Latest news from the Rector
The latest news from Holy Trinity Church in Ramsgate.
As your parish priest, I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is my prayer that you are all well and coping with the effects of the government directive to Stay Home, Stay Safe!
As well as my weekly telephone calls to a very long list of parishioners, I am also aware that I do not have contact details for everyone, so this is to bring you up to speed with what is happening at Holy Trinity, despite the lockdown.
First the official situation from the Church of England. Many people are asking me when we might return to the Church building for public worship. I cannot of course answer that question, only time will tell, and it will eventually be a UK Government decision. The current situation is as follows: The House of Bishops of The Church of England have stated : “It is imperative that as the Church of Jesus Christ, called to offer hope and light in the darkness of this world’s ills, we maintain a praying presence for our community, though at this time this must happen from our hearts and from our homes.”
“Our Church buildings are closed but the Church must continue to support and encourage our communities making use of telephones and other forms of technology to keep in touch with people and ensure pastoral care is maintained, and as shepherds of Christ’s flock we are committed to making this happen.”
On specific questions the bishops make clear that:
Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.
Funerals can only happen at the crematorium or at the graveside.
Only immediate family members can attend.
That is defined as a spouse or partner, parents and children – all maintaining a physical distance.
Live streaming of a service is still permissible from homes and clergy are encouraged to be as creative as possible with streaming services and other resources.
Foodbanks should continue where possible under strict guidelines and may have to move to be delivery points, not places where people gather.
To this end I have as Rector, live streamed Mass at 9:30am on Facebook with a recording for later follow up direct from the Rectory Oratory Chapel. Our Director of Music is also live streaming music at 11:00am every Sunday from his home. I am also offering Sunday reflections on our Facebook page and the Parish Website to match the Gospel of the Day. We have offered The Way of the Cross devotions on Facebook which are still available to use as a devotion, and Colleen Kite, one of our Choir members, has produced some very powerful mediations to use at home which are to be found on our Web site with links via Facebook pages.
Our Church School
We continue to support and pray for our Church school every day at 9:00am and 5:00pm in our Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer. I must pay tribute to our Head teacher, Erin Price and her deputy, Steffi Egan and all staff for their unstinting care of pupils at this time. We are managing to remain open for a few children who need that special care and I hear that they are having such fun, so much so that the allotment and pond are amazing due to the care from the staff and children. Thank you all.
Signs of New Life and New Hope
Even though our Church building is closed, it has been checked each day and the Blessed Sacrament lamp is kept burning to remind us of the continuous presence of Jesus in our midst. But I am really pleased to report that despite our not being in the building, the work of God’s Church goes on.
Each week we post a You Tube video of the Sunday Gospel on the Sunday School Facebook page with printable worksheets for the children. People are telephoning each other in a caring way, and yet respecting Data Protection rules. Just be aware that the use of some social media is borderline when it comes to protecting people and their legal right to privacy.
Despite not being able to hold our Annual Parish Meeting as planned, and as of this time we cannot say when this will be allowed to take place, I can report as your parish priest that many of our congregation have responded well to God’s call in their lives. As I said last week online, this is a good time to reflect and pray about your own commitment to our church and its future ministry. It is a great joy that I can report a number of people have signalled that they are willing to serve on our PCC. We also have two people answering God’s call to stand for election as Churchwardens in the new coming term of the PCC. These are all signs of new life and growth and are very encouraging, and remind us of our shared responsibilities within our Church family.
Since the very sudden death of Liz Somers-James, we are in urgent need of a Church Treasurer. We are open to see this task being shared if needed, with various ares of the role carried out among different people with the right skills and gifts. Please speak with Fr Paul if you can offer us your help in this important role.
2020 sees our Patronal Festival celebrating 175 years of Holy Trinity Church. We wait to see what might happen as to whether we will be back in the Church by June 7th – The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.
Planning our exit strategy!
As of this time we still have no idea when we will be allowed to return to public worship. Only this week the Church of England has updated its guidelines to the clergy, and we are still very much under strict rules for our Churches to remain closed. That said, whenever we do return, we shall celebrate in style! I have deliberately not blessed or lighted the new 2020 Paschal candle, but this will be done when we re-enter the Church. Our Mass that day, whenever it may be, will I guarantee, be a magnificent celebration for all our people and end with a very special party!
Finally, please do not hesitate to contact me at The Rectory on 654102 or my mobile 07934854973 for any need you may have.
Yours in Christ,