This is update #1 (16/03/20)  regarding our response across Wanstead Parish to the Covid-19 virus. Please check our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts @wansteadparish for latest updates.

Our aim in issuing these updates is to reassure parishioners that we are taking every step to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our parishioners.

We continue to follow the advice given by the Church of England nationally and also locally from the Diocese of Chelmsford and also from HM’s Government.

These updates will be issued as necessary with an update being issued at least weekly, on Mondays, until further notice.

Services / Ministries:

Wanstead Parish continues to be a place of welcome and of safety to all who come through our doors.

At present the following weekly services or ministries are running as normal:

Daily Morning Prayer at Christ Church at 9am and Daily Evening Prayer at Christ Church at 6pm

Monday Evening Stations of the Cross at 7pm at Christ Church during Lent

Tuesday Morning Prayer Group at 10am at Christ Church

Tuesday evening Homeless Shelter from 8pm in the parish hall in conjunction with FCENS

Wednesday Evening Compline at 8pm at St Mary’s

Thursday 10.30am Eucharist at Christ Church

Friday Evening Youth Groups (SignPost and The Bridge) in the parish halls at 8pm

Sunday Morning Said Eucharist at 8am at Christ Church

Sunday Morning Family Eucharist at 9am at Christ Church

Sunday Morning Sung Eucharist with Junior Church at 10am at Christ Church

Sunday Morning Sung Eucharist or Sung Morning Prayer at 11.15am at St Mary’s (with the exception of the third Sunday of each month when we meet in Christ Church at 10am)

First Communion Classes

Adult Confirmation Classes

At present the following monthly services are running as normal:

Fourth Sunday of the month Said Youth Eucharist at 5.30pm in Christ Church

All are welcome at all of these services. However, if you are feeling unwell in any way – or even if you have a cold – please do stay at home as this will help us to care for others.

In addition, St Mary’s continues to be open on Saturday mornings to visitors and Christ Church continues to be open to visitors on Saturday afternoons.

Decisions about Holy Week, Easter and the APCM will be made soon and will be updated here.

Specific guidance relating to our Church services:

  • We are regularly disinfecting all door handles and surfaces in our church buildings.
  • We are offering Holy Communion in one kind only to all communicants (i.e., the consecrated host, with the Celebrant alone receiving the wine) at this time. Please be assured: this remains a valid communion.
  • The Holy Communion is offered standing and not at the rail.
  • We have suspended handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of The Peace
  • We have suspended direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’ or prayer ministry.
  • We have moved to a retiring collection at each service rather than passing the plate.
  • All refreshments before or after the service have been suspended.
  • We are asking Parents or Caregivers to sign and date Church Attendance cards as they leave Church services as directed each week
  • Where families are having to self-isolate or are unable to attend Church services because of illness we ask that they send a brief note to the Parish Office so that there is a written record.

We have suspended the following ministries, activities or services for the time being:

  • Bell Ringing
  • Bereavement Cafe
  • Care Home visiting
  • Choral Evensong
  • Committee Meetings (other than the PCC)
  • Engelskirchen Visit
  • Farmer’s Market Stall
  • Healing Services
  • Jazz Vespers
  • Lent Addresses
  • Lent Lunches
  • Little Angels
  • Parish Choir
  • Vocal Masterclass with Alison Wells on Saturday 21 March
  • Youth Voices

Pastoral Care:

We remain deeply committed to caring for our community at this time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, especially for the elderly, the isolated and the vulnerable.

We have a Pastoral Care Team who are willing and able to contact parishioners by telephone or to run errands or get shopping for parishioners as appropriate. To receive help in this way, please get in touch with us via the Parish Office.

Please note: we have been advised to be very careful as regards visiting in person to ensure that we do not spread the virus to people who might already be vulnerable.

We are also able to offer a range of spiritual resources to suit all ages and life stages, as appropriate. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to access these resources.

Community Information:

Please do continue to give to Redbridge FoodBank. Donations are significantly down at this time and those in need are especially vulnerable due to recent stockpiling.

Please also remember to check on the wellbeing of your neighbours and any people who are particularly vulnerable at this time, and please help us to do the same.

Financial Information:

We are encouraging all of our members to keep on giving at this time and especially to consider giving through the Parish Planned Giving Scheme, as our parish income is already down yet our outgoings remain highly static.

Communications:

We will communicate to parishioners via our weekly parish email sent on Friday mornings, through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) throughout the week, through our weekly Parish Pew Sheet available on Thursdays, and through paper notices on our church doors and noticeboards.

Halls:

For information about our Halls and Hall bookings please email our Hall Bookings Manager, Lauren Johnson

More information:

The Standing Committee and PCC of Wanstead Parish will respond quickly and decisively to this rapidly changing situation.

You can find out more from the Government website here

And from the Church of England’s site, here:

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to be in contact if you require further information via email or by telephone on 07960 512 433 (text message is best).

Revd Dr Jack Dunn, Rector, Wanstead Parish

 

Prayer:

Most importantly we, as people of faith, are called to pray for those who are ill and those who care for them; for those whose lives and livelihoods are affected, and for those whose work is to look for solutions, vaccines, and a way through this situation.

We are also called to have hope in the God who loves us, and not to live fearfully or selfishly.

Please pray fervently with us as we seek to serve and love our community, and one another, with wisdom, kindness and care.

A prayer about the Coronavirus outbreak:

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

For those in isolation:

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For those who are ill:

Merciful God,
we entrust to your unfailing and tender care,
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold us safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For hospital staff and medical researchers:

Gracious God,
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for when you can’t get to church:

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care.
Amen.

A prayer for the World:

God of love and hope,
You made the world and care for all creation.
But the world feels strange right now.
The news is full of stories about Coronavirus.
Many people are anxious because of it.
Many people are anxious that they might get ill.
Many people are anxious about their family and friends.
Be with them in their worries and help them to find some peace.
We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists who are working to discover the right medicines to give hope to those who are ill.
Thank you that even in these strange and worrying times, you are with us.
Help us to look for the signs of your goodness and love towards us. Amen.