A very warm welcome to this service, wherever you are worshipping in the Langtree Team churches today.
A special welcome to Archie Freeman, who is being baptised at Checkendon this morning. It is great to celebrate God’s gift to us of new life, and the faith that we share. Our hearty congratulations to Archie’s parents, James and Annabel.
Team Service 29th March 4pm
A reminder for your diary: Our next Team Service is on Sunday March 29th, at St John’s Whitchurch Hill, at 4pm. We are welcoming Bishop Colin for a special songs of praise, and I will be interviewing the Bishop as he shares something of his twenty years of ministry in this Diocese. Please do make a special effort to come to this service, as it will very likely be Bishop Colin’s final visit to us before his retirement later in the year. High Tea will be served afterwards in the Parish Hall across the road.
With the continuing spread of the coronavirus in the Reading area the staff team and I have decided that there are further steps that we can take to care for and protect one another in our worshipping together, irrespective of any containment actions implemented by the civic authorities. What follows applies to all our worship services, across the Team, until further notice.
These steps are: (i) The immediate suspension of the sharing of the peace in worship by hugging, shaking hands or kissing. We can share the peace in other ways – waving, saying “peace be with you”, or using British Sign Language.
(ii) The immediate suspension of sharing the wine at communion. Only the minister will receive the wine, on behalf of everyone. The bread will still be shared, and the minister will use hand gel before the prayer of consecration.
(iii) You are asked to ensure that all those serving any kind of refreshments have thoroughly washed their hands with soap and water beforehand and that mugs are either disposable or ideally dishwashable. For the moment the decision about whether to serve refreshments is an open one, and can be made locally.
Do let your minister know if you become aware of anyone in your community who is being required to self-isolate. This as we have seen can bring with it added complications not just around the logistics of daily life, but also in terms of mental health and wellbeing. For the moment, please assume that worship services and Lent groups will continue as normal, however in a fast moving situation things can change and your wardens and staff team members will try to keep you abreast of any new developments. Do call or email any of us if you have any questions.
Let us pray for God’s help, and the light of faith, to guide and guard our churches through this present crisis. “He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him” (Ps 18:30)
Your Rector, and servant for Christ’s sake. Kevin Davies