My dear friends,
I’ll begin this month’s letter with a huge ‘Thank You’ to those who helped prepare the Parish Lunch we held at the beginning of September: while it felt strange cooking for large numbers again it was a welcome step to adjusting to life with the inevitable restrictions we are going to have to live with, I suspect, for some time to come.
Having re-introduced singing at the Parish Mass last month from the beginning of October the celebrant will once again invite the congregation to exchange the sign of peace. I do this reflecting on how small signs have developed since public worship resumed in July last year and would urge that it is in this way we move on, quietly exchanging ’The Peace’ with those near to us for as I said this morning it is Jesus’ peace that is exchanged and spread throughout the assembly not that of individuals within that gathering. The time for personal greeting, that too will begin again in October, is over a cup of tea or coffee when Mass is over. On both of these subjects we need to continue to respect each other and recognise that we all have differing opinions as to how close each feels: this is easy to gauge within the social scenario but in the liturgy still requires that we do not turn back.
The beginning of October, as per our tradition, is the time in our urban setting when we give thanks to God for his gifts to sustain our lives, otherwise known as Harvest Thanksgiving. After consultation with school colleagues we have decided that this year our thanksgiving offerings will be to support the Afghan refugees expected in our city so we would ask for gifts of non perishable (and in date!) foods or of warm clothing.
We shall continue to keep a record of those who attend Sung Masses as a precautionary measure however with more “going on” during our Sunday Worship I am anxious to free up the Wardens to be more readily available and not be on the door. To this end I have asked for a rota of volunteers to be drawn up to act as ‘Ministers of Welcome’ that does not replace the legally required appointed ‘Sides People’ elected by the PCC.
When you look at the Mass Kalendar you will see that there are several blanks at the end of the month. I am looking forward to taking the second half of my holiday in search of warmth and Fr. Andrew has dates for his eye surgery. At the time of publishing we do not know the requirements for self-isolation he will have to fulfil so please watch the weekly sheet for further details. I am however grateful to a friend of ours, Fr. Richard Harper, for agreeing to celebrate and preach on October 24th and I am sure you will make him welcome.
Looking to the future, even before the cards appeared in the shops, we have begun thinking of our ‘Winter Wonderland’ that will take place on November 27th. For this we shall need some new stall holders and supporters so please keep the date and the Friday afternoon free.
With Love and Prayers
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