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Bulletin no.31 - Friday 27 November

1 month, 2 weeks ago

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the weather gets colder and the nights longer, we all welcomed some good news this week that our churches can reopen to public worship on Wednesday, 2 December. Please ensure that you continue to follow the hygiene and social distancing guidance: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

1.    Back to Tier Two
The Government announced yesterday its tier decision for the UK when Lockdown ends. Southwark, which includes London and East Surrey, will enter tier two at  Wednesday, 2 December. This means that the Rule of Six applies outdoors, but there is to be no household mixing indoors. Attached is a very helpful poster that outlines what tier two looks like.

2.    Christmas Bubble
Between 23-27 December you can form an exclusive “Christmas bubble” made up of people from no more than three households. More information here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family and here https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches#na

3.    Singing and outdoor worship
We are still awaiting further guidelines from the Church of England which are due to be posted in the next few days. In the meantime, we would advise that as of 2 December, you follow the tier two guideline outlined here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/COVID%2019%20Permitted%20Activities%20under%203%20Tier%20System%20v1.0_1.pdf

4.    Baptisms, funerals and weddings
From 2 December, baptisms are to return to pre-5 November guidelines, being classified as part of communal worship and therefore limited by size of building and not specific numbers (as with weddings and funerals).

5.    Children and Young People
As we know, the pandemic has affected us all to a greater or lesser extent. Research out today from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation has found that loneliness among parents of young children has “drastically increased”. Further news from earlier this week confirms that children and young people have been affected both mentally and emotionally. Families need our support and prayers more than ever before. Our Children and Youth Team are encouraging you to pray for children and young people and those who care for them at home, in schools and within the wider community.  Take a moment to name the people you could pray for, that they would know Gods comfort and joy in this season. Attached are six tips from the CYP Team on engaging with children and young people over Advent and Christmas.

6.    Bringing Comfort and Joy during Advent and Christmas
Comfort and Joy
 is a wonderful resource equipping churches all over the country to mark Advent and Christmas in both familiar and new ways, both in person and online. One of the resources is a booklet, Comfort and Joy: Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas edited by The Venerable John Kiddle, Archdeacon of Wandsworth. It takes inspiration from a traditional carol service and features daily reflections for the Christmas season from Archbishop Justin Welby, Chine McDonald, Kate Bottley, Guli Francis-Dehqani, to name just a few. To find out more, go to www.churchofengland.org/ComfortAndJoy

7.    Weekly sermons from the Bishops and Archdeacons

From Advent Sunday the Bishops will offer weekly sermons which can be downloaded (further details will be made available).  From Christmas to Candlemas the Archdeacons will take on the baton and in addition provide pre-recorded services weekly which can be downloaded and we particularly hope they will be a useful resource when clergy take their post-Christmas breaks. 

8.    Advent resource

We have attached again the Advent resources from Bishop Christopher’s Liturgical Advisory Group

With our continued thanks and prayers for all that you do.

The Coronavirus Task Group

(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and Sophia Jones)