line as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus.
Daily Hope, which is available from now, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
The service is supported by the Church of England nationally as well as through the Connections group based at Holy Trinity Claygate in Surrey and the Christian charity Faith in Later Life.
Although thousands of churches across the country are now running services and prayer groups online while public worship remains suspended, many people – especially older people – do not have access to the internet.
The line also recognises the impact of social distancing restrictions and self-isolation measures on those suffering from loneliness.
Statistics from Age UK suggest that 49% of older people believe the TV or a pet to be their daily source of comfort and interaction. While many organisations are encouraging people to use better use of technology, ONS figures also state that 2.5 million people aged 75 and above have never used the internet.
Callers will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19.
Options available include materials also available digitally by the Church of England’s Communications team such as Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer, updated daily, from Common Worship, and a recording of the Church of England weekly national online service.
A section called Hymn Line offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection and is based on an initiative by the Connections group
Archbishop Justin said: “With many in our country on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.
“The Daily Hope service will allow people to hear hymns, prayers and words that offer comfort and hope, especially in this Easter season.
“I want to urge people to spread the news about this service. If there is someone you know who is particularly struggling, give them a call and let them know about the Daily Hope. I’m going to phone a friend; will you join me?”
Carl Knightly, chief executive of Faith in Later Life, added: The Church must be those who offer hope to our nation at this time, and I am delighted that Faith in Later Life is able to be part of this project.
“We know as an organisation of the challenges for older people in our society in normal times and these are not those, so I want to add our voice to that of the Archbishop and get people sharing this number with whoever they know who would most benefit.”
Pippa Cramer, founder of Connections, said: “At Connections we have found that well-loved hymns are a source of comfort and hope to our seniors. Hymns we Love has proved to be an accessible and popular way to explore the story and meaning behind some of our favourite hymns.”
MESSAGES FROM THE REV TOM RINGLAND
It’s so good to hear numbers of people are sharing in reading and praying together on Sundays – and for some of you in weekdays too!
In addition, many have been creative in searching the internet for streamed services of worship, either in places you know from the past, or those advertised on the diocesan or national church websites.
Paul encourages us to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances”
and continues, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Three things (rejoice, pray, thank) - clear positive attributes - which are to characterise our day to day living, whatever betide.
If we can develop these in this time of isolation, we will be strengthening our own mental health, and will bring the grace of God to bless those for whom we pray.
There are things to lament but also things for which to give thanks.
[ I read today that this is the first time our buildings have been closed for public worship since 1208 – when the then Pope placed England under an interdict for rejecting his appointment of Simon Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury!! - from an article by Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop designate of York. For full article click here.]
We can and should lament … and also for the sufferings of others caught up in this crisis rather more deeply than we ourselves: the sick, dying and bereaved; the NHS, those who's lifework has come to an abrupt end ... But we can also look around and notice where we are now. What is emerging for you?
... Increased support within the community, more frequent contact with family and friends ...
– but also a refocussing on what is important in life and perhaps time to stop and reflect on who we are and where we are going.
Unwelcome and challenging as these days may be, we have an opportunity, perhaps even a responsibility to accept them and use them and learn from them.
Bishop Nick in one of his excellent blogs writes: (March 28th) “When you are in the desert, don’t look for the flowers that grow in the fertile areas; look for the flowers that grow only in the desert”. (see https://nickbaines.wordpress.com/ for more)
Why not begin a record – a journal of your own experiences, thoughts and feelings through this time.
We will continue to adapt, learn and grow - I pray we'll find a deepened connection with God, and that as a society we may learn again to be more generous and compassionate. I gather Andrew Marr began his show recently saying 'maybe selfishness will fall out of fashion'!
We'll also find new ways of communicating and sharing news and encouragement. For a Sunday service see Services.
We remain a people of hope - an Easter people ... and so lets pray for chances to infect others with that positive outlook. Where are the opportunities in this new regimen?
Simple good humour will go a long way to maintaining our spiritual health, so attached is a picture with some good advice...’
Please note the following:
Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.
Funerals with a small number of people present can be held at the graveside or crematorium and are now permissable again in church. Please contact the Revd Tom Ringland for details.
Currently weddings are still not permitted, although we hope permission may be given soon. We encourage bookings for future dates.
Live streaming of services is more important than ever and is still permissible from homes. We encourage us all to consider how we can be as creative as possible with streaming services and other resources. There are many, many fantastic examples of churches and clergy using technology to reach and engage communities. Read more guidance here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/digitallabs/labs-learning-blog/beginners-guide-going-live-your-service-or .
See also -
• churchofengland.org scroll down for 13 daily reflections, the #LiveLent materials and worship and prayer resources
• arthurrankcentre.org.uk click on 'Together Apart' for a range of resources for rural churches
• leeds.anglican.org click on Covid-19 (the starry screen) for resources including services streamed from local churches
6. The Church Pantries at Redmire and Castle Bolton churches are now available in Redmire village hall. These provide free food and hygiene products to those in need. You can consider making a financial contribution to these or your nearest foodbank.
The Rev Ringland was licensed as Vicar of Penhill Benefice in November 2019 - scroll down to the bottom of the Benefice Information page for the report.
Click on Aysgarth Church Harvest Flower Festival 2019 to see photos of that event.
See Festival of Remembrance for a report and photos about the flower festival and Remembrance event from November 9 to 12 2018.