22nd November 2020

We recently surveyed the congregation to see how people are engaging with church in the current situation with the COVID threat apparently easing (praise God!) but still present. As promised, I am outlining its findings and some plans.

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded. We received plenty of thankful and encouraging feedback, for which the ministry team is very grateful.

A number of our 8 am-ers are attending the 10 am service and enjoying it. Some have even suggested we combine the two morning services! Others are very keen for us to bring 8 am back in person ASAP. Because of the need for COVID safe volunteers, this is not absolutely straightforward. With this in mind, the Parish Council has decided that we should aim to restart 8 am in person in late January, assuming that we have enough volunteers to fill the COVID safe roster.

Our recorded service on YouTube has filled an important role since March. Many have expressed appreciation for it. I am grateful to everyone who has given time to record it, to our musicians and particularly to Andrew Goddard, who has done a sterling job of editing every edition! With lower numbers accessing this service now, the time is approaching to stop producing it every week. (I note that St Andrew’s Cathedral is ceasing its high budget YouTube production this week!) We still plan to provide a recorded
sermon, and other occasional video content for the fans of our YouTube channel!

Don’t forget that we also hold a live online service every Sunday morning at 8 am, on Zoom.

At the moment our 10 am service operates under COVID safe conditions, including that we cannot sing congregationally, and that we have a sanitised communion with no common cup. Based on our bishop’s advice and on the Parish Council’s desire to be doing our utmost to stop the spread, we have made the decision to keep these COVID safe practices for the time being. It is possible that these restrictions will be eased in the next few months, but at this moment, we cannot say for certain. I am keenly aware that these restrictions make church a little less warm and natural. However, it is encouraging to see how many people appreciate our services even with these restrictions.

Finally, in light of having had no Fireworks or Fair this year, we will be holding the first Carols at St Jude’s – an outdoor carols event with BBQ and family fun activities, on Sunday 13th December, starting at 4 pm. It will be great fun. Please plan to come and volunteer to help. There is plenty to do!

Because of the Carols, we will not be holding the Sunday School pageant this year, but there will still be a Sunday School prize giving and a warm thank you to all of our teachers on Sunday morning the 13th.

Lessons and Carols is also going ahead, with a modified musical program because we cannot sing congregationally, on Sunday 20th December at 7.30 pm.