10 May 2021

Reopening our four churches
with caution and confidence

‘Come Holy Spirit’ … Sunday 23 May is Pentecost or Whit Sunday … the holy water stoup in the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

From Monday next (10 May), our churches may open again, with caution, as part of the easing of the pandemic lockdown.

This does not mean everything has returned to normal, and we are being advised to take the first steps with caution.

We need to continue to wear face masks in church, to use hand sanitisers in the churches, to keep social distances in the pews, to take contact details, and (at present) to avoid hymn-singing.

How can we reopen our churches with caution but with confidence?

It is important to avoid being a ‘super-spreaders’, and yet to offer the opportunity for everyone to return to church as soon as possible. The Ascension Eucharist is being celebrated in Saint Mary's Church, Askeaton, on Thursday morning (13 May), and then on the following four Sundays our four churches begin to open, one-by-one, in sequence and alphabetically, so that all four churches have a fair and equal opportunity of reopening.

This sequence also allows the four Easter Vestries to meet in sequence.

These first services take the form of the Parish Eucharist, although the chalice is still not being shared, and no-one should feel they have to receive. We can listen to the hymns without singing them. And shorter sermons are planned too.

For those who remain uncomfortable about coming to church, please do not be embarrassed or feel any compulsion. The Sunday sermons shall continue to be recorded and made available on YouTube, Facebook and through Patrick’s blog each week.

After these four weeks, hopefully, we may find it possible to return to the normal schedule of two services each Sunday. But let’s see how these first four weeks go before making future commitments.

Please ignore the proposed services listed in Newslink. This is the list of planned services for the immediate future, with readings and hymns:

Thursday 13 May, The Ascension Day:

11 am, The Festal Eucharist,
Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton

Readings: Acts 1: 1-11; Psalm 47; Luke 24: 44-53

Hymns: 259, Christ triumphant, ever reigning (CD 16); 634, Love divine, all loves excelling (CD 36).

Sunday 16 May, Easter VII:

11 am, The Parish Eucharist,
Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton
Followed by Askeaton Easter Vestry

Readings: Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; John 17: 6-19

Hymns: 461, For all thy saints, O Lord (CD 27); 518, Bind us together, Lord (CD 30).

Sunday 23 May, Pentecost (Whit Sunday):

11 am, The Parish Eucharist,
Castletown Church, Kilcornan
Followed by Castletown Easter Vestry

Readings: Acts 2: 1-21; Psalm 104: 26-36, 37b; John 15: 26-27, 16: 4b-15

Hymns: 386, Spirit of God, unseen as the wind (CD 23); 310, Spirit of the living God (CD 18)

Sunday 30 May, Trinity Sunday:

11 am, The Parish Eucharist,
Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale
Followed by Rathkeale Easter Vestry

Readings: Isaiah 6: 1-8; Psalm 29; John 3: 1-17

Hymns: 321, Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty (CD 19); 373, To God be the glory! Great things he has done! (CD 22)

Sunday 6 June, Trinity I:

11 am, The Parish Eucharist,
Saint Brendan’s Church, Tarbert (Kilnaughtin)
Followed by Tarbert (Kilnaughtin) Easter Vestry

Readings: I Samuel 8: 4-11, 16-20; Psalm 138; Mark 3: 20-35

Hymns: 522, In Christ there is no east or west (CD 30); 662, Those who would valour see (CD 38)

Patrick Comerford

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