The Latest News From Around Capel

Parish Brief – 9th February 2021


´Keep watch over yourselves’
Acts 20v28

Paul arriving in Ephesus spoke to the leaders there and told them to ‘keep watch over themselves’ – I have always assumed that he was referring to what they believed and taught, but I have come to think that is one application of what is a general command and that in these days of Covid, it has particular relevance to weary clergy. 

Many clergy have such a sense of service, that we are prone to sacrifice ourselves for the sake others, to the detriment of our wellbeing (and sometimes our family).  I won’t be the only one to have heard the words ‘people need me’ ringing around my head even as I feel totally spent.  Paul’s words to ‘keep watch over ourselves’ are a helpful counter to such thinking – when we take a moment to think about it, it is obvious.  We will only be able to lead and minister well when we are well.  We won’t ‘be there for others’ if we are running on empty, depleted in body, mind, and spirit.  Jesus, at the most demanding moments in his ministry, withdrew from the crowds to find restoration.  He kept watch over himself.  Jesus’ words to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’ recognise that our first responsibility is to attend to our wellbeing so that we can love our neighbour.

I was amused to find that “Positive Psychology” was only discovered some 20 years ago.  It is an arm of psychology that doesn’t look at what is going wrong in our thinking, rather it considers what sort of life leads to a sense of wellbeing and happiness.  We know that the ‘good life’ is rooted in the One who has come to bring us ‘life and life in all its fulness’ but as in many things, we don’t have the monopoly on practical wisdom.  And so, I invite you to join me in asking – “what do I need to do differently to look after myself better.”  Many of us in this crisis have increased doing those things that drain us of life and reduced doing those things that give us life.  The longer this crisis goes on, the more urgent the task to reverse that imbalance.

No-one has all the answers – but together we have many of them.  Let’s share our wisdom on this padlet board.

Every blessing
Peter Harwood

Critical updates

Clergy Vaccinations

As the vaccination programme continues to roll out, we have been asked if clergy qualify as ‘front-line social care workers’ and therefore as a higher priority within the programme. Whilst some clergy roles call for visiting the sick and dying with a covid diagnosis (chaplains working in our hospitals on covid wards for example) most of our clergy and church leaders work is either from home or leading live-streaming/in person worship (including funerals) in covid secure churches and venues. Clergy should not be routinely be visiting covid-positive patients in their homes as pastoral care in these cases is more appropriately done via phone, zoom or with a card. Clergy working in this manner would not fit the description of ‘front-line social care workers’ as we understand it.
Some clergy are operating foodbanks/meal delivery services (with more happening during the school holidays we expect) but again this should be done in a covid secure manner and not require the workers to have been vaccinated. Clergy who are at higher risk due to age or other clinical vulnerability should continue to work appropriately and respond to any vaccine invitation as requested by the NHS when they are ready for you.
We are actively monitoring the guidance in this area and will advise you should anything change.

Daily Hope free phone line 

For almost a year, the Daily Hope free telephone phone line, launched by the Church of England, Faith in Later Life and Connections @ Holy Trinity Church in Claygate, has been reaching out and helping to support older people, providing them with hope and comfort. 

In addition to the Hymns, reflections and prayers, more options are being added to help in this time of great need. The line also offers ‘Chair Exercises on the Phone’ which are vital, but gentle exercises, to help with circulation and fitness for this most isolated section of our community.

New for February,  ‘Sleep well with the Daily Hope’.  So many people of all ages, but especially the elderly, are struggling to sleep at this worrying and unsettling time – sleep researchers are now calling this ‘Covid-somnia!’  To help with this, Daily Hope has launched a series of gentle and relaxing reflections written by our own Pippa Crama, using wonderful Bible verses for callers to listen to on the phone whilst they’re in bed.

So many (over 2.5 million) elderly ones are not connected to the internet so are not able to access any online support. Please do share the news of this line far and wide within your communities. 

Funerals and Bereavement Ministry

Our ministry to the bereaved through the challenges of Covid-19 continues to be an important way in which we serve our communities at such a difficult time. The Diocese has been represented on Surrey’s Local Resilience Forum which has sought to balance the needs of the bereaved with the safety of mourners and staff, as well as ensuring that the law is obeyed. The Forum is aware that, from time to time, there have been situations where the maximum number of people currently permitted at a funeral has been exceeded, and this has been challenging to manage for clergy, funeral directors and the staff at burial grounds and crematoria. Please find a letter from the Surrey Resilience Forum which seeks to address this issue here. The key message for clergy and officiants in this situation is to work in partnership with the Funeral Director and venue staff to ensure that the service does not go ahead until the current regulations are complied with.

Don’t miss our Wednesday Webinar tomorrow on creative ideas for Lent and Easter but if you can’t attend the recording will be shared on YouTube and resources shared on our Lent 2021 campaign page.

Ash Wednesday 17th February 
You are invited to join us online livestreamed from the Cathedral for Ash Wednesday at our 9.30am  Eucharist  or, with the musicians, a Choral Eucharist at 5.30pm. Services are available here

For many of us, the mark of the cross on our foreheads is a powerful reminder of our need of the grace of God, and our deep gratitude for all that Jesus accomplished through is life, suffering, death and resurrection.

This mark is traditionally made in ash – ashes made from the Palm crosses we brought into our homes last year on Palm Sunday.

During both services, all those who are participating at home will be invited to mark themselves, or family members mark each other, with the sign of the cross in ash. You can make your own ashes from your palm crosses in preparation. The ash from one palm cross is all you need. Instructions for preparing the ash can be found on the internet. 

For your information 

As you already receive the weekly Parish Brief you will receive the Lent Parish Brief. Please share the sign up link with anyone who would find comfort in receiving these Lent emails.


Mothering Sunday Service Guide from Mothers Union

Please find a helpful service guide shared with us by the Mothers Union in advance of Mothering Sunday preparations. 

Sunday sermons will continue to be provided each week until at least Easter. 

Sunday Sermon

Preaching on the transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9 with passing reference also to 2 Cor 4:3-6), Bishop Jo’s sermon explores how the glimpse of ‘God’s glory upstairs’ might transfigure our perspective and our prayers in the midst of pandemic.

Dates, Events & Training

NEW Creative and 2021 friendly ideas for Lent & Easter
10 February, 7.30-8.30pm

Our Wednesday webinar will be thinking about creative and 2021 friendly ideas for Lent and Easter – covering Ash Wednesday on to lent prayer ideas and Holy Week and Easter. There will be ideas for multi-generation households, for adults and children, mid week and Sunday worship. We may even touch on some Thy Kingdom Come resources for Pentecost if we have time.
To Register for this practical and time saving webinar click below:

Weekly bitesize leadership formation in lockdown

Mondays, 12.30pm
There is still time to join our new weekly guided reflections on leadership for clergy and LLMs. Hosted on Zoom, the 30 minute weekly reflections will centre on scripture using Jonathan Sack’s brilliant book “Lessons in Leadership” and have time for discussion and prayer.

Leading into the Future: Leading through the Recovery Phase 

Fatigued’ and ‘hopeful’ were the two words leaders used to describe how they were feeling in our survey last month. The combination of the multiple deprivations of the last 10 months, and the hoped for changes during 2021, mean many people are at a low ebb, but also that there is a longing to move on. 

In this webinar, James Lawrence, CPAS Leadership Principal, will explore how we can lead ourselves and others through this time, including the launch of some new resources for your congregations and community.

Get the information as it happens

We have set up a Facebook Group, bringing together leadership across the diocese, to share best practice, to ask questions and encourage one another.

Next week the General Brief will be issued on Tuesday 16th February at 4pm before moving to Wednesday during Lent.

The Lent Parish Brief will be issued on Wednesday 17th at 4pm to coincide with Ash Wednesday followed by a regular slot on a Monday. 



The post Parish Brief – 9th February 2021 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.

Comments are closed