Update 1st December 2020
1 December 2020
Letter from our Minister - Rev Gail Hunt
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. (Isaiah 9:2)
As we start our walk through Advent, these words from the prophet Isaiah come once again to mind and this year we cannot help but associate light and dark with our current situation.
As we emerge out of the second national lockdown we do so into the Government’s highest tier system, which means the risk of catching and spreading the Covid Virus in our area is still very high. I don’t know about you but the darker nights and the reality of a virus which is still very active, has made this lockdown feel a little heavier than the former one. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with the hope of a vaccine in the New Year.
The lights which are emerging in our community also remind us of the celebration of Christmas, with the joy and hope this season brings. This time of year is usually full of activities and events and, while we know many things will not happen in their usual way, it does not remove the good news that God became flesh and dwelt, and continues to dwell, among us.
So this pastoral letter comes to encourage you and to tell you what we have arranged this year to help us focus on the light of Christ this Christmas.
For some I know just being in Church is really important and, before we went into lockdown, you valued the short midweek services we were able to offer. For others of you, the opportunity to worship on line has been greatly appreciated and, while Covid restrictions are in place, you would prefer to meet in this virtual way. Indeed, our online community has grown too while we have been away from our building.
So, taking all things into consideration and the responsibility we have to look after one another, particularly the vulnerable, (i.e. those who are 60y and over or have pre-existing medical conditions), please see below our calendar for Advent and Christmas worship and activities:
In Church –
"Christmas readings and music"
Tuesday 15th December 10.00am and
Sunday 20th December 2.00pm
An opportunity to meet in Church for a 30-40min service, listening to Carols and readings with a short thought for Christmas.
These services will be restricted in numbers and attendance must be booked prior to coming (Details of how to do this are at the end of this email). It will be the same service on both dates. All Covid precautions will be in place – social distancing, face coverings, track and trace etc. and also I need to highlight the Government’s directive for church worship which states "Places of worship can open, but people cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble".
Sunday mornings at 10:30 - Advent worship continues as usual with the lighting of the advent candle each week
"Christmas readings and music" This will be an on line version of the service in Church (on the 15th & 20th Dec) and will also be advertised on the Dore and Totley Facebook page, inviting the community to join us. It can be accessed through our Facebook page, our YouTube channel or our website. This will be available after 15 December.
Christmas day - A short online Christmas day worship and message
In the garden:
Walk through family star trail - Rachel is making a star trail around the garden, culminating at the stable. It is open to everyone, but especially aimed at families and children. It will include a Christmas bauble prayer centre.
"Stable window" - Dean has built a life size stable and, at night, an image of Mary, Joseph and the baby will be projected into it. This can be seen from the road and will be a fantastic witness to the community. It also forms part of the "Totley and Bradway Advent windows" which takes you on a walk around the area with each day a "Window" being revealed. Further details of the trail are on our Facebook page or they are available from Collette.
Focus Church will meet on Zoom for their Christmas celebration
Christingle - Rachel will be leading a Zoom Christingle service on Sunday 20 December at 4.00pm. Please contact Rachel for more details.
Moving into January, we will carry on monitoring the pandemic situation but, as we are unable to gather all together on a Sunday morning because of restrictive numbers, our on line worship at 10:30 will continue. In addition to this, we are exploring possibilities for small group worship in Church, including a Covenant service on a Sunday afternoon.
Please note we MUST follow all the current guidelines for worship, which includes 2 meter social distancing. Face coverings must be worn at all times inside and there cannot be any interaction with anyone outside your household or support bubble. This does mean face to face worship has a very different feel.
Please see below a short questionnaire. It would be very helpful if you could complete this and return it to Marion Heron.
Telephone: 07967 729965
Marion is also taking bookings for our online Christmas services.
We have come this far and we continue in faith with the knowledge that “The best of all God is with us” and, with that knowledge, we can still say – Happy Christmas!
Bookings for In Church
Tuesday 15th December
Christmas carols and readings - I would like to book …. places
Sunday 20th December
Christmas Carols and readings – I would like to book ….places
Until we are able to meet in Church without restrictions I would like to:
Attend a midweek Tuesday morning service (as we started to do before the 2nd lockdown)
Attend a midweek evening service
Attend a service on a Sunday afternoon
I would not wish to attend a service until all restrictions are lifted