Rector’s Letters

28th June 2020

Dear Team
Two big things.
Firstly is the news that we can start opening for public worship from the 4th July. This is great news, but it will bring with it its fair share of complications and challenges. We will be starting on the 5th July with one church per Cluster being open for Sunday worship. We’ve decided on this approach for a few reasons; to gauge demand, to limit the number of churches that need extensive cleaning, to obviate the need for calling on older clergy, space considerations and parking availability. I would be surprised if we had large numbers of people attending as many of our worshippers are in high risk categories, in fact if you are at risk I would encourage you to remain at home. The churches which will be open for Sunday worship will be St Swithun’s, Leonard Stanley (no toilet will be available), St Cyr, Stonehouse and St Mary’s, Frampton-on- Severn.

We must recognise that the able people in these three churches are going to be put under additional pressure with cleaning and so on, could I urge those who are able to help with cleaning to make themselves available after the service for half an hour or so to help clean? I will certainly be doing so. I would say to those in leadership in the churches which are opening that if being available for public worship is a burden on them then I will encourage them to close again except for private prayer. We really do need to pull together and get over any parochialism we may feel, this is about the Kingdom of God, not churches.

Spiritual communion will be celebrated at these services, where the clergy only will consume the elements after consecration on behalf of the people of God.      The 3 services will all be at 9:30,                                                                                   we will continue with our Zoom services at 11:00.

Secondly, we have a new logo. Our deepest thanks to Luke Briner who is designing our website as he has made this possible for us to do. The old logo was an interim one Liz did for us, but it didn’t translate well onto social media etc. The S logo encapsulates 3 elements of who we are; the sinuous curves of the Severn and our canals, the greens and blues of grass, trees and water and stained glass which is so much a part of all our churches. I didn’t think I needed to mention the ‘S’ of Stroudwater, but I have.

Thank you for your encouragement, for being part of our worship, for our leaders, for your hard work in opening churches, for your love and care. Please look after yourselves, do what you can, but don’t be guilty for not doing what you shouldn’t. God is with us and He loves us and He can see the hopes and desires of our hearts.

Rev Steve Harrison