Harvest Service

Dear parishioners,

As I’m sure you are aware, recent guidelines issued in the last few days are making it mandatory to wear a mask on entering and leaving a church building.  Presumably, there remains the usual health exceptions.  

This Sunday is harvest Sunday and despite all restrictions, we want to warmly welcome you to our church service.

Regards,

Rector 

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Return to Church

                                                                                                                                            August 2020

Dear Parishioner,

I hope all is well with you and that you and all whom you love are keeping safe in these difficult times.  I know that some of you have suffered anxiety, depression, illness and bereavement because of Covid-19 and the ‘Lockdown’ restrictions we have had to endure.  Please be assured that you are constantly in our prayers to move forward step by step with the Lord’s help and strength.

I would like to bring you up to date with what is happening regarding plans to return to Church for worship.  Following the Government’s easing of ‘Lockdown’ restrictions, the Select Vestry and I feel that the time is right to make a return to in-church worship.  This has entailed a lot of preparation and planning, so that the Church can reopen for services from Sunday 6th September 2020.

Initially there will be just one service each Sunday – Lambeg at 10.45a.m.   We pray that services in Hilden will follow soon afterwards but for the moment our guidance is that there should be just one service in each parish.  However, I am also glad to confirm that our Facebook service will continue online at the slightly earlier time of 9.30a.m., also from 6th September.  Also, as usual, it can be accessed by telephone (028 92 508 097) later on Sunday.

The key messages impressed upon us by the Church and Government authorities are that if you or any member of your household are experiencing, or recovering from Coronavirus symptoms, or have any reason to believe that they have been in contact with anybody who has, they should not attend Church or volunteer in any capacity until they have received medical advice that it is safe to do so. 

The Church we return to may feel and appear a little different to what we were normally used to, and in some respects, it may seem a little impersonal.  For example, social-distancing seating will be in place, which will mean that where you normally sit will probably not be available: we will not be allowed to sing hymns or to gather in groups to chat at the back of the church.   To help you deal with these and other changes, we have included in this communication some key information to prepare you for what to expect when you return to in-church worship.  The information that we giving to help us return to church is based on that which has been laid down in guidance set out by the House of Bishops and the Government’s Public Health Agency. 

In closing, suffice to say these are unique times, such as none of us have experienced before.  Some of you, for personal health reasons, may not be ready for such a return to church.  I perfectly understand that.  You can only do what is safe and best, as well as re-assuring for you.  So, while return to church may take time, let’s be confident in the Lord.  With His help we will endure through it, and by God’s will, return to some kind of normality in the weeks and months ahead.  Do please pray for our plans to re-open; for delivery from this plague; for those who are suffering especially at this time; for the work of the NHS and all front-line workers; as well as the development of a successful vaccine so that we can confidently go about our every-day lives in safety.  

Until then, keep safe and well.

Every blessing.

Rector

Lambeg Parish Church – Returning to Church – Sunday 6th September 2020 at 10.45 a.m.

  • First of all, and most importantly, please do not come back to Church if you or any member of your household are experiencing or are recovering from any of the Coronavirus symptoms, i.e., a fever or high temperature, a cough, difficulty breathing or a sudden loss of taste or smell.  Refer to N.H.S. Guidelines in this regard.  Also, if you have any reason to believe that you have been in contact with someone who has the virus, you should not attend Church or volunteer in any capacity until you have received medical advice that it is safe to do so. 
  • Secondly, if you are in an ‘at risk’ or vulnerable category, or are shielding, you should carefully consider when is the right time for you to return.  The virus is still about.
  • If you are bringing infants or young children with you, remember that you will be responsible for them – especially where maintaining social distancing could be a challenge.

 What to bring with you: Your Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), etc.

  • Gloves (recommended);
  • Face covering (optional, but strongly recommended because of the lack of good ventilation in the Church and because sometimes social distancing cannot always be guaranteed);  [This could become compulsory before 5th Sept]
  • Tissues (strongly recommended);
  • Your own hand sanitiser (if you would prefer to use that);
  • A pen (to complete your attendance slip);
  • A coat/umbrella (You could be queuing outside, waiting to enter the Church).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Car Parking:

  • When you park your car beside another car, please ensure that the occupants of that car have moved on before you leave your own car.  This is to ensure that proper social distancing is maintained. 
  • There will be car parking stewards there to help you park.
  • Should there be a lengthy queue waiting to enter the Church, the steward may advise you to wait in your car until it has reduced, especially if it is raining. 
  • The toilet block in the car park will remain closed for the time being but there will be one toilet available inside the Church (in the Clergy Vestry).

Approach to Church:

  • When approaching the Church (which should only be from the car park route), it will be important to observe the social distancing rule of 2 metres.  They are marked.
  • Read the notices on the way in but please do not create any bottlenecks. 
  • We will only be using the main door for entry.  There will be a Steward on duty to assist you enter the Church safely.

Entry to Church:

  • Once again, please do maintain the two metres distancing rule and wait for the Seating Stewards to call you.
  •  There will be a hand sanitiser station inside the door for use on entry.  The sanitiser works on a sensor basis when you hold out your hands and is quick drying. 
  • The Seating Stewards will also provide you with your Order of Service which will include your Attendance Slip.  They can, if need be, also provide you with a pen or pencil to complete same.
  •  You will note that most notices and materials have been removed from our Notice Boards and from the back of the Church.  This is to prevent bottlenecks.

Seating:

  • The Stewards will guide you to your seat on the basis that the first in will go to the front. Unfortunately, people who sat in traditional seats in the past will no longer be able to do so. 
  • Pews have been marked out with two metres gaps and every other pew is closed off.  Individuals from the same household may sit together but otherwise the two metres will be observed.
  •  The choir pews and some chairs will also be used.    You will also note that all seat cushions and kneelers have been removed.

The Service:

  • The Service, including the liturgy and Bible readings, will be printed in an Order of Service leaflet each week.
  • Hymn Books and Prayer Books will not be used and Bibles have been removed from the pews.
  • The Service will be slightly shorter than what you have been used to in the past, in order to reduce the potential for the transmission of the virus.
  • There will be no singing of hymns, etc., for the time being, as this can increase the potential for virus transmission.  The organ/piano may be played at certain stages before, during and after the service.
  • When exiting there will be a basket available for collecting your freewill offering envelopes or Church collections.

Communion Services: Because of the severe restrictions laid down for holding Holy Communion services, it has been decided that for the time being they will be deferred.  It is hoped that this will not last for too long and that in the near future we will be able to return once again to sharing in the Eucharist.

Exiting from the Church:

  • At the end of the service, please remain seated for a short period and the Stewards will direct you in a safe and orderly manner, in pew order, down the aisles to the main door, commencing at the back of the Church;
  • Please continue to maintain social distancing of 2 metres and avoid bottlenecks;
  • Please sanitise your hands again when exiting;
  • Bring your Order of Service, which includes your completed Attendance Slip, with you and deposit it in the designated box; If you received a pen/pencil they can be left there also, or left in the pew;
  • There will also be a plate or basket at the exit to receive your freewill offerings;
  • There will be a pedal-operated bin in which you can place any used PPE (gloves, tissues, face coverings, etc), though you may prefer to bring them home and dispose of them safely there;
  • While we appreciate that you will all want to talk to your many friends and fellow worshippers, we would ask that there be no undue or lengthy socialising or congregating in groups outside the Church or in the carparks.  Remember, the virus will still be about.
  • You will notice that the clergy and those leading the service will not be standing at the back of the Church, or outside, in order to greet you – this has been forbidden, in order to prevent bottlenecks and to maintain social distancing.  If you need to speak to the Rector please feel free to give him a ring at any time. 

Flowers:

 Because of the various risks associated with arranging for fresh flowers in the Church, there will be no Flower Rota in operation for the time being.                                                             

Toilets:

The toilet in the Clergy Vestry will be the only one available.  Please observe the notices regarding hand washing and use the hand sanitiser provided, both before and after using the toilet.

 Attendance Slips:

We will ask all attendees to provide their name(s) and telephone number each Sunday in case there is a need to track and trace them afterwards, because of an outbreak of the virus.  This is a regulatory requirement on the Church. The slips will be kept safe and secure and destroyed afterwards, normally after one month. 

 Volunteers:

There is still an urgent need for volunteers to replace many of the existing teams of people who look after our needs, week by week, but who are now prevented from continuing in these roles because of age limits and health vulnerabilities.  The specific roles to be filled are the Stewards, as described in this letter, and Cleaners who will prepare the Church for the next service.  (This will be done either immediately after the service or after 72 hours have elapsed).  All volunteers will receive full training and will be provided with whatever PPE items are deemed necessary.  There is also a particular need for young ‘Techies’ to come forward to assist us with future proposals to live stream or later stream our services.

COVID–19:

It has been emphatically stressed to us that anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or who has reason to believe that they have been in contact with someone who has, should not attend Church or volunteer in any capacity until they have received medical advice that it is safe to do so.  Should anybody attending Church, whether as a volunteer or not, subsequently contract COVID-19, or show symptoms of it, they should, as well as advising their medical adviser, also advise the Rector as a ‘track and trace’ exercise may be required.

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Organ Scholarship

‘Learn to play the organ with a scholarship from Down & Dromore, and Connor Dioceses

The Church of Ireland is offering a scholarship to any individual, who wants to learn how to play the organ.  Under 18s as well as adults may apply for this scholarship to do this course.  

For further details, please contact the Rector, who will send out all the necessary information and application forms. 

All applications must be in before the 30th August.’

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Return to Church, Latest News

Dear parishioner,

As you know, over the past three months we have all been in ‘lockdown’ because of the highly contagious Covid-19 virus.  Along with many other sectors of society, the churches had to close down, and only recently have been given permission to re-open.   Whilst we have been able to continue to meet virtually through the internet and to follow church services on the telephone, we have missed the warmth of our gathering together in our church buildings and are glad that we are now allowed to return.

However, this return is under strict conditions, which are mandatory before any church can meet.  As the health and safety of our parishioners is paramount, the Select Vestry has started to formulate a safe way back to church and this will take time.  It will be August before the committee appointed to this task reports back to the vestry to give clear direction on how we can fulfil government and church requirements.

Many churches are doing exactly as we are doing and though some may open in July or August, the majority are planning for a September return.  As far as Lambeg parish is concerned, the Vestry is in complete agreement that until everything is fully risk-assessed and we have the volunteers in place, we will not be rushing into re-opening.  We are very much mindful of the age profile of our congregation and that many have been ‘shielding’ at this time: we in no way want to put them at risk when we return to church.  We will only be opening when we feel it is safe to do so.

If you would like to be a volunteer to help in this re-opening process (volunteers must be under 70 with no underlying health issues), please send your name and contact details to our parish secretary or to the Rector, and if you have any queries, do feel free to give us your feedback.  We will of course be keeping you fully informed of our back-to-church timetable as soon as we possibly can.  Until then, continue to listen in to our Facebook service and if going on holiday, have a safe summer break.

Every blessing,

Rector

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Dial – In – Sunday Service

Good news!! From this Sunday you’ll be able to listen in to our service on the phone. Just dial 028 92 508 097 anytime from 12 noon. Calls will be charged at local rate.

We’re delighted, as this means those with no internet access can connect with us on a Sunday morning.  Also, if anyone would like to listen to our weekday messages this too will be available half an hour after they been recorded live.

If you know someone this would be useful for, please let them know!

Rector

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Latest News:

Latest News:    Coronna Virus – Lambeg Graveyard

Dear all, Lambeg graveyard will be open for the normal hours from Saturday morning with the following restrictions in place: please observe all government regulations concerning social distancing. – Visitors showing any symptoms of Coronavirus should not enter this graveyard. – Visitors to the Graveyard must socially distance themselves by at least two metres from anybody else in the graveyard. (This does not apply to members already living in the same household). – There should be a gap of at least two metres between parked cars. – Visits to the graveyard should be kept to a short duration. – Visitors should bring their own water and water containers – water taps should not be used (They have been disabled for public safety purposes). – Dead foliage should be brought home or may be placed in the graveyard skip but water containers of any type should be brought home. – Remember, this graveyard normally closes at 6p.m. – Please see notice on the main gate.’
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Making Jesus ‘mega’

What a letter – Paul’s letter to the Philippians! So encouraging and so challenging. Here we see a warm, loving relationship and partnership between the Apostle and a church that he himself had founded.

He wants them to advance the Gospel with him. To do that they need to be united, serving one another as Christ served them, i.e., looking to put others first. The only way this can happen is by making Jesus ‘mega’!

This comes from Paul’s desire to see Jesus exalted in his own life (v.20). The word literally means to make mega or we might say ‘super-size’. Paul wants them to glorify Jesus in three areas.

He wants them and every Christian to magnify Jesus in the world by speaking his word to the world (v.14). He wants them to make Jesus mega in the church (vv.15-17). He rebukes genuine Christians for their rivalries, envy and selfish ambition in the church. The priorities of Jesus come before anything else. He is to be central. And thirdly, he wants them to magnify Jesus in their own lives by making progress in the Gospel (v.25). As they grow in their understanding and living out of the Gospel in their own lives, Christ is magnified, super-sized, glorified!

It’s all about glorifying Jesus whether it’s our evangelism, the internal life of our churches, or our individual lives. Let’s super-size Jesus, make him mega, glorify him in the world, the church, and our lives.

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Freewill Offering

In my letter dated 19th March I mentioned that in order to enable the work of the church to continue, anyone who gives by FWO envelope can either consider temporarily switching to a Standing Order or deliver their envelope to the Rectory. Given the current Government restrictions you can also post a cheque directly to the Treasurer with details of your FWO envelope number on the reverse of the cheque. Please contact Angela Sloan if you require any further details on the above.  
Do please keep safe and well.
Every blessing

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Keeping In Touch

We have a number of things to keep the Lambeg and Hilden parish family in touch with each other on a regular basis.

We have a Lambeg Parish WhatsApp group set up.  To join, use your mobile to join What’sApp and once you’ve done that, contact me by text to add you to the group.  My mobile is 07484161345

We also have a Lambeg Parish Facebook page, which I’m using on Sundays (beginning this Sunday) at 11am to do a live, short broadcast and talk with the parish.

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Watch this space

Lambeg Parish Church has been witnessing to the Gospel of Christ from the beginning of the l4th century and possibly even earlier. Generations of men,women and children have had their spiritual needs met by a church that has accommodated itself to the changing conditions of the area.
Beginning as a rural parish for centuries, it became an industrial region with the setting up of paper, linen, and thread industries. Thousands were employed in these industries,which achieved world-wide renown. The influx of workers led to rebuilding schemes in the church to accommodate the growing number of people living within  the parish boundaries. Today, the parish of Lambeg has become a suburban parish, with new housing, even within old estates such as Clonmore and Hilden. Whilst times have changed, people and their spiritual needs remain the same, sinners in need of God’s grace. As Jesus Christ, the Lord, remains the same, ‘yesterday, today and forever’, the Gospel proclaimed to generations in the past needs to be proclaimed to the present generation of people within our parish. God’s church is always on mission until Christ returns. To that end, we need to explore together as a parish how we move forward with the Gospel in this era of Lambeg’s history.How do we reach a new generation? How can we develop our witness today?
Hopefully, later this year, we can explore this together in a ‘Parish Consultation’ as we consider our responsibility of witnessing to our generation about the wonderful Good News of Jesus Christ.
So, watch this space

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