Church events - update 24 March 2020
We are really sorry, but the church building has now had to be shut. We are still praying for you all, and God is still with you.
Some church services are going online. Check them out here. All other church groups are shut. Our pastoral care team is still operating, and making calls.
If you need any help and have no other sources of help, please get in touch here and we will be pleased to do what we can within current limitations.
Church events - update 17 March 2020
In order to protect the church community from Coronavirus and to make the best contribution we can to the widespread communal effort to reduce its spread we have decided to shut down all church and church sanctioned group activities. This applies whether those activities are due to take place in the church itself or in the Johnson Hall or Verger's Cottage, or in the homes of church members.
In addition the Johnson Hall is shut for all activities including those run by community groups or commercial suppliers.
This decision has immediate effect and will last at least until the end of April. We anticipate having to extend it considerably.
The church will remain open as a place for prayer and quiet reflection. The church will be offering both pastoral and spiritual support in various ways which will be put in place as quickly as possible over the next few days and weeks.
This means that all of the following are cancelled:
all our normal Sunday services
Lent groups and activities including the Tuesday evening Lent prayer course, Lent lunch and weekly Complines
Cox's Close Communion on 1 April
the church monthly prayer meeting on 6 April
choir rehearsals, SingPlus, and bell ringers and hand bell ringers practices
all youth groups
all children's groups
all Palm Sunday services and events, including the evening concert
the PCC meeting scheduled for 26 March and the church annual meetings scheduled for 27 April - I will email again about these
all services and activities scheduled for Holy Week
all services on Easter Day including the Magog Down serviceI am devastated that we have had to take this step, and I recognise that this will come as a severe blow to many.
We looked carefully at a number of ways of keeping activities open, but concluded that there were none that we could safely and responsibly allow to continue. We will however continue to support you as best we can. We are really touched and grateful for the offers of help we have already had, and we will be following up on them all.
We will be taking funerals over the coming weeks. Whether they take place in church, at the graveside or in the crematorium, it is important to ensure that they do not become an occasion for the transmission of infection. Those who can attend will therefore be strictly limited to closest loved ones, and hygiene precautions will be taken. Please talk to the undertakers and to the minister who is conducting the funeral to work out the details.
Help for the community
If you have to self-isolate you are likely to need help with food, other supplies or someone to phone and check you are ok. We encourage everyone to take action now to form triplets (or bigger groups) with other households - local family, friends or neighbours - so that you will have someone to rely on if you have to self-isolate.
If you don't know your neighbours, you might want to use the form that you can download here to make friendly contact. Just wash your hands, print it, fill it in, and deliver it to a neighbour!
If you live in Stapleford and are self-isolating or ill and need help with supplies of food or medicine, or just someone to talk to, we at St Andrew's would like to help if we can. We do have limited capacity, so if there is a family member, friend or neighbour you can ask, please do - but if not, please get in touch here and we will help if we can. Your request will be passed on urgently and a member of our pastoral care team will get in touch.
Church of England guidance and instructions on which we are basing our approach in church are here.
Our earlier practice notes are here:
Initial guidance 4.3.20
First update 8.3.20
Second update 11.3.20
Third update 13.3.20