Vicar's update 1st JuneSteve Newbold1

I hope you have had a good weekend and enjoyed our quiz night on Friday, and our Pentecost worship. If you missed the service you can catch up from the link on the Church website.
Prayer and activities coming up 

  • Prayer underpins all that we do, and from this week we are introducing a weekly service of Morning Prayer on Tuesdays at 9am using Zoom. 
  • On Tuesday evening we have our monthly informal Prayer Meeting at 8pm also on Zoom.              
For both of these all are welcome but for the sake of security please email me for the Zoom details.
  • On Wednesday at there is 9pm Night Prayer at end of our weekly day of prayer and fasting this will be on our Facebook page as usual.  The new liturgy for the coming weeks is attached
  • Next Sunday (7th June), being the first Sunday of the month, we will have Holy Communion at 9am on our Facebook page.  The liturgy is attached and you are welcome to share in bread and wine/juice at home.  
  • Our whole church service St Stephen’s Online is as usual at 11am as usual and this week will have an all age feel.  Following on from Pentecost, we will be beginning a new sermon series looking at the Fruits of the Spirit.  The service is followed by a Zoom Café catch up and coffee.  The zoom details are the same as for previous weeks - if you can’t find them let me know and I email them to you again. 
  • Also, on Tuesday 2nd June at 11am we have Shining Stars Online on our Facebook page. 
Fairtrade Goods
We have a good range of Traidcraft goods stored in church, and as lock-down rules begin to ease, it will now be possible to sell to anyone wanting to order rice, pasta, honey, olive oil, dates, nuts and snacks, peanut butter, jam, chutney and lots of chocolate goods. Please call Sue Charlton on 8997 8236 at any time for information or to order and arrange home delivery.

Moving out of Lockdown
As the country begins to move out of the full lockdown into new phase of life, the Church Council and the Leadership Team have been thinking about how we might reopen St Stephen’s for worship.  Inevitably, services will look and feel very different to what we have been used to. 
The Government have indicated that the earliest that we will be able to hold services will be from early July but then only with strict social distancing and hygiene conditions; we will need to limit numbers attending at any one time and restrict movement around the building and the number of toilets that can be used.  Chairs will be separated, we are unlikely to able to sing, share in Holy Communion, serve refreshments, have youth and children’s groups etc. 
The Leadership Team have decided that we should move carefully and slowly and when we are allowed to reopen will at first hold just a single 9am Sunday Service for limited numbers.  How we manage this is yet to be decided.  We will continue to have our ‘main’ whole church service at 11am online as now.  All other groups and meetings will also continue to take place online.  This interim pattern will remain in place over the summer and we will review it as we move into September when we hope to restart a more usual Sunday morning programme, albeit with some restrictions on what we can do.
I realise that the coming season may well seem even less certain that than that of the past few months but we need to balance what we are allowed to do with the personal safety of all those who come into the building.  We will let you have more details when we are able but in the meantime I am happy to talk to you direct about our emerging plans.
Take care, keep well and have a good week