Photo credit: David Bird

Introduction:

This is Update Number Two (17/03/2020) regarding our response across Wanstead Parish to the Covid19 virus.

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.

 

Worship:

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today (17/03/2020) issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice.

In Wanstead Parish, this includes: The Bridge, Signpost, Little Angels, all services of the Word (including the Daily Office, Compline and Stations of The Cross), all Eucharistic Services (including all Thursday and Sunday services), Services of Thanksgiving and Baptisms, the weekly Prayer Group and the MMU Retreat.

Weddings and Funerals will continue but with different arrangements being put in place.

It is too soon to comment on plans for our services for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter and arrangements for the APCM. These will be updated nearer the time. Plans for the revision of our Electoral Roll will continue as advertised.

The ministry team are looking into a range of other electronic resources for worship for all ages and life stages.

Prayer:

Prayers will continue to be said each day by the ministry team on behalf of everyone.  All parishioners are encouraged to use the prayer resources of the Church of England each day:

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer

We also have a range of spiritual resources available for those who do not have access to the Internet. Please contact the Rector on 07960 512 433 for more information.

The archbishops have joined other church leaders in calling for a day of prayer and action this Sunday – Mothering Sunday – particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services.  They write:

“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”

See:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/17%2003%2020%20Joint%20letter%20from%20the%20Archbishops%20of%20Canterbury%20and%20York%20re%20coronavirus.pdf


Ministries and Activities
:

All of our different ministries, activities, classes and meetings such as the Bereavement Café, First Communion Classes, Confirmation Classes and all Committee meetings are also suspended with immediate effect with the exception, until further notice, of:

The Homeless Shelter on Tuesday evenings

Church Opening (currently on Saturdays but soon to be expanded)

Our Gardening Groups on Saturdays

Food Bank donations


The Parish Office:

The Parish Office is now closed but electronic and telephone messages will continue to be picked up fromTuesdays to Fridays in term time. Arrangements outside of term time will be updated nearer the time.

Church Opening:

We are currently working to ensure that our Church buildings can be open to members of the public during the week for private prayer.

To do this effectively, we do need to ask for some assistance from our parishioners.  If you can spare an hour or two each week at the same time, for example, from Monday from 11 am to 1 pm, and you are fit and healthy and not required to self-isolate at this time, then please do get in contact with the Parish Office with your very generous offer of help, as soon as possible.

Pastoral Care:

We have assembled a dedicated Pastoral Care Team who are available to help support those who are ill or self -isolating in appropriate ways. Please do contact the Parish Office if you would like support or help.

For last rites, ministry around the time of death and any guidance on drawing up funeral plans, please contact the Rector in the first instance on 07960 512 433 or jackdunn@hotmail.com The Rector is also able to keep any funeral plans securely on file in the Parish Office.

Governance:

The Ministry team have put together a Contingency Plan for the Parish which has now been approved by the PCC so that we know who is responsible for each part of parish life and who takes over in the event of illness. This plan is made up of a detailed document that covers the areas of infrastructure, communication, worship, pastoral care, community activity and finance.

Halls:

For the time being, our Halls continue to be open although this is reviewed daily. For more information please contact our Hall Bookings Manager, Lauren Johnson on parishhallwanstead@uwclub.net


Community Information
:

Please do continue to give to Redbridge FoodBank. Donations can be left at Christ Church in the porch and in St Mary’s on Saturdays.

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.

Any support for our Refugee Welcome Project would also be very welcome:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/wanstead


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 will soon be significantly reduced due to the suspension of public worship and yet our outgoings remain highly static. Giving Forms are available from both churches.

Communications:

We will communicate to parishioners via our weekly Parish Email sent on Friday mornings, through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), through our Parish website and through paper notices on our church doors and noticeboards.

More information:

The Standing Committee and the 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:

And from the NHS 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).

We are very blessed in having such strong support from our dedicated Staff Team, Volunteers, Church Wardens, PCC and Congregations.

 

Revd Dr Jack Dunn, Rector, Wanstead Parish

17th March, 2020

 

Prayer:

A prayer for St. Patrick:

Almighty God,

who in your providence chose your servant Patrick

to be the apostle of the Irish people:

keep alive in us the fire of the faith he kindled

and strengthen us in our pilgrimage

towards the light of everlasting life;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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.