Vicar's update 19th MarchSteve Newbold1

The Church Leadership Team have now met to consider a range of ways in which we can support each other over the coming weeks when we are not able to meet together.  We will have to explore new and different ways in which we can be church together.  So:

  • As already advised our usual services are suspended, in line with Church of England guidance.  
  • However, St Stephen’s will be open this Mothering Sunday morning from 9am – 11am for anyone who wishes to drop in and pray individually to do so – the Church seating has been reduced so that we can maintain a safe distance from others. 
  • Churches across the land are being encouraged to use Sunday as a day of prayer for this nation – can we all join in by praying and lighting a candle at home at 7pm?
  • At  11am on Sunday we will broadcast a short (15min max) service on Facebook Live.  If you are not on Facebook do consider joining for this season so that you can keep informed.  You will also need to join the St Stephen’s Group page so that you can join with us.
  • From Monday 23rd March the Church will be open each weekday from 9am – 11am for people to pop in to pray individually and/or to leave items for the Ealing Foodbank which are so desperately needed.  To be open we need volunteers from younger adults to be present on a rota for an hour or so –  if you can help please let me know.
  • From next week we are going to issue a daily Thought for the Day written by a different member of the Leadership Team (we will be emailing those of you who have not signed up to receive my emails to ask if you want to receive these).
  • Chris Willis is developing a way in which our youth can remain connected for online Youth Sessions.
  • Morgen Edwards to developing some resources for families so that children continue to enjoy Bible teaching and prayer
  • In due course we will circulate other resources and links that may be helpful. 
  • We are conscious that supporting one another is going to be increasingly important in the weeks and months ahead and we want to ensure that nobody is left feeling isolated and lonely. This will require all of us using our phones, tablets and emails to be in touch with each other, especially those who are single, older and most vulnerable.

Thank you to all who have already volunteered to help support others with things such as shopping – it’s not too late to let me know if you can help with this and going forward many of us may need help ourselves if we and our households have to self-isolate for 14 days or more.

  • If you are in a Connect Group, your Connect Group Leaders will be the first point of contact should you need support.  Many groups have systems in place to connect with and support each other.
  • If you are not in a Connect Group, the Pastoral Care Team and other volunteers will try to in the first instance.  Contact one of the clergy in the first instance.
  • The task ahead cannot be managed by a few keen volunteers and so we ask all of us to look out for one another – do text or call just to check that people are OK.
  • As well as caring for on another, please look out for your neighbours and if you are healthy, can you offer to do shopping for them? You could even share an online shopping slot or call someone for a chat, perhaps pray with them over the phone line. 
  • Of course you must also look after yourself. Anybody who is unwell needs to self-isolate, as we know, and anyone with a weakened immune system needs to take extra care. 
  • Please remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds regularly and when leaving and arriving back home. The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested that all Christians practice praying the Lord's Prayer as we wash our hands and offer the concerns of this nation and the world into the Lord' hands. 

Finally, as you might expect, the church office is now operating on reduced hours as most of our staff and volunteers are working remotely as far as possible. However, you can still contact us via the website, email or by phone. We will be checking messages regularly.

Let's pray each day for the wisdom to support and care for each other.

With love,