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COVID-19 Briefing 21/07

Psychologists call it ‘reverse culture shock’, and it’s a well-known phenomenon in missionary circles among others: the confusing and often painful adjustments required by those who return to their original cultures after many months or years abroad.
 
Much thought was no doubt given to the decision to move in the first place, not least in the learning of languages and the study of new cultural practices and norms. (I used to live near to the one-time Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, where missionaries from various Christian denominations received just this training before being sent out to the mission field). But the trip ‘home’, while often welcome, poses challenges of its own, which are subtler somehow and much less expected. ‘For one thing, I’ve changed’, as one returning missionary said to me, ‘and for another, home’s changed’.
 
It might be thought over-dramatic to portray the gradual return to worship in our church buildings in terms of reverse culture shock – but in some ways it feels like that. Plunged into what for many of us was the largely unexplored territory of online worship (along with online PCCs, Bible Studies, Christian Basics courses and the rest); having to pick up Zoom and its equivalents with none of the thoroughness with which the Selly Oak Colleges prepared their students; adjusting to this brave new world, with its benefits (fewer evening meetings, perhaps, and snappier PCCs) along with its drawbacks; the gradual lifting of Covid restrictions is both welcome and confusing.
 
Having taken part in two ‘real-life’ services in the past week: the consecration of Ruth Bushyager at Lambeth Palace last Wednesday and the reopening of our Cathedral last Sunday – I can personally attest to both responses: a huge sense of joy at being able to worship once again in a building set aside for that purpose and in physical proximity to my fellow worshippers, combined with a more complex recognition that home’s changed (most definitely) and perhaps I’ve changed too. 
 
How many of those changes are for the better? What should I hold onto and what release? How might Church life develop in a post-Covid world? These seem to me vital reflections at a time like this; and perhaps the somewhat quieter month of August gives us just the opportunity we need to pray over this strangest of seasons and seek to discern the still, small leading of the Spirit of the Living God.     

Every Blessing
Bishop Andrew

Critical Reading

New Racial Justice Focus Group – has been approved by Bishop’s Council – to be chaired by Bishop Jo, with an intention to ‘promote greater racial diversity within the Diocese of Guildford and its leadership, and to ensure that people from all racial backgrounds are enabled to fulfil their potential within the Body of Christ’. 

Financial Support Measures July to December
Recently parishes provided updated information on the financial impact of Covid-19, including the actual experience during April to June (Quarter 2), and the forecast impact for the rest of 2020 as restrictions ease. Parishes consistently indicate a significant impact on their unrestricted income during this time mitigated by cost savings and use of PCC reserves. For many, financial support provided by Bishops Council in Quarter 2 has been a lifeline.  
 
A significant benefit of the approach taken during Quarter 2, which has been funded initially by a DBF bank loan and short term cost savings, has been to help engender a real sense of sharing the burden together, with more than 40 parishes not taking the support since others need it more than they do and some paying parish share in full in advance.
 
Looking ahead, last night Bishop’s Council approved further financial support measures for July to December, which bring the total support for 2020 to c£700k-£800k. Although this is creating a large forecast deficit for the DBF this year which we will need to pay back, it is recognised that there is great merit in avoiding a cliff edge for our parishes as we work through the impact of this crisis together. The financial support is tapered and targeted towards the most financially challenged parishes, whilst it continues to encourage a spirit of being in this together.  Nigel Lewis (Chair of the DBF) provides further detail in his letter.
 

Visiting patients at the Royal Surrey 
FAQs for Spiritual Care visits at the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust [here
 

Virtual APCMs may now go ahead
 Earlier this year the deadline for holding the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and the annual ‘Vestry’ Meeting of Parishioners for the election of Churchwardens within the Diocese of Guildford was extended to 31st October 2020.  With continuing constraints on meeting in person, on Monday 20th July Bishop Andrew signed an instrument temporarily to permit these meetings to take place remotely if required allowing parishes where necessary to plan for September and October.
 
Where the expected number of attendees would not be manageable within the PCC’s risk assessment for the church and within the prevailing guidelines from the Government or Church of England, it is now possible for the parish to choose to hold remote meeting or hybrid meetings (i.e. some meeting in person with others joining by phone or video link), which will also allow parishes to include those who are shielding.
 
Consideration should be given to the practicalities of how to make such a meeting as inclusive as possible.  Please bear in mind that participants, such as those with deafness or blindness, may need specialist technological help and access to necessary computer equipment in order to participate.  Others who struggle with computers or are without the internet should be invited to be in touch so that the parish can help them to make arrangements to participate if at all possible.  
 
Any platform used for such a meeting must allow interactive participation and not just a video broadcast (like YouTube) or a video with ‘comments’ (like Facebook).  Participants should be able to hear and be heard and preferably see and be seen.
 
Further details are on the diocesan website.
 

Church Hall hire and activities 
We have been receiving a number of queries relating to church hall hire and activities. To help you with your risk assessment regarding whether or not to hire or use your hall for a particular activity, including how to implement the government guidance please use the steps above.
 

Common Licenses for Weddings
The Registry has been inundated with requests for Common Licences for forthcoming marriages and each one is attended to by hand by one person. 
 
Where the couple have sworn an affidavit before a Surrogate and he/she has been content to sign that affidavit and date it, the legal process has been completed and the couple can marry anytime within three months of the date of the affidavit.  The clergyperson conducting the marriage service does not need to have received the licence in order to be able to marry them. 
 
Indeed, in many cases the physical licence will not be received by the clergy person conducting the marriage before the date of the wedding, however the marriage can still go ahead as detailed above.

Bell ringing
Church of England guidance is that bells can be rung as long as the guidance and risk assessment template provided by the CCCBR are followed – the guidance can be found here.

For your information

Sunday Sermon

Bishop Jo’s sermon this week will be exploring similies for the Kingdom of Heaven from Matthew 13.31-33,44-52 so we may understand and imagine better what it is really about.

New Assistant Archdeacon

For some years, the Diocese of Guildford has been blessed through the ministry of (usually two) assistant archdeacons. Appointed by the bishop, these are self supporting posts usually undertaken by wise and experienced clergy who support the work of our archdeacons. Robert Jenkins has been the sole assistant archdeacon since 2017. Bishop Andrew is delighted to appoint Claire Isherwood (Associate Minister at St Paul’s, Camberley) to be the second assistant archdeacon. Whilst Robert and Claire will both offer their gifts across the diocese, Robert will focus his support in the Dorking Archdeaconry, and Claire in the Surrey Archdeaconry. Claire will be licensed via Zoom on Wednesday 5 August at 5pm.

Is your Crockford entry up to date?

Crockfords are busy preparing the 2020-21 print edition of Crockford for publication in December this year.
Please let them know of any changes to your information by Monday 5th August. You can check how your entry will appear and send any updates via bit.ly/appearing-in-crockford.

Change requests received after 5th August 2019 will update Crockford Online but will not appear in the 2020-21 print edition.

Wednesday webinars

Wednesday 22nd July at 2pm – Our Canon Theologian Rev Dr Sam Wells (who also came to our clergy conference a few years ago) will be reflecting on ‘Meeting God in the Exile of Lockdown’ next Wednesday. Sam is vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, Multi Author, and contributor to Thought for the Day on Radio 4. Register here

 

If you missed any of the Webinars, the videos can be found here

For the latest National guidance click here
For the latest Diocesan guidance click here
Next briefing will be issued on 23rd July 2020

Please note from the 28th July, we will only be issuing one update per week on a Tuesday at 4pm for August. We will re-evaluate in September. 

The post COVID-19 Briefing 21/07 appeared first on The Parish of Capel and Ockley.

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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