24th September 2020

Dear Friends

My two weeks holiday in Scotland was a wonderful opportunity for rest and relaxation. Our first week was spent in a cottage on the peninsula, a few miles North of Stranraer at Corsewall Point, as you would expect it was wild and rugged, with amazing views of Elsa Craig and the Island of Arran. The second week was spent on a 3,500 acre estate South West of Dumfries, the countryside could not have been more of a contrast. Utterly breathtaking and completely dark so the night skies were alive with stars. I don’t think I have ever seen the Milky Way so clearly.  What they both had in common was limited, or in respect of the second week, no electronic connectivity. We are so used to carrying our iphones and smart devices with us enjoying the capacity they offer, that it’s sometimes difficult to turn them off. On this holiday there was no option – there wasn’t a signal, a bit scary at first, then I have to say quite liberating. It’s good sometimes to be able to switch the phones off and enjoy the peace, especially welcome at the moment. 

Now however, it’s back to work.

With additional measures introduced this week, and probably more on the way, as a church we are responding as quickly and as flexibly as possible. Please note the new Q codes in church which are used in conjunction with the new NHS App out today will help with contact tracing.

I think our Covid motto has been Slowly and Steadily, this motto remains. Our new 11am family service, which began on Sunday, was a great success, we hope we can continue to develop this. We will be introducing limited music into our 9.30am service in the next couple of weeks. I was hoping to resume the 8am mass, which is currently online, physically, in the next couple of weeks. I’m afraid with the situation at present that is not at all possible. 

I am hoping to resume my weekly presence online in October.

In order to maintain our current level of services and keep the church open we need some more volunteers to help sanitize the church between services and indeed during the week. If anybody would like to volunteer to greet people at either the 9.30am or 11am services on Sunday please talk to me or the wardens.

I have a good idea what we will be able to offer at Christmas and again this will be limited and different, but will require voluntary help and support, please watch this space.

With my prayers and best wishes.

Simon


Dear Friends

I know that many of you enjoy visiting Chiswick House and Grounds. The House is closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, but the grounds have been kept open and beautifully cared for. They are a wonderful resource for us to have in our parish. During the lockdown I spent many happy hours walking round the grounds and observing how the plants had grown and changed from day to day, watching the ducks and geese on the lake, and much more besides.

I’ve just been reading a book called ‘The Way under our Feet; A Spirituality of Walking’ by Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, in which he writes as follows:

‘As we read creation with all our senses and let it resonate through our whole being, we may expect to be changed. …Embodied attentiveness brings a renewed sense of awe into our lives. Awe makes us value things for what they are.’

For me this describes the great benefits of spending time in Chiswick House Grounds. So I just wanted to flag up that there will be an auction, organised by our own Adrian Biddell of Chiswick Auctions, this Saturday to raise funds for Chiswick House, which has lost much income during the lockdown.

https://www.chiswickauctions.co.uk/auction/details/26%20September%202020-chiswick-house-charity-auction/?au=596

With every blessing

Mother Eileen