As you can imagine, I have been having several conversations around the circuit about re-opening our churches. It is not as simple as it sounds. Perhaps the best thing for me to do is share some thoughts from Nantwich, which re-opened last Sunday, and make comparisons with us so you get an idea of where we are up to.
Social distancing has to be observed, which meant we would be unable to accommodate more than 30. Here at Audlem, allowing for social distancing, the maximum is 26, this includes using the gallery and the choir stalls. You will not be able to sit with someone outside your household or "Bubble"
The biggest difference was that we were unable to sing. For Methodists, where hymn singing is so close to the heart of what we are about, that felt very strange. The words of the hymns were projected onto the front wall, and the music played through CD. I encouraged the congregation to sing along quietly to themselves. Face coverings had to be worn unless exempt for medical or other valid reasons.
We weren't able to have refreshments afterwards, and meeting friends for anything other than a quick hello was discouraged, especially indoors. I did say that I would be in the car park for a few minutes afterwards so I could say a brief hello to the congregation, and this sort of worked, but it's not the same as meeting with a hot drink and biscuit.
However strange all this felt, it was good to get back to something that looked even remotely like "Normal". We were able to have hymns (after a fashion) hear God's word and pray.
When we re-open (and we will, we are hopefully looking at a date in November) it will again feel strange, and unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate everyone. However, the more we all play our part now, the sooner we can get back to church looking, sounding and feeling much more familiar.
My thanks must go to those who have done so much work behind the scenes to bring us to this point. More information as it becomes available.
With love in Jesus,
Work has started on the front beds at Chapel through collaboration between ADAS and ourselves, with ADAS looking after seasonal planting of them. We have ordered five troughs with grateful thanks to those who donated. If anyone would like to make a donation towards the remainder of the expenses involved they will also be gratefully received. Contact Nancy-May or Jane Eardley.
A thought for the day from Tom Hassall who comments, 'I read this every morning'
'This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or grow in its light and be of service to others, but what I do this day is important because I have exchanged a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes today will be gone forever. I hope I will not regret the price I paid for it.'
AMC Secondhand Book Table: Donations of books have appeared over lockdown and there are about 120 books on our table. As the table cannot be used under Covid rules when we reopen, I am willing to deliver any books which could be enjoyed at this difficult time. I have listed all the books, roughly classified, and if interested let me know and I will email you the list.(tel Christina on 812886 or email me)
Donations would be welcome for general church funds, and it would be good if we could bring the total raised by the bookstall over its 6 years of existence to over £1000. (currently the figure is £975). Otherwise the books will have to be boxed up indefinitely.
From Lin Nicholas: Our granddaughter Loren (who is a member of our church) wrote for the last green sheet about her sponsored hair cut for the Little Princess Trust. I can now tell you that she will be having ' the chop' on Friday 23rd October.
I had not realised this charity that helps so many children and young people with wigs and hair pieces exists only because of donations. I have been offered donations from some people who do not have internet access or are wary of donating online and am very happy to accept any donations for this worthy cause on Loren's behalf. Thank you so much for all donations already given. If you would like to help please telephone 01270 812400 Lin
Thank you from the Furber family to all who supported David as he ran the Virtual London Marathon from his home near to Weston finishing in the village. Many family and friends ran alongside him for sections of the way. He commented on Audlem on line, 'The support was amazing, with many of you cheering me along especially during those last few difficult miles, the finish in the square was also fantastic with everyone cheering me to my target of 26.2 miles and bringing the London Marathon atmosphere to Audlem.
I had a great support team with many local runners accompanying me along sections of the route, and a special thanks to Rev Robin Fox who also joined for the last 6 miles getting me through some tough times and helping me achieve a time of 4hrs 14 minutes.'
The Methodist Church free phone service for news and prayer. The news option looks around the Connection at what's happening and the prayer line is a prayer from particular Methodists.
Listen to a prayer: 0808 281 2514
Listen to news: 0808 281 2478 Content is updated weekly on Thursday evening.
Worship is also available at Broomhall and Sound Chapel – Zoom services on Sundays at 10.30am (opens 10.15am)
The 'Daily Hopeline' call 0800 804 8044
Archbishop Justin Welby answers your call with a short message followed by a choice of options: