The Latest News From Around Capel

COVID-19 Briefing 15/09

Over the last 6 months many of us have been wrestling with the question ‘What does it mean to be church in a time of pandemic’?  It is a question that has taken up much head and prayer space for us, and rightly so.  But some of the core foundations of what it means to be church have not changed; the church is part of God’s work of transformation; being a follower of Jesus in every aspect of life is core to who we are as church; and as Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 5:17, the church is called to join in with God’s central mission of reconciliation. 

Coronavirus has forced us to ask questions relating to who we are as church and how we do church differently.  It is forcing us to change our culture; forcing us to rethink why we do what we do.  Covid-19 has opened up many new opportunities for us to live out the good news of Christ in our everyday life.  As we begin to return to our buildings there is pressure to resume what we were doing before we had to leave them.  I want to suggest that we must not lose some of the new learnings that we have discovered.

So much of our on-line worship has created new opportunities for members of the laity to be involved.  It has been such a joy, as I have zoomed into Sunday worship, to catch glimpses of how the body of Christ is fulfilling its God given mission.  In many cases this has been through members of the laity sharing their stories about how they have been signposts to Jesus in the way that they are living out everyday life.   We have seen people lead prayers, read bible passages, and engage in interviews in a whole variety of settings from gardens, kitchens, bedrooms and conservatories. 

As we move to offering worship in person, as well as continuing with our on-line presence, I believe that we should seize the opportunity to help people to continue to grow in their understanding that following Jesus is about everyday life and not just what we do on a Sunday.  Helping the members of our churches to understand that God is at work in their lives and is calling them to be a signpost of God’s kingdom, wherever they are during the week, has never been so crucial.  As +Rachel, of Gloucester, said last week, ‘discipleship is not an activity, it is a way of living and being that is rooted in our baptism’.  So why not encourage people to lead prayers, or record the bible reading from their place of work or where they spend most of their time during the week.  Why not begin to interview someone in church each week, asking them ‘What is the biggest thing that you are facing in your week?’ and offer to pray for them.  Or maybe in your Zoom coffee meeting after worship, ask people to reflect on ‘What aspect of today’s service has touched you and how might that impinge on your week’?

We need to hold our nerve in the face of the pressure to do things the way we have always done them.  Instead, let us embrace the new ways we have recently discovered, to encourage each other to live for Jesus all the time, wherever we are.

Archdeacon Martin

Critical Reading

Government changes

As you will be aware the government has simplified the rules on the number of people who are allowed to meet together which is now six from any number of households. This impacts some of the work and events that happen in our churches and parishes. We are still waiting for the Church of England to issue their guidance on this (so keep tuned into our mailings, facebook and website for any updates) but our current interpretation of these rules is as follows:

  • The new rule does not affect the pre-existing rules for public worship, weddings, baptisms or funerals
  • APCMs are unaffected by these new rules. APCMs are not social events, and are permitted, along with PCCs, to be held in person in churches/church halls under 3d of the Multi-Purpose Community Facilities Guidance. They should follow the principles set out in the Safer Workplace Guidance and adhere to social distancing requirements. Your risk assessment must make clear how you intend to ensure that the meeting does not become a social event (e.g. ensuring people do not arrive early or linger after the event, no time for chatting or discussion questions, no small groups for prayer or refreshments etc.)  Additionally the guidance on distancing within the building also applies so households must be seated at least 2m apart and therefore the numbers that can be accommodated are likely to be lower than previously. Having said all this the multi-purpose community facility guidance makes it clear that “where meetings can take place digitally without the need for face-to-face contact, they should continue to do so.” to this end Bishop Andrew’s instrument of 20 July 2020 allows for APCMs to wholly or partially meet virtually and we do encourage this where possible. 
  • If you intend to hold an event that is not public worship on your church premises, or hire out your premises you should check the Multi-Purpose Community Facilities Guidance to check if the proposed activity is exempt from the limit of 6 people.

For further questions, examples and up-to-date guidance on this do join our facebook group.

Bishop Andrew launches our Diocesan Photo Competition

Can you capture the Diocese?

With a new phase of life after months of lockdown, the Diocese of Guildford is launching a photography competition inviting people to celebrate what a transforming church means to them across our diocese. 

The Diocese encourages amateur photographers and budding phone snappers to seek out and share how church has evolved, how your community is working together and the life, buildings and people that represent what Church is all about.  

Open to anyone in the diocese, the top three winners will be selected by a panel comprising The Bishop of Guildford, the Diocesan Communications team and a professional photographer. 

To enter, send your photo by email to with a completed entry and permissions form by 1st November. 

For your information 

Sunday Sermon

Bishop Jo speaks of the scandalous grace of God in preaching from Jesus’ parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Matt 20:1-16).

Transforming Generosity
Ahead of Transforming Generosity this October, Peter Harwood shares some thoughts and experiences experience of talking to a congregation about money and giving. “I want to encourage people, ordained and lay to reflect on our attitude to giving…It has become disconnected from its meaning and purpose, and we could be guilty of selling short to our people.” 

Transforming Generosity podcasts – please re-subscribe

If you have signed up to receive the daily reminders for the podcasts you will need to re-subscribe due to a technical fault on the form.

Promoting Transforming Generosity

To help parishes promote their participation in Transforming Generosity, we have a created a promotional powerpoint slide and sample text which can be found in the Transforming Generosity Parish Resources section of the diocesan website.

Parish Befrienders Course for Lay Pastoral Visitors 

November 2020
We will be resuming Parish Befrienders Course training in November.
This will be the second of the two pilot courses to trial the Lay Pastoral Visitors and Befrienders Course. The first, in January, went well and all the comments and suggestions have been noted for this next course. After the November course the training department will conduct a review and subject to the recommendations made be able to clarify how future lay pastoral training will be shaped.
Running the November course will, of course, be guided by and provisional upon the Government’s guidelines regarding the resumption of meetings. The November course will be conducted online by Zoom. This may reduce our recruitment or interest and it may well limit how many can be trained that way but the team is embracing the technology and working out the final details in October. 

More details will follow and can be available from Margaret Smith or Katrina Henderson
Download the details, and the application form, now.  Please note, there is no need to send payment with the forms as parishes will be invoiced later.

Social Value Marketplace launched by Surrey County Council

Could your parish help others in the community or do you need some help? Surrey County Council has set up a marketplace where services can be shared. Organisations are invited to post what services they could offer or respond to adverts for help. Sharing social action across the county.

There vision –  is for the public, private and social sectors in Surrey to work together so we can share our resources and collectively use these to improve the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of our residents and local communities.

See more details on their website.

Webinar: Faithfulness for a Planet in Crisis

Monday 28th September, 2020 5-7pm 

Featuring Prof Ellen Davis – who spoke at our last Clergy Triennial – as main speaker on the subject of climate change. It is a ‘Virtual Study Day’ organised by the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies taking place at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina to which friends from the diocese of Guildford are invited to participate at no cost. Besides the keynote address it includes some live music, a discussion panel with Ryan Juskus, Ruth Valerio, Norbert Wilson, and Norman Wirzba and concluding worship with homily by Ellen and music by Charles Pettee.

Wednesday Webinars return 23rd September

Join us each Wednesday throughout the Autumn season to discuss how do we adapt church life to the new world constraints, how do we help our churches thrive and transform lives in 2020 and beyond.

Below is an outline of the program for September/October with more details to be announced, when confirmed.

23rd September – Leading with Hope – James Lawrence CPAS at 2pm 
Two months ago, we may have hoped lockdown was easing, normal worship services were resuming, and life was progressing into whatever the ‘new normal’ was to be. But we’re not there, the defining reality is still uncertainty, and there may yet be a long way to go. Who knows how long and in what ways COVID is going to continue? Who knows when we will be able to gather back together in more usual circumstances? Who knows what ‘normal’ is going to be and when it might come? 

This webinar will explore how we lead with hope when the long term future remains so uncertain, both what fuels hope in us and how we nurture hope in others, so that we may continue to engage with what God is doing through these uncertain times.

30th September – Making the most of Christmas and Autumn celebrations – Peter Harwood with the Mission Enablers and the Communications Team at 8 pm.
The national Christmas ‘Comfort and Joy’ campaign looks really good – how do we make the most of this, as well as the other Autumn festivals like remembrance, harvest, All Saints and time to remember services? A practical workshop showing resources and ideas parishes can use this year! 
7th October – Spiritual Leadership vs management – Bishop Andrew in conversation with guest contributor at 2pm
How do we ensure that we remain spiritual leaders, and not managers of an organisation? Keeping our spiritual gifts alive and growing when under pressure and in uncertain times. 
14th October – Inhabiting innovation – Led by Ed Olsworth-Peter, National Adviser for Pioneer Development, for the Church of England.
A digital seminar for those in church leadership exploring what mission and ministry could look like beyond lockdown. Joined by members of the National Anglican Community of Pioneers who will share their insights from lockdown, this session will draw on pioneering principles and qualities as a foundation for thinking in fresh ways within the local church and community. It will explore how to innovate something new within your church tradition in response to the changing world around us as well as exploring what a physically gathered and digital mixed ecology of church could look like.
21st October – Has anything changed? Revisiting Eucharistic theology and practice.  Bishop Jo with Revd Mark Earey at 2pm
Is ‘spiritual communion’ a sacrament? What is lost when there’s no common cup? How do we gather around the table together when some are in church and others online? These and other questions of our times will be explored by Bishop Jo in conversation with the Revd Mark Earey, Director of Anglican Formation and Liturgy Tutor at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham 

Digital Labs Conference 

23-24th October online

The Church of England’s Digital Labs conference is a two-day online conference to inspire and equip Church of England churches to share Good News, grow people’s faith and bring more people to faith by harnessing digital and social media. Join us as we talk about topics such as livestreaming, mix mode services, online engagement and insights. Plus, network with churches, speakers, and experts in our first online conference taking place this October.

For the latest National guidance click here
For the latest Diocesan guidance click here
Next briefing will be issued on 22nd September 2020

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St John The Baptist Church, Capel is a small friendly village church in the centre of the village. We are part of the Surrey Weald Team of parishes close to the south Surrey border with West Sussex. The other parishes in the team are St Peter’s, Newdigate, and St Mary Magdelene, South Holmwood. Our church offers a variety of worship, both separate and as part of the Weald Team.

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