Welcome to St James & St Hilda
Worship on Sunday 10 January 2021
We are Church
As COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in our local area we have had to make the difficult decision to close our churches once again.
In discussion with our Standing Committees, we felt that with the new strain reportedly being 70% more transmissable and with the vaccine so close we had little choice but to curtail public worship for at least the next two weeks, or until case numbers locally drop significantly. We will review our decision on 26 January.
We have not made this decision lightly and it comes after much thought and prayer. I am grateful to our wonderful team of Church leaders who through their dedication and professionalism are helping us to be the church at this strange time. We are incredibly fortunate to have the infrastructure to continue to worship together online: our 10.45am service from St. Thomas’ will be livestreamed on the YouTube channel each Sunday morning (to easily find the livestream, type, “St Thomas Church Stockton Heath live stream” into the search box on the YouTube website). A link straight to the service will be placed on our websites as soon as possible as well. Immediately after the livestream finishes we’ll be having a Zoom coffee morning so we can all have a natter to each other after the service – something we wouldn’t be able to do if we were actually together in church owing to the no-mingling rule.
All our other midweek activities continue online, as on our regular email bulletin. St. James’ will be open for Private Prayer on Wednesday each week from 10am – 12noon.
If you have any worries or concerns please contact us – all our details are on the regular email bulletin.
At this time that could be frightening, Isaiah 41:10 helps us if we’re struggling with the present situation. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Yours as always, Michael.
We are continuing to post daily YouTube messages from Monday to Saturday. You can find all of our previous message on our YouTube channel where you can also watch the livestream of St. Thomas’ 10.45am Sunday morning service each week. There is an archive of all the previous service videos here. We hope this is helpful!
We know that anyone who has to arrange a funeral for a loved one at present is experiencing something very different to our normal practices. Following Government and Local Authority guidelines, funerals are restricted to very close family only, in extremely limited numbers. It is hard for wider family and friends who can’t be there, and for whom there isn’t an opportunity to say a proper goodbye. We are offering all families the chance to have a Memorial Service once we are allowed to recommence normal worship in our churches, and we hope that people will take up this offer. In the more immediate situation, the Church of England has produced a short reflection for you to use at home at the time of the funeral so that you can feel connected with the service taking place. You can find it here. We hope that this is helpful, and please remember that our clergy and ministry team are always available to talk on the telephone and support you.
Although our church buildings are closed for public worship because of Coronavirus, we are still a worshipping community in our own homes.
First be constant in prayer. Across our Deanery all the clergy are praying every day at 9.30am. Perhaps make this your prayer time too? Our community, country and world need our prayers for healing: be united in your home with thousands of others. Pray especially for all who work in our NHS and emergency services. The Church of England provides services of prayer on its website every day. To access these Daily Prayer resources, please click here and choose the service you’d like to follow. Each morning our clergy will be using the ‘Morning Prayer (Contemporary)’ service at 9.30am so if you’d like to unite with them you can do so. If you’d like to follow along on your smartphone, there is a Daily Prayer app which you can download (iOS / Android).
Look regularly at our church websites as we’ll be updating as new information becomes available.
You are not alone. Our Pastoral team are ringing households in isolation on a regular basis and volunteers will shop and get prescriptions for you. If you’d like to get in contact, you can leave a message on the vicarage answerphone 261396.
Look out for and care for each other. Not least, we urge you to follow the government’s advice if you are in a high risk category: please act selflessly in the common good, setting aside your own desires to get out and about, and acting responsibly to protect those who are less robust than you. Little acts of kindness still make a difference: you can ring or text your friends and neighbours even when you are staying inside your own home.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
|We believe in God, who has created and is creating, who has come to reconcile and to make all things new. We trust God, who calls us to love and serve others, to seek justice and to resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified, dead and risen; our judge and our hope. In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us: we are not alone. Thanks be to God|
St James’ Church
St Hilda’s Church
|Church of England logo reproduced by permission of the Archbishops Council.|
|Our church has adopted the Church of England’s safeguarding policies. Contact details for the Chester Diocesan Vulnerability and Safeguarding Officer and further information about these policies can be found on the Diocese of Chester safeguarding webpages here. Contact details for our parish safeguarding coordinators are displayed in each church.|