I hope you’re all doing as well as possible in our current difficult circumstances.
I’m delighted to be able to write to you – as of last Friday, April 3rd – as your Vicar!
Bishop Paul Williams was able to licence me to the Cranmer Group using modern technology, via videoconference, witnessed by many Wardens of our six churches. Although not quite what we’d all planned for, it was a profoundly spiritual experience to be licensed online, with a tangible sense of God’s presence surrounding us. Here’s a photo of what the videoconference looked like:
Top left is Amanda Redgate, the Diocesan Registrar; bottom left is Bishop Paul; bottom right is me; and the shadowy figure top right is Roger Coulter, one of our wonderful Wardens, from Whatton!
But whilst technology is great, and enables us to do good things in lots of new and creative ways, it’s not the same as face-to-face contact, so I hope very much to be able to meet you all in person soon, once our present difficulties are over.
Staying Connected – Sunday Sermons and Prayers
I also know that it’s very hard for many of us as we find ourselves in lockdown or self-isolation, and it’s especially important that we remain connected with our families, friends and neighbours. I know that many people are doing amazing things to support one another in all of our villages – thank you so much to all of you who are joining in with this. I hope that you’ll also have been able to stay as connected a possible with your church, and that you may already have listened to the service podcasts we have made for the last two Sundays – they are available here.
We’ll keep on doing these every Sunday until we’re able to meet in our church buildings again – do please keep listening to them! And then we plan to keep recording our sermons and putting them on the Benefice website every week, so you can still listen, if you can’t come on a particular Sunday, or perhaps if there isn’t a service in your church that week.
Be reassured that God absolutely – especially! – remains with us at times such as these, bringing us His comfort and His peace. As we read in Scripture, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
(Hebrews chapter 10, verses 23-25)
Holy Week is a time of central importance for those of us who follow Jesus. It’s the focal point of our year, as we share in the agonies of Christ’s Passion leading up to Good Friday, and then celebrate the joy of his resurrection on Easter Day. I know that our inability to gather in our churches will be a source of real sadness to many of us. However, there are many ways in which we can continue to participate in prayer and worship, and spend time with our Heavenly Father.
A range of daily online services, reflections and meditations, including Holy Communion (both Common Worship and Book of Common Prayer) is available from the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham throughout Holy Week, led by the Bishop, the Dean and various Diocesan and Minster clergy. Details are here.
A Meditation for Good Friday, with images and music, will also be made available in due course on this website. Paper copies of the Meditation can be circulated to those who wish – please do contact your Church Wardens for these, and they will arrange for you to receive them.
Consecrated bread and wine will be available for all members of our churches, should you wish, in order that you can receive Holy Communion on Easter Day, which I know is very significant to many of us. Do please let your Church Wardens know in advance if you would like these, and they will arrange for you to receive them, whilst maintaining appropriate social distancing measures!
I recommend that, should you wish to participate in a Eucharist on Easter Day, and you have internet access, you join in either:
– 8.00am Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer), led by The Very Reverend Nicola Sullivan, Dean of Southwell Minster; or
– 10.30am Eucharist for Easter Day, with The Right Reverend Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.
I believe that there will be Orders for these services posted on the Southwell Minster website at the time.
Otherwise, Orders of Service for Home Communion, for you to self-administer the consecrated bread and wine, will again be available on the Cranmer Group website. Or, if you would like a paper copy, please do contact your Church Wardens and they will arrange for one to reach you.
And, finally, for those of you who are able to head out for your exercise each day, do look out at Easter itself for how – despite the restrictions on all of us – we’re telling our friends and neighbours about the joy of Christ’s resurrection, and blessing them in small ways.
If there is anything about which you wish to speak with me, and especially if you have any particular requests for me to include in my prayers, please do email, text or call me – my contact details are below.
Although we cannot yet be with you in person – we can’t yet move into Aslockton Vicarage – Clare, Esther and I keep all of you, and your loved ones, in our prayers. Our very best wishes go with you all, and with everyone who lives in our six villages.
Stay safe, and God bless
Rev’d. Tim Chambers
The Cranmer Group
Mobile: 07946 526569