Last Updated on December 16, 2020 by Alex Bienfait
This week’s notices:
For a copy of this week’s notice sheet please see our ‘Services’ page.
When the pandemic struck, I put on hold plans to leave the parish in April 2020. Now, as we all can look forward to a degree of normality returning in 2021,
I have now announced that I will leave my ministry here in Biddenden and Smarden at the end of January 2021, my last Sunday being Sunday 31 January. It will be the Sunday when we celebrate Candlemas (see below). My ministry here started just a few days ahead of the feast of Candlemas 2007, so it now completes 14 years.
As of 2nd August, it became mandatory to wear face coverings in church.
There are many things to remember when wearing a face covering and the Church of England has issued a very informative document, which we encourage you to read by clicking here but we would like to highlight a few things:-
- A face covering protects others more than it protects you and therefore should not be thought of as a replacement to the best practices of physical distancing and hand washing – you should still try and keep at least 2 metres from others where possible and wash or sanitise your hands regularly.
- The face covering is designed to be worn over the mouth and nose – not one or the other and certainly not around the chin/neck or on the forehead – either cover your mouth and nose or remove the face covering completely.
- Do not touch the part of the face covering that is over your mouth and nose – this is where any concentration of the virus (or anything else) will be – if you need to adjust the face covering or take it on or off then do so by using the straps or ties rather than touching the main body of fabric.
- You should wash or sanitise your hands each time you put the mask on and each time you take the mask off – you might want to bring your own small bottle of hand sanitiser to make this easier.
You obviously need to remove your face covering to take communion – the Church of England has helpfully said that is acceptable! Bearing in mind the points above, please don’t just slip it up or down – you should remove it completely using the straps or ties and hold it by the straps/ties before replacing it after you have taken communion and sanitise your hands.
These are new experiences for us all and we have had little time to digest the latest guidance. The advice and what happens in reality will no doubt evolve over time (we will do our best to keep you updated!) but we hope that this information is helpful ahead of the service on Sunday.
The opening of Smarden and Biddenden Churches.
Smarden church is now open for private individual prayer (Biddenden cannot currently open due to subsidence issues). Please check the weekly notice sheet, see link above, as will be closing the churches after Sunday services, Baptisms and Weddings, to all the church to self cleanse.
We have been required to make adjustments within the building, to minimise infection risks. You will find instructions and information in each church but, to give an indication, the following are some of things we have done
- There is hand sanitiser in the porch which must be used before entering the church and also when leaving
- Areas of each church have been cordoned off to minimise certain risks and we ask to you respect this
- Lavatory and kitchen facilities will not be in use
- We cannot leave out bibles or other books as these could be used by multiple people and therefore pose a risk but there will be ‘single use’ sheets of paper to aid prayer and, if you have one and would like to, please bring your own bible
Opening our churches is a positive step on our journey out of the lockdown and, while we are still not able to come together for public acts of worship in our churches, we hope that being able to access the buildings for private prayer will bring comfort and hope as we navigate through these challenging times.
To encourage your prayer:
Some resources to support and encourage in prayer at this time:
Links to Smart phone apps:
The Church of England:
A daily bible verse from the community of Taize:.
Taize bible verse. Scroll to bottom of page for link to load onto smart phones.
Scripture Union App – Subscription
Bible Reading Fellowship: Day by day with God: Rooting women’s lives in the Bible – Subscription
Bible Reading Fellowship Guidelines: Bible Study more in depth bible study – Subscription
Bible Reading Fellowship: New Daylight – Subscription
Lectio365 – Daily reading and meditation – Free
Those interested in keeping up to date with the Sunday readings:
APCM and Electoral Roll 2020
Due to the Covid 19 Crisis, Diocesan House have stated that APCM dates and Electoral Rolls can be rescueduled up to 31st October 2020.
The new APCM dates are as follows:-
- Biddenden APCM will be Monday 19th October 2020 at 7.30pm for 8pm start
- Smarden APCM will be Wednesday 16th October 2020 at 7.30pm for 8pm start
We will also amend the Electoral Roll processing accordingly and send out relevant notices asap.