We are entering into a strange time of holiday. The kids are definitely off school and there is no mitigating their delight in that! The tourists are appearing a bit. Many of us are still at work and wondering if we will ever have a "normal" holiday again. But, rest is a wonderful thing and mandated by God.
It is a wonderful thing that God commanded us to rest. It is the fourth commandment, higher up the list than murder or stealing. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work." God wants us to regularly down tools. Take a break, think on what is holy, worship and rest. God rested on the seventh day of creation and human beings are more productive when they have work and rest in a balance
So, whether you are working or resting - have a Happy Summer Holiday. I do hope that you take rest when you can and recuperate with friends and family.
Church in the Garden continues to be livestreamed at 10.00 am. on Facebook for all.
A short benefice services will take place in St Michaels Dalston, each Sunday at 10.45 am.
A Gradual Return
Dear Friends, I had thought that the PM's announcement last week would mean a gradual return to normality in church. However, subsequent rules and guidelines from the government and C of E mean that this return is going to be far more gradual than I thought.
The main relevant restrictions are that we are told to keep 2m apart and we are not supposed to sing. They have also said that no-one should speak loudly and a solo singer would have to stand behind a perspex screen! Also, we are still not allowed to gather outside.
After email consultation with PCC members I have decided that we will return to church but in a more limited way than I expected.
- Church in the Garden will continue! The service will be Livestreamed (with singing!) at 10am.
- At 10.30am I am inviting anyone who would like to to prayerfully process through the village to St Michaels.
- At 10.45am we will ring the bells and enter the church to complete the service with a 10 minute socially distanced communion. If there are too many folk I will ask some to wait for a second sitting! I and you will be the only people who touch or breath on the wafer - I will place it on an individual piece of paper on a table and step back.
We have completed a risk assessment and we will have safe distancing, hand sanitising, a one way system, in-and-out doors, and good ventilation. Over the coming weeks we will see how the situation develops and the restrictions change. I look forward to seeing everyone at the livestream service and as many who can at the church. God bless.
When Will Church Re-open?
I hope you are all well and coping with all that is going on. Church in the Garden will definitely be livestreamed this Sunday 21st June at 10.00 am.
However, as you will have heard, things are beginning to change and we need to prepare for what is going to happen next. The government has allowed churches to re-open for private prayer and funerals, if it is deemed safe to do so. There are indications that churches will be allowed to open for public worship on 5th July. This has now been confirmed and no guidelines have been given.
Many of our members might be unable or concerned about returning too early so I would like to prepare for all eventualities.
As soon as we are allowed to gather for public worship I would like hold an open-air service so that as many as possible from each of our churches can safely gather. This would commemorate our loss but also celebrate being able to gather again.
I am thinking this could be a good thing to invite our broader community and livestream audience to attend.
We cannot yet know what restrictions will be placed on us but in order to try to plan for which churches open and when, I would like as many of our members as possible to take part in a survey (please see below).
Returning to Church Survey
1. Please put your full name
2. I will not come to a church service until September at the earliest: Yes / No
3. I will be coming back to church as soon as it allowed for us to gather for public worship. Please indicate which service that you would regularly attend:
08.00 am. in Dalston
09.30 am. in Dalston
11.00 am.in Raughton Head
11.00 am. in Wreay
4. I would attend a socially distanced open-air service for the whole benefice: Yes / No
5. Church services online will continue to be necessary for me: Yes / No
However, many of our members are not online so I have also written the questions below. If you know of church members who are not online please would you help them to fill in their responses either through the link or by emailing or posting their answers to me.
Love and prayers for you and your families.
Ben Phillips - 070360 99123
The big news for the church this week is that the government has said that where possible we can re-open the church for personal prayer. St Michael's Dalston will be open from 9.00 am.-6.00 pm. from Monday 15th June.
Cumdivock, Ivegill, Raugthon Head and Wreay are going to hold off opening the doors for a while.
Gathering for public worship is still not allowed so Church in the Garden will continue. If you turn on Radio Cumbria on Sunday morning you might hear me offering the Thought for the Day.
It is possible that the the government will allow public worship from 4th July. I am looking into the logistics of an outdoor service for Dalston and surrounding area so that as many as possible of us can gather, whilst maintaining social distancing.
Read on for more details and a reflection from Sheryl Haw.
Personal prayer in St Michaels
If anyone can volunteer to go on a rota to regularly sanitise the church (spray and wipe down key touch points) please do let me or Helen know.
- Vestry + toilet will be kept locked until we can make them safe
- Some lighting will be left on
- We will have an in door and an out door
- Hand sanitiser, spray and disposable tissue will be available
- All books and leaflets will be removed
- Do not enter if you are shielding or feeling unwell
- Do use the hand sanitiser
- Stay 2 metres apart
- Only allow 1 person in porch at anytime
- Touch as little as possible
- Don't have more than 10 people in the building
- Bring your own bibles
- We will have a one way system - Please walk down centre aisle and out using side aisles
Reflection from Sheryl Haw, Hospital Chaplain and member of St Mary's, Wreay
Where is Your God of Love?
Have you ever been asked this question in the midst of a crisis? I remember the first time I was asked this question. It was back in 1995 when I was working in South Sudan. It was 3.00 am. in the morning and I had been called to a medical emergency at the clinic. A lady in obstructed laboured had been carried for 48 hours to get her to us and she was in terrible pain! Sadly, I heard no heartbeat for the little one and realised we would also now be struggling to save the mom’s life. A visiting doctor from another aid organisation came to assist me. She knew I was a Christian and we had had some chats during her time in South Sudan. Together we worked to save the mom, fighting off the determined mosquitoes and the extraordinary heat. At last we managed to get the baby’s body delivered, and we wept with the mom as she realised her loss after so many hours of struggle. The doctor with me suddenly picked up the baby’s body and pushed it emotionally into my face and said angrily “so, show me your God of love now, where is he now?!!”
After a pause, and through tears, I replied: “He is right her now caring for this mom through you and I; He is on cross bearing the pain of this loss of life; He is right here now helping us to grieve with this family, walking with them in their pain and being ready to help others.”
I have been asked this question over the years and even now as we face this terrible pandemic – where is our God of love. I see the question on the faces of patients, relatives and staff at the hospital where I work as a chaplain. The answer remains the same, he is right here amongst you as we serve and care for one another, as we help each other grieve; he is on the Cross breaking the power of death, bearing our pain and suffering and promising a new Kingdom where every tear will be wiped away.
I know that many of us have been missing communion and I think I have found a way for us to share communion in a way which is both safe and complies with all guidelines and rules.
1. We can share in the communion prayers through the livestream service at 10am.
2. For those who can leave their houses, I will place a table at my garden gate for you to walk or drive to. Please don't all come at once! As each person or household approaches the table I will place bread with a drip of wine on for you to collect. We will not touch or come within 2 metres of each other and the only person who will have touched (or breathed on!) each piece of bread will be me and yourself.
3. If anyone in the benefice lives too far away or cannot leave their house I will arrange delivery of communion in sealed sandwich bag.
So that I can prepare the correct amount of bread please send me an email letting me know if you will be coming to receive at the table, if you would like a delivery or if you would be able to deliver to others.
I know this might seem like a huge palaver but it is important to me. If you would prefer to receive communion spiritually then please just join in with the prayers online. For those of us who are able to travel that journey could be part of your communion if we do it in the right spirit. I recognise that we are not allowed to congregate so I am not encouraging a gathering but if we can travel for exercise and groceries then we must be able to collect communion.
How would you like livestream service sheets?
Each week I have prepared service sheets on a Jpeg, for opening on the screen and pasted in Facebook post for pre-printing. I am happy to keep doing this but I have not really been able to work out if anyone is using these. Please let me know if you are using the Jpeg, pasted or copy or would prefer the words to be emailed to you.
Rogation Prayer Pilgrimage
Thank you to everyone who supported my Rogation Prayer Pilgrimage last week. I had thought it might just be me but many people turned out either to greet or walk with me and it turned out be quite a jolly day. I definitely think that we can expand on this in future years.
It was spiritual, prayerful, joyful and then turned into an endurance test as I'm not as fit as I should be! It was also nice that it got onto Radio Cumbria, you can listen to it from from 3:19:30 - 3:27:15 by clicking here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08cdjfn?fbclid=IwAR21m2VSiS5kl3mgtvMcHKiQG47dSZCTl0K0DQbhBZmqWWWNkLbuISS-2I0 . There will be an article in the Cumberland News on Friday. However, the point was to bless the farmers, fields and all those who work to provide for us. I hope we will continue to proclaim God's love, call out for justice and bless those who are working and suffering.
Let's worship together
Church in the garden will continue as a Livestream on Facebook at 10am each Sunday during Lockdown. These can be watched live by sending Ben Phillips a friend request or on repeat at Dalston with Cumdivock, Raughton Head and Wreay. So far, these have felt quite joyous and hopeful. If you know someone offline that would like to take part why not take a phone or ipad round to their garden.
Foodbank Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Foodbank in the Co-Op. We have had a lot of contributions. Helen has offered to host another collection point for those who cannot go to the Co-op. Whilst the restrictions are in place she and Colin will leave a box in the porch of 12 Station Rd and empty it every night. They will keep the porch door open from 9am to 9pm so no handles need to be touched.
Zoom Coffee Mornings Helen Banks has offered to organise one of these, if you would like to get in touch with others please send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . It maybe that the people that would like this most won't have the technology to make it work, so if you know someone you could help please let them know.
Dalston Methodist Chapel are running a regular Zoom Circuit Prayer Meeting on Wednesdays, 6:00 PM. https://us04web.zoom.us/j/79171221430 Meeting ID: 791 7122 1430 . Everyone is welcome to join.
Dalston Cemetery The Parish Council were told to shut the cemetery for exercise and did so a few weeks ago. The guidance has been updated and the cemetery is now open to those who wish to vist graves of loved ones.
Hospital Card Hosptials will only allow a chaplain to visit you if you have given consent. You may want to print and carry this card in your wallet.
I am concerned that some people may avoid prayers due to cost and the fact that very few people can attend. I have asked the bishop and he has given permission for me to waive fees at my discretion. I will not be charging any fees during lockdown. I can attend the crematorium or the graveside even if no mourners can attend. Where people want this I think the prayers are important, even if no-one is present, and will lend some more dignity in difficult circumstances.
Due to the Data protection rules the church does not have a full list of phone numbers for members. If you know someone who is isolated who would appreciate a call from me, please would you call them, ask them if they would like a call and ask them for permission to give me their number and then email their name and number.
Volunteer Staffing for NHS
If you are able you can volunteer using this link: http://giveadaytothecity.org/how-you-can-help
Meals on Wheels
If you are living alone, elderly or with health issues Dalston has its very own Meals on Wheels. A hot dinner and desert can be delivered to you at lunch time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for only £4.50. Contact Joyce at the Country Kitchen 01228711431.
Sending you all my prayers and blessings, God bless,
Ben Phillips - Tel.: 07936 099123
Sharing the Love of Jesus
Church Services you can tune into
Our Benefice https://www.facebook.com/sharingJesuswithall
Carlisle Cathedral https://www.facebook.com/CarlisleCathedral , https://carlislecathedral.org.uk
BBC Radio Cumbria (95.6 FM)
A virtual church service at 8.00 am. each Sunday will be launched across local radio in England. This will be in the middle of Richard Corrie’s Sunday Breakfast Show, 6.00 am. - 9.00 am.
BBC Radio 4 - Long Wave (198 LW)*
The Daily Service is an Act of worship with a Bible reading, prayer and music.
This is at 9.45 am. each day.
BBC Radio 4 (92 - 95 FM)
Prayer for the Day is a spiritual comment and prayer, to start each day
This is at 5.43 am. each day.
*BBC Radio 4 Long Wave is available as a Radio 4 DAB side channel