The Vicarage, 5a Plymouth Road, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8AU Tel: 01822 617432 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We continue to live in uncertain times with the COVID19 pandemic. There is no doubt that, at times like this, faith can be challenged as COVID19 affects all human life. I write this to our parishes of Tavistock, Gulworthy, and Brent Tor as the Government has placed the Country into a third national lockdown.
Sadly, the updates from Public Health England that record the number of infections and deaths from COVID19 make it clear that, as the number of infections rise, the latest mutation of the virus is highly transmissible, though thankfully not more virulent. At the time of writing, the full impact of families and friends gathering at Christmas is yet to be reflected in the figures. As a consequence, the rate of infection is likely to rise still higher.
As a Benefice, and following Government and Diocesan guidance, we have worked hard to reduce the risks associated with the virus so that people can attend worship without undue anxiety. During this third national lockdown the Government is permitting church buildings to remain open both for private prayer and for communal worship. Bishop Robert said yesterday: “this is a tribute to how effectively clergy and lay leaders have risen to the challenge of arresting the spread of this disease. It is also a recognition by the Government of how significant our buildings are in the life of their communities for people’s mental health and well-being. They are holy ground where we learn ‘how to be human’” (+ Robert, Ad Clerum, Epiphany 2021).
As a Benefice we will continue to hold acts of public worship in accordance with the new guidelines. The Government has said that people are allowed to leave home to attend church but not to mix socially before or afterward. Bishop Robert has also stressed the importance of people not mingling when arriving at, or leaving, a church. Throughout the weeks ahead, we need to be extremely careful, and remain vigilant and cautious.
Under the latest regulations, weddings for up to 6 people can happen in exceptional circumstances, and funerals for up to 30 people are also allowed. It will, of course, still be necessary for us to ensure that our hygiene and social distancing precautions are kept in place, and that our COVID19 protocols are followed to ensure our buildings are as COVID-safe as possible.
The opening hours for worship and private prayer are:
Sunday, 9.45 am Eucharist, and open for private prayer until 1 pm
Wednesday, 10.30 am Eucharist, and open for private prayer until 1 pm
Sunday, 11.15 am Eucharist
Wednesday, 9 am until 3 pm open for private prayer
Christ Church, Brentor,
Sunday, 9.45 am service, and open daily for private prayer
St.Michael’s, Brent Tor
Open daily for private prayer
Our church websites, social media pages and noticeboards give clear information about where you can access online or telephone services or receive pastoral support and we will continue to broadcast on-line services each week on our Facebook and Church. Each month, the Benefice “virtual” magazine will be published on the St. Eustachius website as usual.
Please continue to share and cascade the information contained in this letter to anyone you know who has little or no access to email, or to our social media sites as best you can. It remains vitally important to keep everyone informed of, and involved in, our ongoing Church life across the Benefice during this time of lockdown. Thank you.
Please stay safe and well and be assured of my continued love and prayers.
May 2021 be a time when we move beyond the pandemic and grow in holiness so that the life that is in each of us finds its true expression in the life we are called to live.
With God’s blessing