The Vicarage, 5a Plymouth Road, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8AU Tel: 01822 617432 Email: email@example.com
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I write this as our parishes and the country remains in lockdown. I hope and pray that everyone is safe and well.
We continue to review our COVID 19 protocols in accordance Government guidelines 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
Living in Love and Faith: A Discussion on Zoom, with Exeter Cathedral Wednesday, 3 February
Our Bishops are inviting us to take part in a conversation about sexuality and gender. This conversation will be going on in the Church of England throughout 2021 and will be crucial for the church’s direction in the coming years. The outcomes could have far-reaching consequences for the mission and unity of the church.
Sadly, in the past, conversations about sexuality and gender have not always been helpful conversations and have sometimes been conducted in confrontational ways and with polarised views. However, if we are committed to listen to one another, to articulate our own views with love and respect, and to make space for voices we have not heard thus far, we could have a really fruitful encounter.
To help this conversation, the Church of England has developed Living in Love and Faith, a set of resources and a call to talk, listen, and feedback. The resources include a book, a website and learning hub with videos, podcasts, group material to guide the conversation, and ways of feeding reflections back.
The Church says this about Living in Love and Faith:
“The Church of England is keenly aware that issues of gender and sexuality are intrinsic to people’s experience; their sense of identity; their lives and the loving relationships that shape and sustain them. We also know that the life and mission of our Church – and of the worldwide Anglican Communion – are affected by the deep, and sometimes painful, disagreements among us which have been debated and discussed on many occasions over the years.
These divisions have come into sharper focus because of society’s changing perspectives and practices, especially in relation to lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex people. The Church wants to understand what it means to follow Christ in love and faith given the questions about human identity and the variety of patterns of relationship emerging in our society, including marriage, civil partnership, cohabitation, celibacy and friendship.”
The materials in Living in Love and Faith are the result of a collaboration between many people of widely differing views and experiences; many of them share their own stories in videos, books, and podcasts.
So how can you get involved?
- You can buy the book.
- You can create an account on the online learning hub, for access to many materials and to the facility to feedback.
- You can join in a conversation with others.
To start the process in the Diocese, Exeter Cathedral will introduce these conversations in gatherings on Zoom on Wednesday, 3 February and have extended an invitation to anyone who would like to come to one of these one hour meetings:
Living in Love and Faith: A Discussion on Zoom, with Exeter Cathedral
11am and 7pm on Wednesday 3 February
Meeting ID: 851 5756 1109
Or from a phone:
Telephone: 0203 051 2874
Meeting ID: 851 5756 1109 Passcode: 983803
From the Archbishops of Canterbury and York: COVID 19
I have received the email letter below from our Archbishops and have put it in our February virtual magazine. For those who do not have access to the on-line magazine, the letter is reproduced below:
As we reach the terrible milestone of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, we invite everyone in our nation to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic.
100,000 isn’t just an abstract figure. Each number is a person: someone we loved and someone who loved us. We also believe that each of these people was known to God and cherished by God.
We write to you then in consolation, but also in encouragement, and ultimately in the hope of Jesus Christ. The God who comes to us in Jesus knew grief and suffering himself. On the cross, Jesus shares the weight of our sadness.
We therefore encourage everyone who is feeling scared, or lost or isolated to cast their fears on God. We also know that poorer communities, minority ethnic communities and those living with disabilities have been afflicted disproportionately and cry out for the healing of these inequalities. During this pandemic, we encourage everyone to do all they can to live within the guidelines and constraints given by government following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser. We show our commitment, care and love for one another by ensuring we do everything we can to stop the virus spreading.
None of this is easy. Very many of us are experiencing isolation, loneliness, anxiety and despondency like never before. Many people have lost their livelihoods. Our economy struggles. Also, the necessary restrictions we live with have also prevented us from being alongside loved ones as they died, or even at their graveside. All grief profoundly affects us, but this pandemic grief is so hard.
Therefore, we need to support each other. We do this by following the guidelines. But we also do it by reaching out to each other with care and kindness.
One thing we can all do is pray. We hope it is some consolation to know that the church prays for the life of our nation every day. Whether you’re someone of faith, or not, we invite you to call on God in prayer. Starting on 1 February we invite you to set aside time every evening to pray, particularly at 6pm each day. More than ever, this is a time when we need to love each other. Prayer is an expression of love. A number of resources will be made available at www.ChurchofEngland.org/PrayerForTheNation.
Finally, we write of hope. We are grateful for the hope we have because of the service of our NHS and social care staff. What a blessing and lifeline for our nation. We are grateful for the service given in local communities by clergy, other frontline workers and so many good neighbours. We are grateful for the hope of the vaccine. It is a testimony to the God-given wisdom and gifts of scientists and researchers. We urge everyone to take the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you.
Most of all, we have hope because God raised Jesus from the dead. This is the Christian hope that we will be celebrating at Easter. We live in the hope that we will share in his resurrection. Death doesn’t have the last word. In God’s kingdom every tear will be wiped away.
Please be assured of our prayers. Please join us.
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York
A prayer for those who mourn
as we remember before you the thousands who have died,
surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion.
Be gentle with us in our grief,
protect us from despair,
and give us grace to persevere
and face the future with hope
in Jesus Christ our risen Lord.
A request for help from NHS Devon
We have been contacted by Jane Bullard from NHS Devon who is seeking our help in finding volunteers to assist at vaccination centres in Devon. The work will involve marshalling in car parks and acting as receptionists and helping out at the new 12 hour/7 day centres. Volunteers must be 69 or younger:
- Hundreds of volunteers are needed to cover four hour shifts, 12 hours per day, 7 days per week for the next few months
- Shifts are 0800 – 1200, 1200 – 1600 and 1600 – 2000. There isn’t anything to stop people doing multiple shifts
- We aren’t asking for a minimum commitment – people can do as many shifts as they would like and it’s possible to book 2 x 4hr shifts if they would rather do 8hrs
- All volunteers must fill in a simple application form hosted on the regional Our Plymouth volunteering website https://ourplymouth.co.uk/volunteer-opportunity/covid-19-vaccination-program-volunteers-needed/
- To see a short video of how a vaccination runs please follow this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_HDLt_X-aQ
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 websites. I shall be writing separately over the next few days about our plans for Lent 2021.
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.
With God’s blessing