This is Update Number Three (23/03/2020) 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.
In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Bishop of Chelmsford in partnership with Bishops in other Dioceses has requested that as of 6pm on Sunday 22 March 2020 ALL CHURCHES ARE NOW CLOSED in Chelmsford Diocese until further notice.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals may continue but with different arrangements being put in place. Please contact the Parish Office via email or telephone or the Rector on 07960 512 433 for more information.
The forthcoming Confirmation Service and the First Communion Service have also been suspended until further notice.
On Wednesday 25 March, the Feast Day of the Annunciation Of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 12 noon we will be live-streaming a short service of Prayer led by Canon Ann which will be offered thereafter until further notice at 12 noon each day.
This is available at: www.facebook.com/wansteadparish
We will provide more information about live streaming other services soon.
Please see the Weekly Parish email (as sent out each Friday) for a homily, intercessions, hymns and organ music and activities for children and young people.
Father Tom and Becca will be contacting members of The Bridge and SignPost later this week with news about the future direction of these meetings.
Prayers will also continue to be said each day by the ministry team on behalf of everyone and the Rector will continue to celebrate the Eucharist in both of our churches following normal patterns as far as possible.
All parishioners are encouraged to use the prayer resources of the Church of England each day:
And also of Wanstead Parish:
Information about Spiritual Communion may be found here:
We also have a range of additional spiritual resources available for those who do not have access to the Internet. Please contact the Rector on 07960 512 433 for more information.
Ministries and Activities:
All of our different ministries, activities, classes and meetings such as the Bereavement Café, First Communion Classes, Confirmation Classes, all Committee meetings, Retreats (including to Douai and to Pleshey), Church volunteer led cleaning, gardening, flower arranging, Maundy Thursday vigil etc. are also suspended with immediate effect with the exception, until further notice, of:
- The Homeless Shelter which will meet for the last time on Tuesday 24 March. Thereafter the Mayor of London will be accommodating the homeless.
- Food Bank donations – please continue to drop off much needed donations for Redbridge Food Bank in the entrance way at Christ Church throughout the week and on Saturday mornings under the portico at St Mary’s. Information about how to make a financial donation to the Food Bank may be found here. Information about what is currently needed at the Food Bank may be found here:
- Weekly Intercessions, which should be emailed to Canon Ann by Thursday morning.
The Parish Office:
The Parish Office is now closed but electronic and telephone messages will continue to be picked up until further notice. There may be a delay in responding to telephone messages. The Parish office email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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 or the Rector if you would like support or help.
Please also contact the Parish Office if you would like to be put in touch with a member of our congregations and do not have their contact details. We may be able to contact them on your behalf and gain their consent to share their contact details.
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 email@example.com. The Rector is also able to keep any funeral plans securely on file in the Parish Office.
Death is a natural part of life and it is good for all of us to think about this and to plan for it. Surviving relatives can also be enormously grateful for any plans that their lost loved ones have already kindly put in place.
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. The Standing Committee and PCC is continuing to operate effectively with decisions being taken electronically and meetings taking place online.
Our Halls are now closed except in exceptional circumstances. For more information please contact our Hall Bookings Manager, Lauren Johnson on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please 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.
The Parish has recently taken steps to minimise all but necessary expenditure while our services are not running. However, we do have significant fixed expenses to cover and if you would like to support the Parish at this time, we are grateful to accept donations to help us meet our financial obligations. Donations can be made by:
- Bank transfer to HSBC A/N: 91115316, Sort Code: 40-07-18. Please complete the attached Gift Aid form if you are eligible and send to David Ranger, our Planned Giving coordinator, by email via the Parish Office email email@example.com
- Online at https://pay.churchdesk.com/-fK0f9VBm
Any support for our Refugee Welcome Project would also be very welcome: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/wanstead
APCM and Electoral Roll Revision:
More information will be shared as soon as it has been received from the Diocese.
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.
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
23rd March, 2020
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:
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:
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.
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.