Union Notes July 2020

 

Corona Virus Pandemic

  “The Lord is my shepherd”

Psalm 23

 

Dear Parishioners,

Return to In-Church Worship

We are all delighted to know that, from Monday 29th June, Parish churches reopen for public worship and we look forward to welcoming you back to church.   Our last Service before the pandemic was midday prayers in All Saints’ on Monday 16th March.  That was 16 weeks ago and so it will be very nice to open the church for worship from this Sunday 5th July.  In response to national guidelines the Church of Ireland has drawn up protocols which we will observe on our return to church and details of these are in the Union Notes.  The Select Vestry will be very grateful if parishioners would follow the protocols and guidance of the churchwardens.  Initially we have been given permission to open two churches for worship – All Saints’ Mullingar and St. Etchen’s Killucan.  The Service in Mullingar will be at 10.00 a.m. and in Killucan at 11.30 a.m. every Sunday.

Online Services

While the churches were closed for public worship we were so blessed to be able to provide online Services every Sunday and Wednesday and a Friday school assembly during term time.  I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Services – the readers, those who led the prayers, the Choir and those who provided the floral arrangements each week.  We also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Lorraine Hales who prepared the presentations for the online Services.  She did a truly wonderful job and enabled everyone to still have a church connection while the churches were closed.

Virtual Coffee Mornings

Each Thursday in All Saints’ Church Hall we gather together for coffee and conversation to raise money for local charities.  Arthur and Marion O’Toole are fantastic hosts – Arthur’s “Tasty Treats” will always leave you coming back for more.

With the Church closed these charities are missing out – so recently virtual coffee mornings have been held in the form of an online Zoom Meeting and Facebook chats.  I would like to thank those who participated in the virtual coffee mornings and also to those who have contributed so generously to the Go Fund me campaign  https://www.gofundme.com/manage/allsaintscofeeforcharity

The Zoom Coffee Mornings will continue for the moment and details can be found on the Parish website.

Lighten Our Darkness

The Bishop sent a special message of thanks and encouragement to all the young people who undertook the Candle Prayer Initiative for 102 days.  We will continue to pray for those who have succumbed to the corona virus and those who compassionately are responding to help.  However, the Group Prayer Initiative came to an end after 102 days but individually the young people will continue to offer their own prayers.

 

Christians Supporting the Common Good

In the June issue of the Union Notes I encouraged everyone to take personal responsibility for complying with the hygiene guidance we are now so familiar with.  I would urge everyone to continue “being hygienic”.  As we know, the Christian faith strongly encourages us to think of others as well as ourselves and so there is an added imperative to keep up our “hygienic habits” to ensure that we are part of helping the common good and the welfare of all people.  In our church Services we will continue every Sunday to remember those suffering from Covid19 in both our own country and in the wider world.

 

Select Vestry

The Select Vestry met on Monday 29th June and approved the protocols for in-church worship.  The Select Vestry will meet again on Monday 27th July at 7.30 p.m.

 

 County Westmeath

This is the third week since the onset of the pandemic that there are no cases of Covid19 in the county.   Let us hope that through the good efforts of others and ourselves this will continue.

I do hope you are all keeping well and safe and if I can be of any assistance or help to you in any way please do not hesitate to contact me at the Rectory – 044 9348376.

With kind regards and with God’s blessings,

Rev. Alastair Graham

Rector

 

Return to In-Church Worship Protocols

We ask all parishioners to follow these protocols on returning to church.

  • On entering church parishioners are asked to go to their seats or pews as requested by the churchwardens.  In All Saints’, families will sit together in the Gallery where possible.
  • Parishioners are asked to be flexible in the use of seats and pews.  Parishioners are asked to arrive before the Service.  The Service Sheet will be placed on the seats and, in All Saints’, seats must not be moved.
  • Prayer Books and Hymnals will not be used.
  • There will be no singing at present but organ music is permitted.
  • Tissues will be provided if required.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided and parishioners are requested to use this on entrance and exit.
  • Safe distancing both inside and outside the church is required.  Little movement should take place in church.
  • If you intend to wear a mask please bring your own mask.
  • Holy Communion.  The clergy will wear shields and sanitize their hands before and after Communion.  Parishioners are asked to stand for Communion and are also asked to neither kneel nor queue.
  • Please avoid bottlenecks as parishioners exit the church.
  • Fresh flowers will not be used at present.
  • Churchwardens will keep the names of attendees for 3 weeks for social tracing purposes.
  • Outside the church, after the Service, people are asked to observe social distancing in meeting each other.

 

The Church of Ireland authorities have asked churchwardens to take on the important role of overseeing the protocols and I am sure you will give them your full co-operation and support.  I would like to thank the churchwardens for generously agreeing to undertake this role.

We look forward to welcoming you back to church.

Prayer has been a wonderful source of strength to all of us during these very challenging weeks and months and we will continue to have a very strong focus of prayer as we now return to the worship of Almighty God in church.