Christmas 2021 with St Mark’s

Jane Nicholson
Jane Nicholson, support worker and personal assistant to Rachel

I am writing on behalf of Rachel this year as her PA and Work Coach.

As many of you may know, Rachel is currently at home and recovering from COVID and COVID Pneumonia. It is likely to be quite a few weeks before we see her back in the hotseat and many of you are joining in our prayers for Rachel and her family as they navigate through this difficult time.

I think that for me as an assistant to Rachel, I have seen far more of the complexity of a vicar’s role and how relentless it can be. We are also determined to keep this show on the road as they say and ensure that Rachel has the time she needs to recover and rest. May I also add that it has also given me a huge insight into how much work is done behind the scenes by our Church Wardens Teresa and Eve in order to keep this Church functioning.

This letter comes to you at a time of further uncertainty as we face more news of increasing Covid cases and new strains of the virus developing. It is vital that we do everything in our power to keep our church goers safe and we are updating our guidelines week by week to ensure that we can continue with our services.

At this time of Advent and preparation for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Rachel has asked me to write to you all so that you have the details of our services and Christmas celebrations. Our Director of Music Leigh has also recently tested positive for Covid so even more uncertainty faces us all at this busy time in the Church calendar.

However, we do continue to do our best and I hope you have seen the notices of events and services in strategic places around our community in Pennington.

Below are details of all the services coming up before Christmas and I hope that you will be able to join us either in the building or online to spend time in worship and celebration.

I think we have all learnt the importance of family connections during this season where many plans for get togethers and celebrations have had to be cancelled or postponed. Our Church family is so important at this time and in particular our need to stay connected with each other. We dearly hope that we can share coffee after a service again in the very near future.

Our current financial position is improving and Rachel has asked me to send out a huge thank you to all of you who continue to support the work of the Church here both in your regular giving and donations for specific requests. We hope that we can depend on your continued support as we navigate our way through the next few difficult weeks.

Many of you will know that Rachel has a huge heart for the community here in Pennington and we had to very carefully consider what we could do to bring Christmas into the community without encouraging large gatherings of people.

From this the Treemendous Campaign was launched and I hope you have seen something of this over the last couple of weeks and will continue to add prayers of encouragement as we light up Pennington this year. There is still time to get involved and the details of the project are attached to this letter.

For many of us Christmas can be a time of loneliness and sadness too as we remember loved ones who will not be with us this year. We are updating our book of remembrance at the moment and if you wish us to include anyone, do please let us know.

Please join us over Christmas and collect “The Heart of Christmas”, a short publication for the season. Please be encouraged to use this for your own quiet reflection throughout the 12 days of Christmas.

This time of year can also be difficult for many financially. The food larder will continue to function throughout the season and do please let people know that all are welcome to come along on Thursday between 1pm and 2.30pm where a selection of ambient and fresh items are available to those who wish to join the Fair Share Scheme.

This letter also gives me the opportunity to share a prayer with you for this season and you might wish to share it with others too as we think about our neighbours and friends who might not yet know the love of Christ in their lives:

Lord Jesus Christ, we look forward to that day when your kingdom shall come and you are all in all. Until then, we will trust in you, secure in your love, confident in your eternal purpose, assured that your will shall be done. To you be praise and glory, now and for evermore. Amen.

We also have the YouTree prayer tree outside the church and it will be there until the end of January 2022 if you wish to add your prayers to the tree. Many of us lift those prayers up every time we see the tree.

May I conclude by wishing you and your families and friends every blessing throughout the Christmas period and we look forward to seeing you in person or online in the near future.

Yours sincerely

Jane Nicholson

Vicar’s PA


Services and Events over Christmas at St Mark’s Church, Pennington

Saturday 11th December10am-12Community Churchyard Day
Sunday 12th December8amBCP Communion
3rd Sunday of Advent10amMorning Praise
Sunday 19th December8amBCP Communion
4th Sunday of Advent10amCarol Service
Wednesday 22nd December6pmFun Carols
Friday 24th December4pmChristingle / Crib service
 7:45pmChristmas Eve Communion (a bit before midnight)
Saturday 25th December10amChristmas Day Communion
Sunday 26th December8amBCP Communion
Sunday 2nd January8amBCP Communion
Epiphany10amCommon Worship Communion

For up to date on all services and events, please see our website

Update on Sunday Services with effect from 12th December

  • 8am – Book of Common Prayer Communion service
  • 10am – Common Worship service
    • 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month – communion
    • 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month – morning praise
  • 11am – Zoom Coffee – a chance to catch up and chat with others from our congregation, join on the phone or online

Given the heightened rates of covid at the moment, and the increased risk, especially for the most vulnerable with the new Omicron variant circulating, we have updated our guidance for attendance at St Mark’s this season.

Masks

Given the rising rates of COVID at the moment, and in line with government advice for shops and public transport, masks are now mandatory at all times when in St Mark’s Church, to help reduce the spread of covid

Distancing

We will continue to have 2m distancing between groups that are seated. Optionally, you can choose other friends / families to be in your group and sit with you, with their consent.

Singing

We will continue to have singing at this time, and everyone will be required to continue wearing masks whilst singing. The back four rows of pews and behind will be a no-singing zone.

Communion

Communion will be in both kinds, with the priest intincting wafers with wine and sharing. Distribution of communion will be at the altar rail. We ask you to stand at the altar rail (not kneel, to reduce sharing / touching the rail.)

Through the week, we continue to share Morning Prayer together with St Thomas, Mondays to Saturdays at 9am. We follow the Church of England Daily Prayer, which is available as a free app on your phone. All are welcome to join occasionally, or every day, as we pray for our parishes.

Online Connection Information

Zoom Details

  • Pennington Church General Zoom link:
    From a landline phone: 0203 481 5240 Meeting ID: 971 631 0618 Passcode: 1839
  • Parish Prayer Zoom Link:
    From a landline phone: 0203 481 5240 Meeting ID: 895 2990 2640 Passcode: 2020

St Mark’s on the internet

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