Update on Sunday Worship

Dear Friends,

We have continued to watch closely the developments with regard to the lockdown.  In consultation with the Ministry Team and Churchwardens, based on ever growing concerns of the new variant, and the increasing message from central government to 'stay at home' I have made the difficult decision to suspend communal worship until the end of January.  However, we will continue to offer Individual Private Prayer in Towcester and Greens Norton, as well as  our zoom services of: Morning Prayer at 9am Monday to Saturday and Sunday at 10:15am. 

This week I started a 12 month leadership course, offered by the diocese and delivered via zoom.  I've heard great things about the course and really am looking forward to sharing with you some of my reflections and learning.  In our very first session we were asked to consider the words in Declaration of Assent - which is made by deacons, priests and bishops of the Church of England when they are ordained and on each occasion when they take up a new appointment.  These are the words that were said at my institution as Rector here in September 2019 "to profess the faith... the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation".  Whilst I have reflected on this phrase before, it has become even more challenging and exciting in the past 12 months. There is no rule book or set of instruction to deal with a pandemic or the closure of churches. Let alone how we continue to offer worship, prayer and teaching.  In our cohort group, each church, each ministry team, each member of clergy has done their best, with the resources they have. At times it has felt like 'muddling through', but there has also been a real sense of being in it together and it has been exciting to see people growing in their confidence offering to help in reading or leading prayers, as well as behind the scenes with the technology.    

Over the last 7 months it has been exciting to see new ideas grow and take shape. Time4Tea is one of these new ideas, which you might have noticed a small mention to in last weeks 'Worship for...' section.  The first zoom session was on Wednesday with Revd Angela, Jane Small & Mary Blanchard both surprised and delighted by the number who joined them.  Another idea that has developed is Men Not at the Bull.  This group met pre-COVID monthly at The Bull in Towcester, but with lockdown has now become a zoom group who have met a couple of times.  Both these groups are benefice wide opportunities to meet new people, as well as chance to check in and catch up with one another just like we would if we could meet up face to face,.  If you would like to join either of these groups please look out for details in the mailing or contact the office.  You will most definitely find a warm and encouraging welcome.

Do you remember my first sermon as Rector, about three cups of tea and this quote? The village elder said "If you want to thrive here you must respect our ways. First time you share tea, you are a strangers. The second time you take tea you are our honoured guest. The third time you share a cup of tea you become family, and for our family we will do anything, even die."  

As lockdown continues, let us not focus on what we can't do, but on what we can. As we find new ways in which we can share three cups of tea and discover new ways to proclaim afresh the faith to this generation and one another.  

With prayers and blessings.  

Revd Paula Challen
Rector Tove Benefice

Update on Sunday Worship

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