Interregnum news: 2 October 2022 thumbnail

Interregnum news: 2 October 2022

The following Interregnum newsletter was printed and handed out at both churches in the Parish on 2 October:

This is a reminder about the Parish open meeting the PCC has arranged at 5:00pm on
8 October 2022 in St Mary & St Giles church when you can learn more about the respective perspectives of Forward in Faith and The Society as well as Anglo-Catholic priests who are in favour of the ordination of women. If you need a lift to the meeting, please speak to any PCC member. You can ask questions, hear comments from others and reflect on your perspective before telling the PCC your views via a questionnaire which will be handed out at the end of the meeting for return by 16 October 2022. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you will be able to obtain a copy of the questionnaire on 9 October in both churches or by contacting Anna Page 07944 192921.

Please read the information the PCC has been gathering which is now available in both churches. We have also provided all the information in a document hosted on the Parish website for you to read online or download and print

The questionnaire is also designed to gather your views on how we worship God in our churches; this will inform what we write in the Parish Profile document which introduces our Parish to priests who might apply to be our Rector.

Timetable for the interregnum

8 October 2022 at 5pm open meeting and questionnaires handed out.

By 16 October 2022 all completed questionnaires to be returned to Anna Page who will analyse them and prepare a report for the PCC.

15 November 2022 date allocated for an interim PCC meeting to discuss the report findings if required.

29 November 2022 is the PCC meeting in which there will be a PCC vote on the Resolution under the House of Bishops Declaration relating to the ordination of women priests and the consecration of women bishops.

We don’t have exact dates yet for the next part of the timetable.

Once the PCC has voted on whether to retain or rescind the Resolution, the following documents, currently in draft, can be updated and finalised to reflect the findings of the questionnaire about the style of worship and type of Priest this Parish prefers:

  • Parish profile document (which tells candidates all about our parish)
  • Person specification for the parish priest
  • Job advertisement for the parish priest

This will be done in conjunction with guidance from the Diocese.

Once these documents are finalised, the job will be advertised, with the Parish profile and person specification providing helpful information to prospective candidates. The documents will also be published on the Parish website.

Parish Representatives on the Interview panel

The panel which will be responsible for short-listing and interviewing candidates will consist of the same balance of people regardless of whether the PCC votes to retain or rescind the Resolution. We have been advised by the Diocese that it is usual for the Parish representatives to be people who are in agreement with the decision of the PCC relating to the resolution.

The PCC will need to appoint two Parish representatives to serve on the short-listing and interviewing panel. Their duties will include:

  • reading all the applications
  • attending a short-listing meeting to discuss the applications and decide which prospective candidates to interview
  • possibly visiting the parishes where the selected candidates are currently based, to see the priests taking a service
  • interviewing the candidates with the panel, this includes asking some of the interview questions (provided by the Diocese)
  • participating in the discussion afterwards about each candidate and deciding who to appoint as the Parish priest

The two parish representatives do not need to be members of the PCC, so if you would like to be considered for this role, please speak to the PCC Secretary Susi Crompton.

The short-listing and interview panel is likely to consist of the following people:

  1. Archdeacon of Buckingham The Venerable Guy Elsmore, patron appointed by the Diocese
  2. Another patron appointed by the Diocese
  3. Rev Tim Norwood, MK Area Dean
  4. David Thom, Lay Chair of MK Deanery Synod
  5. Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton representative
  6. Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton representative

We understand the interview process usually includes an opportunity for members of the parish congregations to meet the prospective candidates the day before the interviews take place and feedback their impressions to the Parish representatives on the interview panel, however more details about the interview process will be shared once the PCC has received further guidance from the Diocese.

Interregnum news: 25 September 2022 thumbnail

Interregnum news: 25 September 2022

The following Interregnum newsletter was printed and handed out at both churches in the Parish on 25 September:

In last week’s Interregnum news we explained about the Parish open meeting the PCC has arranged at 5:00pm on 8 October 2022 in St Mary & St Giles church when you can learn more about the respective perspectives of Forward in Faith and The Society as well as
Anglo-Catholic priests who are in favour of the ordination of women. If you need a lift to the meeting, please speak to any PCC member. You can ask questions, hear comments from others and reflect on your perspective before telling the PCC your views via a questionnaire which will be handed out at the end of the meeting for return by 16 October 2022. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you will be able to obtain the questionnaire on 9 October in both churches or by contacting Anna Page 07944 192921.

The next Interregnum newsletter will outline the timetable and process for the Interregnum.

The PCC has been gathering information which we plan to put on display in both churches as there are several pages of information to read. We also plan to provide all the information in a document hosted on the Parish website for you to read online or download and print.

In the meantime, you may wish to read the following which forms part of the information the PCC has compiled:

Factsheet: Women priests in the Church of England (2019) (written in 2019)

Women have now been able to become priests in the Church of England for 25 years. This marked the culmination of decades of wrangling and activism, although arguments around the representation of women in senior positions in the church have continued in the quarter-century since.

When did women become able to be ordained as priests?

The Movement for the Ordination of Women was founded in 1979 and was the main group campaigning for women to become priests. It wound up in 1994 after it had achieved its objective. A group called Watch was formed in 1996 to campaign for gender justice in the church.

After 19 years of debate, the Church of England’s parliament – the General Synod – took the decision in 1992 to allow women’s ordination. The measure had to be approved by a two-thirds majority in each of the synod’s three houses of bishops, clergy and laity. It passed by a margin of only two votes among lay people.

Thirty-two women were priested at a service in Bristol Cathedral on 12 March, 1994. They were ordained in alphabetical order, which means that Angela Berners-Wilson is officially the Church of England’s first woman priest.

She had previously served 15 years as a deaconess and deacon and went on to be a chaplain at Bath University. She is now a parish priest and a prebendary at Wells Cathedral.

What about women bishops?

Figures for 2017 show that 28% of clergy are women and 23% of senior leadership positions are held by women Statistics 2017_final report_v2.pdf.

On 17 November 2014, the General Synod voted in favour of removing the legal obstacles preventing women from becoming bishops, ending a process that began nine years earlier.

Libby Lane became the first woman to serve as a bishop of the Church of England when she was consecrated in 2015 as suffragan Bishop of Stockport in 2015, an assistant bishop in the diocese of Chester. She is now the diocesan Bishop of Derby.

As of March 2019, there are 18 women bishops: London, Bristol, Gloucester, Newcastle, Derby, Aston, Crediton, Dorking, Hull, Jarrow, Lancaster, Loughborough, Penrith, Repton, Ripon, Sherborne, Taunton and Warrington

Five are diocesan bishops with seats in the House of Lords, including the Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, and the third most senior bishop in the Church of England.

What was the resistance to women priests?

In 1993 the Act of Synod was passed allowing for the creation of “flying bishops” (provincial episcopal visitors) to minister to churches that did not accept the ordination of women. Today there are seven: the bishops of Richborough (based in St Albans), Ebbsfleet, Maidstone, Fulham, Beverley, Wakefield and Burnley.

363 parishes Statistics 2009-2010.pdf (from a total of 13,000) opted to come under the care of these “flying bishops” (2010 stats). 1,000 parishes object to women priests working in their churches (2010 stats as above). 430 priests resigned from the Church of England over the issue and claimed compensation.

Forward in Faith was set up in 1992 after the vote to allow women’s ordination. It has branches in many parts of the UK and says it is committed to the catholic faith and order, and opposed to women priests and bishops. The Bishop of Wakefield chairs the group.

Reform a conservative evangelical group set up in 1993 against the ordination of women, now also campaigning on issues such as homosexuality. It is led by the Rev Mark Burkill, from Leyton, east London.

There was also a Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod which called for the law which paid compensation to those who resigned and set up structures for opponents of women’s ordination to be withdrawn, calling it “institutionally sexist”.

What are the theological arguments in this debate?

Opponents of women’s ordination may draw on the following arguments:

  • The Bible says women should not hold authority over men (Ephesians 5:21-22 says the husband is the head of the wife, the ‘headship’ argument)
  • The 12 disciples were all men and there has been a 2,000-year line of male “apostolic succession”
  • Ordaining women as priests is an obstacle to unity with the Roman Catholics and Orthodox churches, which do not allow women priests
  • A priest represents Jesus at the altar and Jesus was a man

Those in favour of women’s ordination counter that:

  • The text from Ephesians should be read in its cultural context. Elsewhere St Paul said “in Christ there is no male or female” (Galatians 3:28)
  • Jesus had many women disciples, including Mary Magdalene
  • Unity talks continue but Roman Catholics and the Orthodox do not accept Anglican ordinations or sacraments are valid. The issue of women’s ordination is one of many obstacles to unity.
  • Jesus is representative of all humanity, male and female
Interregnum news: 18 September 2022 thumbnail

Interregnum news: 18 September 2022

The following Interregnum newsletter was printed and handed out at both churches in the Parish on 18 September:

Now The Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton is in an interregnum period between Parish priests, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is compiling the parish profile and the person specification for applicants. Part of this process includes considering whether this Parish wishes to retain or rescind the Resolution under the House of Bishops Declaration relating to the ordination of women priests and the consecration of women bishops. This includes deciding whether to remain members of The Society and Forward in Faith, as The Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton is currently a Forward in Faith and The Society parish.

In 1992 Forward in Faith was formed in response to the General Synod of the Church of England resolving to ordain women into the priesthood. In 2010 The Society under the patronage of
St Wilfred and St Hilda was formed in preparation for the anticipated consecration of women bishops (The Society is supported by Forward in Faith).

The decision to pass the Resolutions A & B under the Ordination of Priests (Women) Measure was made by Fr Cavell Cavell-Northam and the PCC only in the early 1990s, and the Parish established a relationship with Forward in Faith. After Fr Cavell’s retirement, a Forward in Faith priest Fr Ross Northing SSC was appointed by the PCC as incumbent Rector of All Saints Calverton and Vicar of St Mary & St Giles Stony Stratford (the two parishes merged to become The Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton on 1 January 2012). In 2015 the PCC passed a resolution under the provisions of the House of Bishops Declaration when the first women bishops were consecrated.

In this interregnum, although by church law ultimately it is the decision of the PCC of the Parish of Stony Stratford with Calverton, it has been decided by the PCC that the views of the congregations of this parish shall inform its decision-making regarding the appointment of a new parish priest. For this reason the PCC has arranged a meeting at 5:00pm on 8 October 2022 in
St Mary & St Giles church in which you can learn more about the respective perspectives of Forward in Faith and The Society as well as Anglo-Catholic priests who are in favour of the ordination of women.

The meeting will be chaired by Area Dean Rev. Tim Norwood with four speakers:

You can ask questions, hear comments from others and reflect on your perspective before telling the PCC your views via a questionnaire which will be handed out at the end of the meeting for return by 16 October 2022. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you will be able to obtain a copy of the questionnaire on Sunday 9 October in both churches.

Your responses to the questionnaire are anonymous unless you choose to write your name and contact details at the end. Only members of the PCC will see the raw data collected by the questionnaire. The PCC may or may not choose to publish the analysis of the data when it announces its decision. It will not publish anything which identifies and connects your name with your views on this topic.

Written by Anna Page, PCC member (September 2022)

The following history of the PCC decisions has been written by Fr Gary Ecclestone.

The PCC has made four separate and discrete choices over the years:

  1. Back in the early 1990s under Fr Cavell it passed Resolutions A & B under the Ordination of Priests (Women) Measure and then petitioned the Bishop of Oxford for extended episcopal care under the terms of the Act of Synod. The Act of Synod created new Episcopal Sees to ensure there were enough bishops to care for traditional Anglo-Catholics, which were Richborough, Ebbsfleet and Beverley referred to as the Provincial Episcopal Visitors, as their work crossed the boundaries of the various individual dioceses; they worked under the direction of the Archbishops at the invitation of Diocesan Bishops. The Diocese of London revived the See of Fulham to provide local arrangements in London. At this point the Bishop of Oxford invited the Bishop of Ebbsfleet (whom the legislation had nominated for the purpose) to have pastoral and sacramental care of the parish.
  2. Once the Parish had done that it was eligible to affiliate to Forward in Faith, which it chose to do. Membership of FinF is purely optional but FinF resources the work of traditionalist parishes and bishops, it has a full time director, part time researcher and produces a monthly magazine ‘New Directions’ it acts to represent the movement to the wider church and as an umbrella organisation coordinating events and activities alongside other organisations such as ACS, the Church Union etc. Forward in Faith has individual members and corporate (i.e. parish) members.
  3. In 2015 that legislation was superseded upon the CofE’s decision to consecrate women to the episcopate. All parishes that were cared for under the previous provisions needed to pass a new Resolution under the provisions of what is called the House of Bishops Declaration. This was done by the PCC once again. The See of Ebbsfleet remained available for the Bishop of Oxford to call upon, which he did.
  4. As part of the new arrangements it was necessary to form a new body (The Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda – referred to usually as simply The Society) which would gather together those Bishops to whom the Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops could look to provide pastoral and sacramental care for Declaration Parishes. These bishops included the Provincial Episcopal Visitors. The Bishop of Fulham, and those bishops serving in dioceses who are traditional Anglo-Catholics i.e. Chichester, Lewes, Burnley and Wakefield. The Archbishops invite these bishops to consecrate new bishops to serve the Declaration Parishes. This ensures that our bishops continue in the unbroken apostolic succession and therefore ensures sacramental assurance for traditional Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. The CofE also makes provision for traditional Evangelicals, currently by way of the Bishop of Maidstone.
  5. Having passed a Resolution under the House of Bishops Declaration (and only then) PCCs then have the opportunity of formally affiliating with The Society. Affiliation is not obligatory.

The PCC is now faced with ONE legal decision and TWO pastoral decisions:

The legal decision is as to whether the PCC wishes to retain the current Resolution under the House of Bishops Declaration or not. If it does the Parish will continue to be cared for by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet (or in fact his successor the new Bishop of Oswestry). If it does retain the current Resolution, then the PCC can subsequently review the TWO pastoral decisions, whether it wishes to remain affiliated formally to Forward in Faith and to The Society both of which are optional. It could even decide to suspend membership of those organisations pending the appointment of a new Parish Priest for further discussion with them once they are in post.

If the PCCs votes to rescind the Resolution previously passed under the House of Bishops Declaration, then affiliation to FinF and The Society would automatically lapse and the episcopal care of the parish would revert to the Bishop of Buckingham.

The Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – statement from the Bishop of Oxford thumbnail

The Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – statement from the Bishop of Oxford

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

Statement from the Bishop of Oxford:
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, issued a statement following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8 September 2022.

“Her Majesty the Queen has been a cherished presence in all of our lives and for the whole of our lives. She has been our example and a rock for the nation and commonwealth. Her devoted service has given stability to the nation throughout this Elizabethan age. Her deep, personal Christian faith has been an inspiration to many, including me.

The whole nation will be united in mourning for our beloved Queen in the coming days. We will need time to grieve and to share our grief with others. We pray at this time for the Queen’s family and especially for Charles as he prepares to become King. This will be a season for deep reflection in the life of our nation as we look back in thanksgiving and forward in hope.

This United Kingdom has deep foundations in Christian faith. A key part of our faith is the distinctive hope of resurrection from the dead: that our life in Christ endures beyond death and for eternity. As we grieve and pray, we also look forward together in hope to that new and eternal life with God.

We have prayed through all of our lives: God save the Queen. We now entrust Her Majesty to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and commit ourselves afresh to his service and to God’s eternal kingdom.”

Both St Mary & St Giles church and All Saints have a photo and flowers for the late Queen. St Mary & St Giles is open during the day every day for prayer and reflection.

Online books of condolence – the two official online books of condolence can be found at and


Platinum Jubilee Bring and Share Lunch 5th June 2022 thumbnail

Platinum Jubilee Bring and Share Lunch 5th June 2022

On 5th June 2022 the nation celebrated our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and we decided to mark the occasion with a Bring and Share Lunch at St Mary & St Giles.

Chatting before lunch
Chatting before lunch

We decorated the church with handmade bunting and beautiful red, white and blue flower arrangements.

Platinum Jubilee Flowers
Platinum Jubilee Flowers.

Many people got into the Jubilee spirit and dressed in red, white and blue.

Choosing food

Volunteers moved the chairs and set up tables at the back of the church after the Sunday morning service whilst people chatted over their  teas and coffees in the parish hall.

Ready to fill plates

The food started to arrive and just kept coming – we had to set up another table to put it all out!

The celebrations started at 12 noon.

Welcoming everyone
Welcoming everyone

Everyone was so generous with the food so there was more than enough to go round, with quiches, salads, sandwiches, pastries, bread, cheese and biscuits, crisps and much more – even some hot dishes.

Bring and share feast
Bring and share feast

The bakers amongst us excelled in supplying 3 special Platinum Jubilee Trifles and plenty of delicious homemade cakes.

Jubilee Trifles

Friends and family were invited and given a warm welcome.

Food and fellowship for all ages
Food and fellowship for all ages

Everyone who came had a wonderful time. It was a great way to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Enjoying lunch together

Enjoying lunch together

Churchwardens, PCC and Deanery Synod Members Elected April 2022 thumbnail

Churchwardens, PCC and Deanery Synod Members Elected April 2022

At the Annual Vestry and Parochial Church Meetings in April 2022, the following were elected to serve as Churchwardens, PCC and Deanery Synod members:

Peter Eales (SMSG)
Deb Kidd (SMSG)
Jill Barby (All Saints)
Richard Hearne (All Saints)

PCC Members
Rhian Parsons (SMSG)
Graham Brown (SMSG)
Dick Martin (SMSG)
Susi Whitehouse (SMSG)
John Hickman (All Saints)
Anna Page (All Saints)

Deanery Synod Members
Bob Scarff
Mike Parsons
Anne de Brois

In addition, at the PCC meeting following the APCM:
Bob Scarff was elected as Treasurer and Vice-Chairman
Susi Whitehouse was elected as PCC Secretary
and Gwen Yates was co-opted to the PCC as one of the Parish Safeguarding Officers

Father Ross’s retirement thumbnail

Father Ross’s retirement

Although Father Ross’s actual retirement date is not yet fixed, it has been agreed with the Bishop of Buckingham and the Standing Committee of the Parochial Church Council that his final Sunday services in the parish will be held on the following dates:

All Saints 11:15am on Sunday 6th February 2022 with a Farewell Reception immediately following

St Mary & St Giles on Sunday 13th February 2022

09:30 Parish Mass

16:00 Evensong & Benediction with a Farewell Reception afterwards.

Sunday 29th March 2020 thumbnail

Sunday 29th March 2020

This morning’s Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent:


“Take away the stone”


Over the past two Sundays and this morning we have heard those wonderful long Gospel stories of the encounters of three people in varying degrees of need with the Lord.


First we heard of the Woman of Samaria – a woman whose heritage stems from the deportation of the Kingdom of Israel into Assyria where her ancestors were forced into mixed marriages and the faith of their Forefathers’ was corrupted by pagan practices. This woman knows enough of her heritage to know that her marital state is more than complicated. Yet she comes to see Christ as her deliverer, and as the source of her future hope.


Last Sunday, we heard of the healing of the man born blind, and in that very moving account we see how he has been blind from birth, and of how, once he has been healed, he experiences a lack of support from those who know him, rejection by the spiritual leaders of his people and even to a certain degree rejection by his parents. The account concludes with his encountering the Lord once more, but this time the Lord, having heard of the rejection he had experienced at the hands of others, sought him out, and the encounter between them is so tender.


Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him.


And this morning we hear the final of these three encounters, that of Jesus with Lazarus. Of course, the encounter is also with Mary and Martha, and it is to their encounter with the Lord that we turn first.


We are used to thinking of Martha as the one who is distracted by all the domestic work that needs doing as part of welcoming a guest; and of Mary as the one who takes the spiritual path of sitting and listening to the Lord. However, in this encounter Mary has to be coached out of the house, as she is sitting there consumed by grief. Then when she does come to meet Jesus, she is seemingly accusatory in her opening words to the Lord, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” It is Martha, however, in this encounter, who pours forth that wonderful declaration of faith: “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”


Then there is the encounter with Lazarus. It is a remarkable encounter, at least in the telling, because we are not told what they said to each other after the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead. The Lord orders that the stone sealing the tomb be taken away, he prays, he says loudly, “Lazarus, come out.” And Lazarus emerges still bound with bandages. And then Jesus orders those gathered to “unbind him, and let him go.” But we are told nothing else.


So we must look at the episode with closer eyes – in particular I want us to think of the matter of the stone. The stone represents all that inhibits life, Lazarus has been sealed away from life, cut off from those he knows and loves not only by death, but by physical barriers – human constraints keep him isolated – for the bodies of the dead, in Jewish Law, are unclean; and if you came into contact with one, you became unclean. But the Lord orders that the stone be taken away, that the barrier preventing life, human socialisation and love be removed.


Perhaps in that there is something for us to ponder in our hearts this morning with Our Lady, as England is rededicated at Noon today as her Dowry. The stone had to be taken away for life to begin again. That stone inhibited life, love and social interaction. At times in our lives that stone can be symbolic of the situation that we find ourselves in.


Like the woman of Samaria we can be in a moral mess, and can have made our lives so complicated that we worry that we have no future, no chance of forgiveness, nor even a life that is filled with hope rather than despair.


Like the man born blind we can be blind, not only physically, but also blind to the real identity of Jesus Christ. Like the blind man it may be that we have had signs of real hope, only to have them dashed by the intransigence or weakness of others.


Like Mary we can find ourselves at one point very close to the Lord, and then subsequently distant from him. Like Martha we can find ourselves distracted by so many things – even in parish life, by what we think is important in our Parish Churches, that we lose our spiritual perspective; but then like Martha through the experience of some deeply personal event come to a greater love and knowledge of the Lord.


Like Lazarus we can be kept bound and sealed off from life – that is our real life in Christ. It is the enemy who so often does this with his lies and schemes. That stone – whatever it is most be taken away at the Lord’s orders.


And so we must make our appeals to him, we must hammer on the doors of heaven with our prayers.


In this land at the moment we are facing one of the worst contagions since the Spanish Flu of 1918. Yes, we must abide by what the Government is asking of us, but as Christians who believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, we should have recourse to prayer. We must pray that God would take this pestilence away, for common-sense to prevail amongst all people, and for all those affected by this virus, and those who care for them in the NHS and in the wider community. May the Lord take this stone away, may he order that we be unbound and set free ……….that life may be set free.


Let us pray:

Lord, enable us to continue to serve our suffering brothers and sisters in peace that together we may glorify thy most honourable and majestic name of the Father + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.


Tuesday 24th March 2020 thumbnail

Tuesday 24th March 2020

Dear All,

The Archbishops have now issued a letter to all clergy in which the main points, as they affect our common life are as follows:

  1. Our church buildings must now be closed not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well and this includes the priest or lay person offering prayer in church on their own. For the priest this means celebrating the Mass at home. I have pre-empted this by setting up at altar in the Rectory and tried to make it as much like a chapel as I can. I hope to start live streaming, which is permitted, as soon as I have mastered the technology.
  1. Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.
  1. There can be no weddings in church buildings until further notice.
  1. Funerals can only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside. Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows – Milton Keynes Crematorium appears to be allowing up to ten mourners only) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way.
  1. Foodbanks should continue where possible, under strict guidelines, and may have to move to be delivery points not places where people gather.

The diocesan bishop has added:

  1. That Pastoral Care of the clergy will be mainly left to the Area Deans
  1. That the priest should restrict most of his pastoral care of his people to using the telephone and internet. There is no guidance yet on the Anointing of the Sick and Dying. In the absence of that, which is worrying at best, I shall seek to administer that Sacrament with the guidance of the medical profession sought by the patient and/or their family.
  1. On Parish finances: he writes: “We recognise that for some their parish finances are significantly dependent on Sunday collections, lettings and fundraising events and will be issuing advice to help following a consultation with deanery treasurers. Please support the need to sustain parish and diocesan income at this time when the Church’s ministry is needed as never before.”

To all of the above, as your Parish Priest, I would add that sometimes that which we value most can become taken for granted and we can so easily become distracted by things that not of God, and sometimes by things that frankly are the work of the enemy. This period in the desert where we are unable to worship together in our Parish Churches may well, if we embrace the spiritual opportunity, become a period of real growth as disciples of Jesus, from which renewal can flow. All of us are experiencing a great sorrow and a time of great uncertainty, and yet this is a time to have faith, for this problem will end and when it does, as Christ’s Disciples we shall commit ourselves, as our first priority, more fully to the worship of Almighty God and to making our second priority sharing in the continuing mission of Christ the Redeemer. We cannot think that Parish Life will just resume as it was, for God is going to change us through this time and draw us back to himself.

Joel 2:13

And rend your heart and not your garments ” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.

Nehemiah 1:9

but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’

Every blessing,

Fr Ross