9th July: Worship returns to Holy Trinity Westcott ... Alleluia !
We are delighted to say that, after considerable review and care, we are re-instating the 8.30am Holy Communion Sunday service in Holy Trinity, focusing on the receiving of the sacrament, with no sermon or hymns, and finishing by 9am.
You will also be very welcome to come to Holy Trinity, for prayer, reflection or just to be back in our Church on Sundays and/or Wednesdays between 9.30am and 4pm.
Please click here to read more about Communion services in Holy Trinity during the Corona epidemic, and here for our Risk Assessment.
And if you miss the pews from the north and central aisles of the Church, don't worry, their removal to enable socially distanced seating and facilitate cleaning is temporary!
AND there are plenty of other things going on too!
* Daily prayer for all, praying by name for those on our contacts list.
* Distribution of prayers, reflections & on-line spiritual resources by email (join our emailing list) and facebook - print available for those who need it.
* Group communication by social media.
* Online Zoom services.
* Aiming to stay in direct contact with each other - by telephone call, good wishes cards, etc.
* Working with Westcott Village Association on the "Westcott Good Neighbour" scheme (although please remember that Holy Trinity is now closed).
If you have any particular concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
24th March: A Message from Alan
"How deserted lies the city, once so full of people...
....the roads to Zion mourn, for no-one comes to her appointed feasts ...
...This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears"
The Bible, written a millenium and more ago, speaks into our every day experience, even in exceptional times. In these words from the first chapter of Lamentations, the writer mourns for what has been lost in his home of Jerusalem. How we need to lament, mourn for what we have lost in this current crisis - the family we cannot see, the grandchildren we cannot hold, the friends we cannot socialise with, the devastated livelihoods and more:
How outrageous that our children cannot be educated, play with friends, enjoy the outside .. simply do the things of childhood.
How hard it must be for the people of Westcott (and around the country/the world) who live in small homes, a number without even the simple pleasure of a garden. How especially difficult for families with children.
How appalling it is that our churches are now completely shut. How awful that no-one will worship in Holy Trinity or St Johns this Easter - I guess for the first time in history.
How extraordinary our reliance on the courage and resilience of doctors, nurses, care workers and other "key workers". (And by the way, why is it that when we so readily acknowledge that these people are "key workers", are their pay and working conditions often so poor ?)
And most of all, how dreadful the critical illness of many and the deaths that have occurred and will occur from this sickness. How much grief ... deep sadness, anger, shock, loneliness..
So, yes, we need to lament, mourn ... to weep, be angry, reflect, ask how did this happen ... in Biblical language we need to "repent". Pray God that this disaster will soon end (though the consequences will not). But we cannot move on without lament...
Then, be sure the Day of Resurrection will come in faith in Christ. We can again experience the every day goodness of life that we may so easily take for granted. And amongst the grief, continue to know the love, grace, joy of God; praise God that we can know Him deep within our souls. We can, must, "Rejoice in Him always" (Phils 4:4).
The biblical writers, like the author of Lamentations, knew that disaster needs to lead to deep learning. Always confident of the presence of God in all trauma, they knew that, in the words of Jesus, we are to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness". If we do, the promise is given that all that we need will be ours. (Matt 6:33)
I pray for you and all the people of our Church and the residents of Westcott that you will know God's peace and sure hope.
22nd March: The First Sunday of no Public Worship
Celebrating Communion in Holy Trinity Westcott
With tears and a heavy sadness, but also with joy in God and hope, Jenny and I celebrated Communion today in Holy Trinity, praying by name for all in our "worshiping community".
How we missed you all in the singing, praying, sharing the peace, eating the bread and drinking the wine. How awful it is to worship with no-one there. And yet, what an immense privilege, to pray and celebrate on behalf of all the people of our Church and the village of Westcott.
The liturgy of today's service, as ever, spoke powerfully into the soul, not least in the prayer for sharing the peace:
"May God, who watches the world with us, grant peace in our hearts and hope in our lives,
that we may be at peace with one another.
The peace of the Lord be always with you."
18th March: Public Worship Suspended
In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice. In keeping with this decision, church services in Westcott are suspended (apart from funerals and weddings albeit in keeping with Government advice on gatherings and social distancing).
This is very sad and frustrating but necessary. The work of the Church in Westcott will go on. As the Archbishops say in a letter to clergy:
"Public worship will have to stop for a season. Our usual pattern of Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold. But this does not mean that the Church of England has shut up shop. Far from it ... Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day. We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support. "
In Westcott our actions will include the following:
* Daily prayer for all, praying by name for those on our contacts list.
* Every Sunday, Jenny and I will be in Holy Trinity from 10.00-11.45am to pray and hold a Eucharist (Communion service) on behalf of Westcott.
* We will be sending out by e-mail and Facebook (print for those who need it) prayers, reflections, on-line spiritual resources (eg. please see e-mail to follow on "The National Day of Prayer" called for Sunday 22nd March).
* We are aiming to stay in direct contact with each other - by telephone call, good wishes cards, etc.
* We are exploring group communication by social media/live screening.
* We are working with the Village Association to ensure the "Westcott Good Neighbour" scheme is effective and all people in Westcott receive any support needed. Please post a copy of the "Westcott Good Neighbour" leaflet through your neighbours' doors offering help in this difficult time if you are in a position to do so.
* Holy Trinity will remain open for individual prayer. (Please use hand sanitiser on entry and leaving.)
* If you have any particular concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us or you can see me in Holy Trinity at 11.45am on Sundays.
With my prayers and very best wishes to you and all residents of Westcott.
Alan Jonas, Vicar of Westcott.