Last reviewed: 22:59pm 20/03/2020

Coronavirus – or COVID-19 – is a new virus that has quickly spread to all continents and poses risk to those older in our communities, as well as those who may have certain underlying health conditions.

  • The Church of England have released guidance for churches and congregations in regards to the Coronavirus – click here to read more.
  • The government also have information available for the public too; click here to read this.
  • The NHS have a website giving advice here.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) have information available here.

How are St Mark’s dealing with Coronavirus?

Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of our congregation, volunteers and staff.

In light of advice from NHS, government and the Church of England, we are taking the following actions:

  • All of our current planned events and groups are cancelled for the foreseeable future.
  • Our spring fair, originally for the 21st March, is postponed (further updates when we can confirm when this will be).
  • The Church of England is suspending all public worship. There will therefore be no Sunday or mid-week services until further notice.

We intend to live stream a Sunday morning service, meaning those who would normally join us for communal worship may still experience the service through our Facebook page, or via Youtube. This will be linked to from our homepage directly.

An update from Rachel…

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to all Parishes and the peoples of the Church to state most clearly that all public worship in Church of England Churches is to cease with immediate effect and for the foreseeable future.

With this clarity all Sunday services, midweek services and midweek events will be cancelled until further notice, this includes the coffee mornings, craft groups, Spring Fair and Litter Pick that were due to take place. If you are currently down on any rota for making coffee, for doing flowers, for any other contribution to our day to day activities at church, all of these are now cancelled.

This is the correct decision and is based on the current Government advice and on our commitment as the Church to the safety of all.

Live Stream Service

On Sunday mornings, at 9:30am, we will share a service of holy communion online through YouTube. All are welcome to join us virtually from your home, follow this link to find us. Please do not come to the church for that service, as we are not able to hold public worship at this time.

Take Part

To help everyone to continue to feel that they are taking part in our worship, we invite you send us in a photo of yourself, and your family if you choose, that we will print and add on to our pews. Please email to ‘takepart@penningtonchurch.uk‘ or post it to us at ‘Take Part, St Mark’s Church Vicarage, 29 Ramley Road, Pennington, SO41 8HF‘ Any photos may appear in our video livestream, so please only send photos that you are happy to be used in this way.

Reverend Rachel will continue to pray Morning and Evening Prayer and where possible celebrate the Eucharist, but these will not be public services, rather they will be offerings of prayer and praise on behalf of the people of God.

Like many others in the Parish, we will be praying for you all, for those already sick, for those who are caring for the sick, the NHS, for those currently healthy, for our schools and for the whole of our village and country.

Say One for Me

If there is anything you would particularly like us to pray for, please email us a prayer on ‘sayoneforme@penningtonchurch.uk‘ or post it to us at ‘Say One For Me, St Mark’s Church Vicarage, 29 Ramley Road, Pennington, SO41 8HF ‘.

Phone Tree and Contact Details

We are formulating plans to help those who are having to or choosing to self isolate, and to help us to all stay in touch with each other. To help us with these plans, we would really appreciate it if you would complete the attached form, to ensure that we have your most up to date contact details and return it to us as soon as possible. At a recent event, we also realised that we do not have next of kin details for people, and there may be extreme occasions where it would be important for us to contact a next of kin on your behalf. If you are happy for us to hold these details (these would be available only to our vicar, Revd Rachel Noël and kept in the church safe in case of an emergency.)

Finance

In these unusual times, the work of the church continues, even though our regular pattern of services and events is disrupted. Apart from the cost of heating the church, very few of our outgoings are affected by this. A few people have asked what they can do to support us. Please continue to keep giving to the church. If your usual pattern is to give via weekly envelopes, please contact Teresa Nivison, 07541 842025 to arrange monthly collection. If you are able to consider giving via our planned giving scheme, which allows you to set up a direct debit, please also contact Teresa.

Churchyard Hedge

As you are aware, we were already working on knitted and crocheted spring flowers for our churchyard hedge. We have decided to extend this, and are encouraging people to continue knitting & crocheting flowers, or other symbols of love, hope and peace. There are drop off points at One Stop and Visual Vibes. Please do not take them into Pennington Pharmacy. If you are making them at home, and self-isolating, please contact Dorothy Davies (01590-676163) when you have completed a number of them, who will arrange for them to be picked up from you.

Archbishop’s Call to Prayer

The Archbishops and Bishops have called for a National Day of Prayer and Action this coming Mothering Sunday (22nd March) They encourage everyone to light a candle at 7pm and put it in your window, ring someone who is isolated and vulnerable, buy an extra item and place it in your local food bank, keep your night shelters open.

Basics Bank

Please do continue to support New Forest Basics Bank through all our local supermarkets. They are particularly short of tinned tuna, tinned vegetables, tinned tomatoes, tinned cold meats, dry pasta, pasta sauce, tinned meatballs or spaghetti, tinned hotdogs, tinned Big Soup (with potatoes), tinned potatoes, rice pudding and custard and biscuits. Please do continue to ensure that we support the most vulnerable in our communities.

Other Information

Advice is coming out from the Church of England, with regard to weddings, funerals and baptisms, which will all be limited to very small numbers.

As I’m sure you are aware, advice is updating all the time regarding Coronavirus, and we are continuing to develop our plans. If you have thoughts or suggestions on how we can best continue to work together, to support and encourage each other in our faith and daily lives, in this new world that we are all navigating, I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re not already, please sign up on our website penningtonchurch.uk to receive our email newsletter and regular updates.

Please hold us all in your daily prayers.

Remembering our strapline ‘inspiring love for everyone‘, my prayer is that through this season, we will grow in love, hope, courage and peace, and continue to find creative ways to care for each other through this season, while keeping ourselves and each other safe.

With my daily prayers

Rev Rachel