On this page we reproduce the latest message to our Parish from our Licensed Reader, Janice Taylor, as well as the intial message from our late Vicar, Rev Pauline Lucas, on 'being Church' in our Parish during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Latest message from Janice - Wednesday 27th May 2020
WARNING -This is a fairly long (& different) message but it's not just me rambling so please do READ it all if you can. It's well worth the time it will take...J x
So.... I hope everyone is keeping well. It's been a funny old week as far as I'm concerned...a weird bank holiday Monday....media news stories that drive you mad depending on which way you look at them...and so on.. But we are all still here and God is always with us, still loving us...whether we're loving him back, thanking him, angry with him, ignoring him or spending more time intentionally in his presence. God is with us.
My own words will be fairly brief this week as I want to include words from two members of our church family who I've asked to write a little about what they've been up to. They have kindly emailed me in reply so I'll be cutting and pasting! Before I move onto their words though I do hope that some of you have been making use of the Thy Kingdom Come resources.* I'd really love to hear from you about it if you have. I've been dipping into some of the morning and night prayer services and really appreciated the music and being able to join in responses. Two of you have already told me how much you have appreciated the Novena. I know Art is not everybody's cup of tea but much can be gained from gazing at a painting. It's also good to get out of your comfort zone when it comes to praying - doing prayer differently and asking the Holy Spirit to show you something new...
Well, whether you're into Art or not, I do know that all of us are sad that we can't get into our church buildings so I thought I'd remind you of a copy of a painting that hangs in our church in Kirdford. Not surprisingly, as our church is St John the Baptist, the painting features him. Any ideas?? You'll have seen it every Sunday you've been in church - close above where Stephen stands to play his guitar. It's Piero Della Francesca's 'Baptism of Christ'. Allan sent me a link to a 30 minute talk at the National Gallery on this painting so I've included it at the end for you to watch if you're interested. Even if you don't have time to watch it all you might like to sneak a peep to remind yourself of what the painting looks like - and imagine yourself back in church!
And so now onto what others have been up to as promised....Some of you, but not all, are aware of the antics around the parish of Susan Weston's Sewing Sisters and Hannah Miller's Gardening Gallops...so this is where we all find out what's been going on....
Hannah has raised a staggering amount of money for the church, inspired by and in memory of Pauline but let her tell you in her own words...
Hannah - 'As many of you know even during the current crisis Pauline was on the front line and leading the effort to support the vulnerable in our parish with meals among other things. The last time I saw her and spoke to her was the Monday before when she was outside the village hall. I really wanted to give something back to our parish in her memory, I felt inspired by her efforts to make a difference. I had and continue to be very busy in my small garden making raised planters so Seren and I could grow vegetables and I also turned the very small front 'garden' into a raised vegetable bed (you are very welcome to come and see it I'm at 23 New Barn, Kirdford!). It came about that a few people wanted compost for their gardens and I had been contemplating getting a pallet of it as I needed so much myself and then selling and distributing it for people self isolating. So I started a community compost order. I worked with Aylings Garden Centre in Midhurst as Joe one of the owners lives in the village. It started with compost, but it grew to include other things from fertiliser to geraniums to seeds.
I ended up getting orders from 109 households spending £4,500! Aylings Garden Centre gave me a trade card and so I received between 5-35% off the recommended retail price and they gave me quite a few things free too. Everyone paid the RRP of the item and the proceeds have formed part of the fundraising. People also made cash donations when they heard what I was doing and I also gave people the opportunity to buy a 'kindness of strangers' bag of compost which means someone who can't afford it at the moment could have one for free. Some families from our food bank received some of these and others people could ask for without giving a reason but meant they could get their vegetable seedlings and get our in their gardens.
I have sold about 300+ bags of compost and had 6 deliveries mostly on a large trailer, they even had to bring the telehandler down from Joe's farm to the village hall to take the pallets off. We had quite a few volunteer 'wheelbarrow warriors' they were nicknamed taking the compost and plants around the parish or people collected at an allocated time slot from the village hall or from my house. I shouldn't have been surprised it went very smoothly.
We have raised £1,221.01 so far from this which I have now sent to Kirdford PCC. I had planned to give it to the church and to other local causes too but the Parish Council agreed it should all go to our Church and the legacy Pauline has left. One of the projects it might help fund is the work to update the facilities at Holy Trinity Church in Plaistow...'
Me (Janice) again... What an amazing achievement and the money she's raised for the church is not the only money she's raised. More in due course...
So what about the sewing sisters? Here's Susan in her own words..
Susan.....'A little update for you about our scrub making. We began as a little group of five from Kirdford, Plaistow and Ifold, all wanting to do something small to help during this strange time. We soon discovered that we were going to be very busy indeed and put out a request for helpers. our numbers doubled and everyone had plenty of work.
Now, although some have had to stop and go back to 'real' work, the originals are still working their fingers to the bone, we have had an overlocker donated, and have just been asked to make more even scrubs for Petworth Cottage Hospital. We have been very fortunate to be able to provide for Cedar Court in Cranleigh, Petworth, as I have already mentioned, Loxwood Surgery, Haslemere Care Home, Horsham Hospital and also the Royal Surrey. This means we are giving to those who have helped us or our friends, so do look out for our scrubs if you visit any of these places. We have had generous donations of duvet covers, sheets from our neighbours, and also new material from Billingshurst Scrubbers. I seem to spend my time collecting finished scrubs, hats and bags and then delivering more material out to my little gang, so it's a relief when I can do some sewing as well. We intend to continue for as long as we are needed, and if anyone knows a carer, or anyone else who might need scrubs, our needles are poised, and our scissors are sharp.
This is a nationwide project, made up of local groups reporting to an administrator, it was organised very quickly and efficiently and thousands of scrubs have been made. It is something positive we have been able to do, with the support of so many in the parish, and whether you have prayed for us, donated to us, found us new workers (Carolyn) or even given us marmalade, (thank you Sally), we are part of something which is full of the joy of giving, and the gratitude flows both ways.'
Me (Janice) again... Amazing! Both ventures are truly heart-warming. I hope, though, that nobody is reading this and feeling inadequate. If you are - you can join me! I'm absolutely hopeless at sewing (not to put to fine a point - ouch - upon it, I actually hate sewing!) and I'm also hopeless in the garden. We all have different gifts and abilities and if we're phoning friends, being virtual grandparents, praying for others, giving others the gift of being able to do things for us when we can't do them ourselves - whatever - we are all still together in these difficult times. And this is what being church in lockdown looks like....stitching, gardening, cooking, cleaning, praying, sharing God's love....being and doing church...and we ALL matter to God and to each other.
Finally - I want to leave you with a prayer (written by the Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Vice Dean and Canon for Social Justice at Grace Cathedral)...
who created us for and from love,
in this time of social distancing,
hold us close in your arms.
Comfort those who are afraid,
enliven those who are bored,
give courage to those who are distressed,
and warm those who feel the cold touch of loneliness.
Breathe in, with and through us
as we walk through uncertainty into a new future
knowing that you are with us now and await us there.
In the name of Christ the Beloved we pray.
Lots of love and blessings to you all
PS - YouTube link for painting below - hope it works!
* [Some details of 'Thy Kingdom Come' resources are provided on our home page (click 'Home' in the navigtion bar above). The Diocese's messages, services and prayers for 'Thy Kingdom Come' can be found . Other resources from the Diocese can be found - ed.]
Latest message on 'Being Church' in coronavirus outbreak
This is an edited version of the initial message to the Parish on 17th March 2020 from our late Vicar, Rev Pauline Lucas, who very sadly died suddenly on Good Friday (April 10th).
Being Church in the coronavirus outbreak
Life is certainly looking very different right now, and so is Church!
Most of you will know that all Public Worship has been suspended, and all churches closed, due to the coronavirus. Needless to say, the rota for church duties is not needed at this time, and all activities involving gatherings of people are also suspended.
But we are still Church.
We have a role to play where we can, through prayer, through phoning those isolated at home for a chat, and being good neighbours and running errands if we can.
Jesus taught us to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. And this is what we will do.
We will also be people of Faith not Fear.
We may not be able to gather in body but we can gather in Spirit.
Please stay safe.
Love, prayer and blessings to you all,
IF YOU CAN OFFER HELP. OR NEED HELP, DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, PLEASE CONTACT ONE OF THE CHURCHWARDENS (CLICK "CONTACT" IN THE NAVIGATION BAR ABOVE)