Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)

14th

October

2020

18th

October

2020


May

2020

September

23rd

2020

A letter from Jonathan

Streamed Services

Our recent Sunday Morning Worship Service for viewing at home is available from Sunday 18th October at 11.00. You can watch on our YouTube channel by clicking the link below after that time.

Dear Church Family

The terrible car accident on the A40 in Oxfordshire last Monday evening is just heartbreaking. A mother and three of her four children were killed. Her husband, Josh, and their youngest child, Penny, are critically injured in hospital. Earlier in the year, the family had a near escape in the middle of the night, when their whole house burnt down losing everything. This family are Christians. They are known to Nick and Helen’s daughter Jasmine. Josh’s parents, Sue and Kevin, are members of the same church as Jasmine and Michal. 

Suddenly, the ancient horror of Job feels terrifyingly real and present. Can anything we have learned from Job help us as we feel our stomach turn, our heart ache and our emotions rise? 

The spiritual battle is real and raging but Satan has not won. This mother and her three beautiful children are safe with Jesus because, as a family, they trusted in Him. Let’s pray for Josh and Penny, Sue and Kevin and the wider family that they will know complete protection in the spiritual battle. Lord have mercy. 

Job’s friends were at their most helpful when they sat with him in silence for when they spoke their words were misguided. Their words were misguided because they did not know God. As those who do know God as loving Father, as Saviour and healing Spirit, make time to sit quietly and lift up Josh and Penny to the Lord in prayer for comfort and healing. Christ have mercy. 

If we are tempted to look for answers to the questions such tragedy raises, Job shows us that there is only one place to turn, to God Himself. Pray the promise of Romans 8, that nothing will separate Josh and Penny, or any of the family, from the Love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Lord have mercy. 

Josh and Penny, Kevin and Sue and no doubt other members of the family are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We grieve with them as family and pray for them in their terrible suffering. Let’s also pray for one another as this tragedy reminds us of loss and tragedy in our own lives.

Love in Christ

Jonathan 

Benefice Updates

Supporting our fellowship

We are keeping a list of those who are self-isolating, along with any particular pastoral or practical needs so that we can arrange appropriate help. Morag Brown is co-ordinating this. Please let her know of any needs or changes to need as they arise.

Keeping us praying

Praying together as a family is vital. We will be sending out a weekly list of prayer needs for the whole church family and our community. Do try to set aside a time each day to pray - many of us are pausing at 8 in the mornings and evenings to do this, and knowing that others are too at the times is encouraging.

Returning to Sunday services at St Peter and St Paul’s

This Sunday we will gather from 10:30 to watch the live-streamed service projected on the big screens. Afterwards there will be a short said service of Holy Communion ‘in one kind only’ that is, only wafers will be distributed. Our top priority is safety so things will be rather different from what we are used to. While we have put in place recommended hygiene and distancing practices, it is very important that you make an informed decision about when to return to services, taking into account any health issues and risk factors which apply to you or your family. For any who can’t attend, we’ll continue to stream services online so there is no pressure to return before you feel ready to do so. 


Arriving

  • Doors will open at 10:30 so to avoid long queues please don’t arrive before then! It might take a little while for us to get everyone in safely, so thank you for your patience.
  • In line with government guidelines, we will be displaying the official NHS QR code poster in church and in Peter Street Rooms. If you have downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app, please scan the QR code as you enter the buildings.
  • Parking, as always, is very limited. Please park in the public carparks unless there are mobility issues that would make this very difficult.
  • You’ll need to stay with your household as you come in and for the duration of the service and to stay two metres away from other groups
  • You’ll need to have your own face covering, ready to wear whilst you’re with us - and take home with you after the service
  • We’ll ask everyone to use the hand sanitisers provided as they enter the buildings, and before they receive the bread at Communion.
  • A one-way system will be in place in the church so please follow the instructions of the welcome team as they show you where your group should sit.
  • There will be youth and children’s meetings for ages 5 and up. Parents need to take their children to Peter Street Rooms at approx. 10.45am and collect from there after communion.

During the service

  • Please do not shake hands, high 5 or hug anyone - the Shepton wave is the new way of greeting each other!
  • We will not be able to sing out loud, but will worship together whilst listening to the live or pre-recorded music.
  • Please bring your own bible and notebook etc
  • Please bring a drink if you need one as we will not be providing refreshments.
  • The Peter Street Rooms ground floor accessible toilet will be open, but best just use in an emergency to be on the safe side.
  • Children will have their own groups in Peter Street Rooms. Any children attending church will need to remain seated with their household throughout the service. We appreciate this is difficult and apologise for the challenge!
  • The collection will be not be taken during the service - there will be a collection basket at the door if people wish to make an offering as they leave.
  • There won’t be a paper service/notice sheet - please ensure that you can see one of the screens.
  • After the pre-recorded streamed service, we will have a simple said service of Holy Communion where, if you wish, you may go forward to receive the bread, or a blessing from Tony or Jonathan, who will be standing at the front of each side aisle. Please sanitise your hands before just before receiving the bread. There will be ushers to guide you through this. 

Departing

  • Please do not shake hands or hug anyone as you leave! 
  • Please leave through the North Door, respecting the 2 metre distancing as you do so.
  • Feel free to feedback any comments. We’d love to make the experience of being together as good as possible while being as safe as possible. 


If you or any of your household: 

  • feel unwell
  • show or have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 (or have been in close contact with someone who has) within the last 14 days
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (or been in close contact with someone who has) within the last 14 days
  • have been asked to self-isolate under the NHS Test and Trace scheme or have returned from a country outside of the UK government exemption list in the last 14 days, we would kindly ask you to please stay at home and join us online instead