Covid-19 update: what does Tier 4 mean for St Mark’s?

Tier 4 'stay at home' poster

Little did I know, when I wrote you two weeks ago, that we would now be entering Tier 4 in the New Forest. You will no doubt already be aware of many of the Tier 4 restrictions and the strong stay at home messaging.

In conversation with the Standing Committee here at St Mark’s Church, Pennington and in consultation with the Area Dean, we have decided that for the time being there will be no services in the building at St Mark’s Church. This will be with immediate effect, and so from Sunday 3rd January there will be no 9am service at St Mark’s. Our weekly worship will continue online at 10am on Sundays.

This is an enormously difficult and sad decision to have to take, and we have not done so lightly.

This is not an easy decision on one level, depriving people of the Holy Sacrament. But on another level, with Infection levels rocketing, I hear from hospital chaplains and emergency service personnel around the country that they are being stretched to the limit, hospitals are finding it difficult to cope; on this level it becomes the necessary decision to make here.

Our priority must be to ensure the safety and well being of our community here at St Mark’s, and the wider community in Pennington, and also those of us that lead in this place. As you know from earlier in the year, I am one of the people with underlying health conditions that make me particularly vulnerable to covid, and as we now reach tier 4, with the advice to Stay at Home, this becomes more challenging for me too.

We envisage that the building will remain closed for public worship for the whole of January, but please rest assured we will keep the situation under careful review. 

We will continue to work closely with our neighbours, St Thomas’ Church in Lymington – and together we will continue offering our online weekly service at 10am on Sundays on YouTube and Facebook. For those of you that are not able to use the internet, we will be streaming this service into zoom too, and you are welcome to phone in and listen to the service (details below).

St Thomas Church have taken the decision to also suspend in-building services for the time being also – however, both churches are very welcome to join us for our online service from 10am each Sunday.

I know this news will come as a great blow to so many of us. Please continue to pray for one another at this difficult time, and do join us for worship online, and join us for conversation in zoom if you are able. I am also very happy to meet with people on Zoom or over the phone for a coffee and chat. Just drop me an email (vicar@penningtonchurch.uk) or phone 01590 462022 and we can fix up a time.

Finance

We are facing some significant challenges with our finances as we enter 2021. Usually we would have significant income from our bookings at the hall, most of which are not currently able to take place and we would have held various fundraising events which have also not been possible.

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. We still need to pay our Common Mission Fund for the diocese, which is mostly used to pay towards the costs of having clergy, we still need to pay all our usual commitments for insurance and other bills, maintenance of the building, care of the churchyard and hedge and all the usual running costs of the church.

If you are able to help in anyway, any gift small or large is very appreciated. 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, or register online at parishgiving.org.uk with our Parish Code: 416011301

For some in our congregation, this season you have continued to receive the same income, with outgoings perhaps being less with holidays and meals out not currently being possible. Whilst for others in our congregation, this season has brought with it financial insecurity, threat of redundancy, and significant challenges. Please prayerfully discern what you are able to offer.

Weekly Pattern in Tier 4

Monday to Thursday & Saturday

  • 9am Lymington & Pennington Daily prayer on zoom
    (meeting id: 895 2990 2640 password: 2020)

Monday

  • 10:30am – 12 noon – Weekly study group. Meeting from 11th January via Zoom
    (meeting id: 971 631 0618 password: 1839)

Wednesdays

  • 10:15am – Social coffee and chat on zoom
    (meeting id: 971 631 0618 password: 1839)
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm Weekly study group. Meeting from 13th January via Zoom
    (meeting id: 971 631 0618 password: 1839)

Sundays

  • 10am – Pennington and Lymington Online shared service on Youtube and Facebook
    service also streamed into zoom (meeting id: 971 631 0618 password: 1839)
  • After service – social coffee and chat on zoom (meeting id: 971 631 0618 password: 1839)

Zoom details

to phone in and listen for Sunday services, or to join for coffee / chat on Sundays from 10:45am or on Wednesdays from 10:15am

  • Meeting id: 971 631 0618
  • Password: 1839
  • To phone in, please dial 0203 695 0088. You will hear:
  • “Welcome to Zoom, enter your meeting id followed by hash”
  • The meeting id you need to enter is: 971 631 0618 #
  • You will then hear it say “Enter your participant id followed by hash, otherwise just press hash”. You need to enter #
  • You will then hear it say “Please enter your password, followed by hash”, you need to enter 1839#
  • You will then be part of a conference call, and you will be able to talk to others from the church that have already joined it.

After the service on Sundays, from about 10:45am, and again on Wednesday mornings from 10:15am we have a social time on zoom. All are welcome to join us for this, either online, or by phoning in, using the details at the end.


My prayer is that through this season, we will grow in love, hope, courage and peace, and that there will be glimpses of light and joy for you this unusual season.

With my daily prayers,

Rev Rachel Noël,
Priest in Charge

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