The Parish Office, 5a Plymouth Road, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8AU Tel: 01822 616673 Email: email@example.com
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
As I write this letter the Government has just brought in further regulations for Churches to help tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. The following letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has also been received. Their letter is reproduced below:
“Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
It is clear that we now have to gear up for a second wave of the coronavirus. This is hard. Many people were starting to believe things could return to normal. They can’t. But neither are we in the same place as before. We have learned a great deal. In our leadership of the Church and in the witness we show to our nation we need to be determined, resilient and hopeful. We will need to be more critical in our response to restrictions that are above and beyond government regulations, helping the church at the local level, in parish and diocese, steer a course that is marked by responsible action towards each other, care for the most vulnerable, and witness for the poor and disadvantaged who are suffering disproportionately. All this is the nature of love.
Our national situation is much more complicated than it was in March. The divisions are deeper. There is public and reasonable concern about hunger – especially amongst children – and homelessness, with an expected rapid rise in evictions. Domestic violence remains a major issue which is concealed.
We are also in a situation which threatens the recovery from the huge decline in the economy in the second quarter. The most vulnerable to this second wave are the small companies who employ the most people, and especially those in the hospitality industry. It will be for us and others to encourage the banks, who received such help in 2009, to be equally merciful to others as the nation was to them. St Matthew 18:23-35 seems highly relevant.
The poor, the elderly and isolated are especially vulnerable. There will be growing nervousness about Christmas, about mental health and many other issues that cannot be considered in this very short letter.
We are called to be responsible, but we are also called to resilience and prophetic speech. We have the networks, long since mobilised, and the partnerships to serve especially the hungry and homeless. Our schools are a particular treasure.
However, there will also be a sense of tiredness; the weariness which comes with dealing with yet another threat and difficulty. To face this, we must continue to encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens. We must in our meetings be transparent with each other, able to say difficult things in a way that avoids mistakes being made through unwilling acquiescence to the perceived view of the majority.
Most of all we need to draw close to Christ, and continue to offer the hope and stability of the gospel. It is this gospel joy, even in the darkest times, that alone can help us through this crisis, bringing hope and an eternal perspective to the very pressing trials of the moment.
We are so grateful for our partnership with you in this work. Do feel free to share this letter as you see fit. And please be assured of our prayers. In the peace of Christ,
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell”
Annual Parochial Church Meeting
At the Annual Parochial Church Meeting held on the 11th October Mary Whalley was re-elected as Churchwarden. My congratulations to her. My thanks to Hilary Sanders for her support and tremendous hard work as Churchwarden over the last 6 years. Hilary has worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to ensure that our Church life runs smoothly. I am extremely grateful indeed to her and will miss her now that her second term of office has come to an end. We now have a vacancy for Churchwarden, please do speak to me if you feel you could take on this role or if you would like to know about what is involved. My thanks also to retiring members of the PCC, Edna Bennallack, Barbara and Tony Miller, and George Mudge for all their care, diligence and hard work as Council members. We welcome Scott Angell, Liz Bastin and Fiona Lang as new members. The meeting also thanked Eileen Hooper for overseeing “Mission of the Month”, and Nick Clarke for his work as Fabric Officer. Both Eileen and Nick have stepped down. Again, if you feel you could take on either role, please do speak to me.
We continue to review our patterns of worship and private prayer in all our four churches, and to follow Diocesan COVID guidelines and update our risk assessments as Government guidelines are amended in order to remain COVID secure. The Sunday Eucharist at 9.45 am has now returned to the Nave, and although numbers remain restricted, it has been possible to accommodate more people than previously. Sadly, congregational singing is still not permitted. We have also been able to re-introduce the Mid-week Eucharist on a Wednesday at 10.30 am, again, in the Nave. The Church continues to remain open until 2 pm for private prayer on a Sunday and Wednesday in the Clothworkers Aisle following these services. The arrangements for Weddings (max 15 people) and Funerals (max 30 people) remain unchanged.
Tavistock Food Bank
Following our Harvest Festival service this year we were able to send donations of food to Tavistock Food Bank. Thank you for your generosity in making this possible this year, and for the donations of food and money which are regularly made through our church.
Virtual Vestry Group
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I thoroughly recommend our Virtual Vestry Group to you. This can be found on the St Eustachius’ Facebook page and on the website. My thanks to Sarah and her messy team for all their work.
Commemoration of the Faithful Departed
I am planning a service at the beginning of November in Tavistock Parish Church as a special Act of Remembrance for those who have been bereaved. At the service those who have died recently, and in years past, will be remembered by name and candles will be lit as a symbol of hope. The service will be simple and will include well known music although, sadly, congregational singing is not permitted at the moment. The service will be held on Monday, 2nd November 2020, at 7.00pm. Please email if you would like someone remembered by name at the service.
At the time of writing the arrangements remain unclear for the marking of Remembrance Sunday. The likelihood is that the number of participants permitted to attend an outdoor Act of Remembrance will be limited to six. As in previous years I intend to hold a short act of Remembrance within our Sunday Eucharist. This service will begin at 9.30 am. As with all services at the moment, numbers will be restricted.
You may be aware that Cathy, Barbara, Judy and Hilary held a pop-up stall in the churchyard a couple of weeks ago (socially-distanced and sanitised of course) and managed to raise £85 in a couple of very windy hours. More pop-ups are planned after the Wednesday services. Someone will be on duty to ensure hand sanitising, collection of contact details, and control of the queues (well, ever the optimists!), etc. So come along to buy some Christmas presents, many of the items for sale are handcrafted, and you will be supporting St. Eustachius’.
The following stalls will be held from 11.15am – 2pm
Wednesday October 14th – Craft items
Wednesday October 21st – New and nearly new designer clothes
Wednesday 28th – Vintage Green
Wednesday 4th November – Jigsaws & Marmalades & Jams
Wednesday 11th. November – New and nearly new designer clothes
Wednesday 18th November -Vintage Green
Wednesday 25th – November – New and nearly new designer clothes
Wednesday 2nd December – Jigsaws
Christmas Toy Appeal 2020
As in previous years, we will be supporting Tavistock Area Children’s Centre this Christmas by giving them toy vouchers to pass on to families who will be struggling and in need this Christmas.
Donations towards the cost of the vouchers would be welcomed please. Nearer the time, if you would like to support this appeal please would your hand your donation to a churchwarden in an envelope clearly marked TOY APPEAL or make a donation by following the TOY APPEAL link which will appear on the St. Eustachius website.
I will be able to let you know full details of our Christmas services in my November letter and in the Virtual Parish Magazine which appears each month on our website. At the moment planning is still taking place to ensure we remain compliant with Government COVID19 regulations. I hope it will be possible to hold a service on Christmas Eve at 11.30 pm (Midnight Mass) and on Christmas Day at 9.30 am. For those self-isolating, or unable to attend, or in the event of further restrictions, I shall also prepare a Christmas video service for broadcast on the evening of Christmas Eve. If it is possible to do so, our Christmas morning service will also be recorded.
Parish Centre Refurbishment
The Friends’ have now gone through a tender process and obtained three estimates for the refurbishment of the Parish Centre and a contractor has been chosen to undertake the work. It is hoped to start before Christmas. In addition, new chairs are to be purchased. The PCC were updated about this at its September meeting. The project has three key elements. The first is external work to replace the current fibre glass skylights with a clear glass / acrylic material. The second is to renovate the toilets and provide separate, Ladies, Gentlemen and Disabled facilities. The third is the refurbishment of the hall, including plastering of the walls, painting the ceiling in a light colour, the sanding and renovation of the wooden floor and an update of the lighting system. My thanks to Rick Crawford, Judy Hurst, John Collacott, and all the Friends,’ for the tremendous amount of work being undertaken to achieve this refurbishment.
Please continue to share and cascade this letter to anyone you know who has little or no access to email, or our social media sites. It remains vitally important to keep everyone informed of, and involved in, our ongoing Church life. Thank you.
Please stay safe and well and be assured of my continued love and prayers.