Sunday Service – 7th June
Bishop Gregory has been inviting different MAs to contribute to his service from Esgobty each week and it is our turn. So this will be our service for 7th June – you’ll find it on the Diocesan Website here:
There probably won’t be a MA News this week. The service will also be on the ‘St Asaph Diocese’ Facebook page.
Bishop’s Pastoral Letter 3rd June
The latest Pastoral Letter from Gregory our Bishop is at: 200603 Pastoral Letter.
Here is the YouTube link for this Sunday: https://youtu.be/678f1YAiFPE The service will also be available on the Pool Mission Area Facebook page on Sunday morning.
The Welsh Government’s lockdown review today has confirmed that there are no changes yet concerning the lockdown regulations affecting churches, nor was there any suggestion that this is likely to change in 3 weeks’ time, when the next review occurs. However, we are already looking at the changes that will need to take place, so that when the situation does change we can implement social distancing and minimise the risk as much as possible. Understandably many people will not be wanting to return to church as long as a significant risk remains and there should not be any pressure on people to do so. We will give more details on the steps that will need to take place when we receive further guidelines and have consulted with key people such as churchwardens for each church.
If you need anything…
Please do get in touch with one of the clergy if you are struggling with anything – we can probably find someone who can help! However I’m taking a week off next week so please ring Caroline (01938 554245) or Alexis (01686 641992) rather than me. The following week it’s Caroline’s turn for a week off so ring Alexis or myself (01938 553164). Alexis had her turn last week so we are trying to look after ourselves even if we cant go anywhere to enjoy it!
Dial-a-Service Phone Line
For those who don’t have access to the internet we have set up a “Dial-a-Service” phone line. This will have a pre-recorded simple service of prayers, a bible reading and reflection each week, and can be called at any time. The telephone number is 01938 530662. It costs the same as phoning any other 01938 number, and can be included in any ‘free minutes’ on your phone bill, so for many people it will not cost anything. (The first voice you hear is a computerised welcome message- the actual service starts after that). If you’re reading this online please let your friends and family without a computer know about this if you think they would be interested. We’re hoping to change the recorded service weekly, and introduce more voices as we get familiar with the technology. If you have any problems (or ideas!) do let Caroline know – 01938 554245. Please do share this information with others who you are in contact with.
Bishop’s Pastoral Letter – 27th May
The latest Pastoral Letter from Bishop Gregory can be found here: 200527 Pastoral Letter.
This Week’s Service Materials – 24th May
Here’s the YouTube link for this Sunday’s service which is a family affair this week as Jennie Willson is reflecting on Ascension, with Eleri & Emily Willson doing the readings https://youtu.be/kaSgL0rfOuA . Thanks to all of them for their contribution. It’ll be on the Pool MA Facebook page on Sunday as well. The full readings for Sunday are at: A Easter 7.
Roots materials here https://www.rootsontheweb.com/familiesathome24may,
We’re sorry to hear that Rev’d Roger Bird, former Vicar of Guilsfield, is in hospital at the moment. It’s not Covid related and hopefully Roger will be starting to improve by the time you read this, but we send our best wishes to him and Barbara and will keep them in our prayers.
It doesn’t currently seem likely that churches will be reopening anytime soon, but you will be glad to know that the Diocese and Mission Area are busy assessing what steps will be necessary before we can reopen churches and what we might practically be able to do when lockdown eases but many people are self-isolating. You will likely hear more about this in the coming weeks but if you have any particular views or comments drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Do You Think/How are You Coping?
Church Times is supporting an extensive survey on how churches have responded to Coronavirus. This is part of a UK learning experience. The survey is being led by Professor Andrew Village & Dr Leslie Francis. It would be really helpful if could take part in it. You can access the survey using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/ycsq9fy2.
Supporting Your Church 1
All churches are, like many other charities, struggling financially at this time with very limited income. As mentioned previously, Gift Direct is the best way of helping as it works by direct payment from your bank account to the Church in Wales and then on to your own church. If you are a tax payer and have completed a Gift Aid declaration, the tax is reclaimed automatically without your own church Treasurer having to apply for it. All of this means that you can still support your church even if you are self-isolating (and the treasurer/Gift Aid Secretary’s workload is greatly eased).
Because of the current situation the church has made it possible to sign up for this on-line – simply go to the Church in Wales website via this link: https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/gift-direct/ and follow the directions given.
Don’t panic if you are not able to do this on-line – we are planning a mailing to all those on our Electoral Roll in the next week or two and will include with it a Gift Direct leaflet which you can fill in and post if that is easier. And if you can’t get to a post box contact me and we’ll find someone who can collect it from your doorstep!
Supporting Your Church 2
Ecclesiastical Insurance are running their annual Movement for Good scheme when a charity or church can be nominated for a donation between £500 and £1,000. Whilst the website states a ‘charity’, churches can also be nominated (I have had confirmation on this) so I would suggest as many of you as possible nominate your church. Each person can only nominate once, but any number of people can nominate the church so get as many as possible to have a look at the website and nominate. It is literally the ‘luck of the draw’ who gets an award, there doesn’t need to be a particular project and you don’t have to argue your case. However, the closing date is this Sunday so do it now! https://www.ecclesiastical.com/movement-for-good/ (when filling in the form tick the ‘exempt’ box where it ask for charity status).
Bishop’s Pastoral Letter for 20th May
The latest pastoral letter from Bishop Gregory can be found at: 200520 Pastoral Letter ENG.
Service and Resources for Sunday 17th May
I hope that you enjoyed our slightly different service last week. This week follows the more regular pattern as one of our ordinands, Stephen Hayes, sets us thinking about Rogation Sunday. Thanks to Stephen, Jim, Helen and others who took part in the service and, as ever, to Jennie and Jenny for producing and distributing it respectively. The link for the service is here, https://youtu.be/ZQ1v-c9WN_c.
The service will also be posted on the Pool MA Facebook page on Sunday morning.
The readings for this week are A Easter 6. Resources for adults and families, based on these readings, from Roots are here: www.rootsontheweb.com/adultsathome17may and here: www.rootsontheweb.com/familiesathome17may.
Bishop’s Pastoral Letter for 13th May
The latest Pastoral Letter from Bishop Gregory: 200513 Pastoral Letter.
Resources and Service for 10th May
Below is the link for this week’s service which will also be posted on the Pool Mission Area Facebook page on Sunday morning. The service is a little different this week, to mark both the VE Day commemoration and also the beginning of Christian Aid week. Some of the liturgy used is from the national VE Day 75th anniversary service: https://youtu.be/u0fARrGBHk0.
Christian Aid have made a good job of re-gearing Christian Aid week to take account of the current restrictions. There are a large number of resources available on their website including an on-line service with Archbishop Rowan Williams preaching. If you usually support Christian Aid week please do make sure you still support them this year as the lack of events will probably impact on the amount of money donated. The resources and guidance on how to donate can both be found here: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/key-appeals/christian-aid-week.
A copy of reading sheet for this week is at A Easter 5 and the link for this week’s Roots material for families is here: https://www.rootsontheweb.com/lectionary/2020/107-may-june-2020-a/easter-5/familiesathome.
Also attached is a report on Foodbanks from the Trussell Trust which may be of interest. Foodbanks are providing a really important service at this point in time and experiencing an increase in demand.
Bishop Gregory’s Pastoral Letter – 6th May
Bishop Gregory has sent his latest pastoral letter: 200506 Bishop Gregory’s Pastoral Letter.
Service for 3rd May
Here is the YouTube link for this week’s service: https://youtu.be/PRfVcVQavVI.
It should also appear on the MA’s Facebook page on Sunday morning, and hopefully on your church’s facebook page too, if it has one.
News and Resources from the MA Leader – 2nd May
I hope you are doing OK. I’m sure some will be finding lockdown gets harder the longer it goes on, whilst others will be feeling they’ve got used to it now! Hopefully you have found ways of coping as well as ways to worship and grow spiritually despite not being able to go to church. Please pick up the phone and talk to Caroline, Alexis or myself if we can help in any way, or just for a chat.
The links for this week’s family’s resources from Roots are here: www.rootsontheweb.com/familiesathome3may.
The ones for adults are here: www.rootsontheweb.com/adultsathome3may.
If any of you have children or grandchildren who would like to help brighten the day of people with dementia at this time there are details of how this can be done here: https://www.pavo.org.uk/news/article/news/a-call-to-brighten-someones-day.html?no_cache=1.
Have you made/coloured/baked/crocheted/created from lego a rainbow during lockdown? The diocese is collecting photos of people showing off their rainbow creations to form the basis of a project for social media and Teulu Asaph. We’re after as many photos as possible (and one might become the cover of Teulu Asaph!) so please email them to email@example.com by Friday 8 May.
One of the positive aspects of the current situation is that crime rates are down for most offences. An exception to this is domestic violence which is very much on the rise. The police are also concerned about the risk of increased child abuse in the current situation. Both are to a large extent ‘hidden’ crimes but often people close to the victims get an inkling of what is going on. The problem then is how to deal with that suspicion. See a leaflet entitled How to Get Help which explains what your options are in this situation.
Churches, like other charities, are being hit hard by the current situation. The Charity Commission have produced some guidance for charities whose finances are being affected by Covid19. Church treasurers, Trustees (MAC members) and those involved in other charities may like to read this here: https://www.pavo.org.uk/news/article/news/falling-on-hard-times.html?no_cache=1.
The Heritage Lottery Fund seem to have completely changed their policies at this time in order to support heritage projects that are badly affected by the current situation. So it may also be worth seeing if their advice offers anything your church or other charities you’ve been involved with can access: https://www.pavo.org.uk/help-for-organisations/funding/funding-news/article/news/support-for-heritage-sector-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html?no_cache=1.
Can I apologise to those who’ve emailed me recently and not got a response. Unfortunately I’ve had an eye infection which has impacted on my vision and so limited my ability to keep up with messages. It’s on the mend now, so hopefully I will reply shortly!
Finally, please pray for the community in Castle Caereinion next Tuesday as they try to mourn for Mike the Shop from a safe distance.
Bishop’s Latest Pastoral Letter – 29 April
Here is the latest Pastoral Letter from Bishop Gregory: 200429 Pastoral letter.
News and Resources from the MA Leader – 25 April
Welcome to this week’s round up of news and resources which includes the YouTube link to this week’s service.
Sadly two of our churches have suffered significant bereavements in recent weeks. Firstly, Montgomery church lost Lynne Bayliss, who was a key member of that church and community. Lynne had borne her terminal illness with calmness & courage and continued her various ministries with faithfulness. She leaves a big gap in her church family, as well as amongst her family and friends. This week, Castle Caereinion are mourning the sudden death of Michael Rogers, or Mike the Shop as he was universally known. Mike was not just keeper of the village shop, he was the source of all knowledge about the people of the community, who cared for and entertained us in equal measure. Rarely does someone’s passing impact on a whole community in the way that Mike’s has.
St Paul depicts us all as running a race, striving to live faithfully whilst being cheered on by the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ who have gone before us. Just as the crowd rises to welcome marathon runners as they run into the stadium after 26 miles of endurance running, so the crowd of witnesses will be on their feet welcoming these two. Please pray for those who are grieving for them.
On the subject of prayer, the diocese produces a ‘cycle of prayer’ to help us pray, day by day, for the different parts of our diocese, as well as the other dioceses of the Anglican Church. Next month the diocese is praying for us, in Pool MA, so you might like to join them in doing so. See the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer for May, along with the Pool MA Map which may help you locate any of our churches that you weren’t quite sure about!
Resources related to the readings for both adults and young people can be found here:
The Messy Church website now includes some ideas for Messy Church style activities that families can do together at home. These can be found here:
Service for 26 April
The link for this Sunday’s Pool MA service is here: https://youtu.be/qgmojVg5WoY
It will also be on the Pool Mission Area Facebook page on Sunday morning.
See the Readings for yr A Easter 3.
Bishop Gregory’s Latest Pastoral Letter
Please see the latest pastoral letter from Bishop Gregory: 200422 +Gregory’s Pastoral Letter.
It Made Me Smile
A park ranger was out checking up around his patch when he spotted God out walking in the beautiful countryside in the sunshine far from anywhere. So he approached God and asked him ‘what did he think he was doing’ to which God replied ‘I’m working from home’.
Service for 19 April
The service for Sunday 19 April will be on the MA Facebook page on Sunday morning or at the following YouTube link:
Message and Resources from MA Leader
I hope that you are keeping well and staying safe as lockdown continues. I’m sure that this week’s news, that we are continuing as we are for at least another 3 weeks, was disappointing to some even though it was predictable. We will each cope with the restrictions differently depending on our personalities, so for some this will be more difficult than others. NHS Wales have just produced a pack of information on how to stay well at home which includes guidance on wellbeing and mental health. So if you are finding it hard (or running out of reading material!) you might to follow this link to read more:
If you want some guidance which also addresses the spiritual aspect the Church of England have a booklet which can be found and downloaded here:
Also a Roots link for 19 Apr. www.rootsontheweb.com/familiesathome19apr
A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Gregory
The latest pastoral letter from Bishop Gregory: Bishop Gregory’s Pastoral Letter 200415. He also continues to record a service each week in his chapel at Esgobty. You can find this, and a variety of other information and resources for the current time on the Diocesan website here: https://dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/
Winners of the Easter Garden and Tree Competition
For our Easter Competition, we invited people to create a decorated tree or garden representing Easter. There were categories for: trees made by aged 7 years and under, 8 to 16 and over 16, and gardens by aged 7 years and under, 8 to 16 and over 16. Entries were submitted by photograph and participants encouraged to display their creations in their front gardens or windows for people to enjoy as they walked past in these difficult times. Thank you to all who entered, there were some very ingenious, colourful and imaginative ideas. Congratulations to our winners: Nancy Rogers, Sam and Max Ryder, Cai Griffiths, Freya Williams, Carol and Mandy Williams, and Becky Baldwin. Each winner received a small prize (including a handmade ceramic cross donated by Angels Unaware Ceramics of County Antrim) and certificate. We hope the competition was enjoyed by all who took part. Below are the fantastic entries to our Easter Garden and Tree Competition 2020 and the winners are listed on the Winners poster and some are also pictured below:
A History Walk in Guilsfield
A leaflet with instructions for a short walk around Guilsfield pointing out some of it’s history and beginning at the Church is available to view, print and download at Guilsfield History Walk.
The links for the Easter Day service:
It will be on YouTube from 8pm on Saturday here: https://youtu.be/zVK8WI16hPg.
And on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PoolMissionArea/ from 8am Sunday morning.
See also a copy of the Bible Readings for Easter Day and a Mission Area Easter 2020 Service Sheet (including hymns). We have sent a letter out to regular worshippers for whom we do not have an email address to give them some Easter service resources.
A couple of things to help you to mark Good Friday in your own way at home: Jennie Willson has prepared a beautiful reflective service which you can watch on YouTube or Facebook. Either go to Pool Mission Area’s Facebook page or use one of the links below.
Also see a short prayerful Good Friday reflection designed to help us pray for those in need around us whilst remembering the events we commemorate today.
Easter Tree and Garden Competition
Photos of the entries for our Easter Tree and Garden Competition can be found here.
See also Prayers at a time of crisis.
The latest government restrictions require that all church buildings are locked, and no access granted, and so with a heavy heart we have locked the main door. This church building has stood at the centre of Guilsfield as a symbol of God’s presence, with us and among us, throughout plagues and pandemics in the past. He will hear our prayers wherever we say them.
While we’re not allowed in church if you would like me to light a candle for you among my icons at the vicarage do get in touch.
Services during Coronavirus
We are endeavoring to produce a service for every Sunday and are working on making the service for next week, Easter Sunday, a little more special. Watch this space! The service for this week, Palm Sunday is available now on You Tube. Just click on this link https://youtu.be/KunD-mAbxVE (or copy and paste it into your internet search box). If you use Facebook you’ll find it on the new Pool MA Facebook page on Sunday morning.
As the Palm Sunday gospel reading is so long there’s no sermon, instead the reading is accompanied by a visual depiction of the passion of Christ. This comes to us with permission from a church in Devon. Rev’d Caroline Rhodes has prepared most of the material, with Jessie Skewis (Forden) contributing the prayers. Jenny Willson has put it on-line for us and Helen Hayes has passed on the Roots material below – thanks to all of you. The reading sheet for this week is at Palm Sunday Readings, as is a copy of the Service of Morning Prayer at Home Caroline produced.
Roots are making available their resources that connect with the Sunday readings. They have materials for adults and for children. These are available as follows: Resources for Adults: www.rootsontheweb.com/adultsathome5apr, Resources for Families: www.rootsontheweb.com/familiesathome5apr.
Services from Esgobty: The Bishop has also been producing a weekly service from his private chapel at Esgobty. These appear on the diocesan website, together with all other material for the present time, at https://dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/coronavirus/digital-prayer-and-worship/worship-from-esgobty/ . The service released from Esgobty for Palm Sunday, will include the blessing of palms, and which will encourage people to lay their own palm crosses or other items in front of the screen to be include in the blessing. (which will at least allow people to identify with the ceremonies of the Church).
The Bishop has also produced a Eucharist. He acknowledges that he is am immensely privileged by having the location to be able to celebrate the Eucharist at home and this liturgy has been designed to enable people to share in the liturgy virtually and to make an Act of Spiritual Communion.
Services are planned to follow for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter (including a Ceremony of Light), and then for the Sundays after Easter.
There is also a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Gregory at Bishop’s Pastoral Letter.
Apart from the all other difficulties we are all facing, this time of lockdown will have a devastating effect on church finances. Most churches are suffering a severe loss of income and whilst there are some reductions in expenditure (assuming you’ve both remembered and been able to turn your heating off!) many of the other costs remain.
Some churches have already asked whether there can be a break from Share payments to the diocese but this is unlikely as the vast majority of the Share payment is to pay for the clergy and that cost is unaffected by the shutdown. Whilst some people seem to imagine we are sat around twiddling our thumbs whilst we have no services, the reality is that the clergy are as busy as ever; finding new ways of providing worship on-line or via resources people can use at home and also trying to help people in need in the wider community (such as coordinating the volunteer scheme in Welshpool that is taking up a lot of my time at the moment). We are also still trying to support people who have been bereaved which is especially challenging in the current circumstances.
The diocese is trying to reduce some of its other costs, for example, the Diocesan office is closed, with some staff working from home and other furloughed for the time being. But this will only save a very small percentage of our regular costs. Unfortunately, the Church in Wales is not a wealthy church as most of its assets were taken from it when we were disestablished 100 years ago this month, so these costs still have to be met somehow.
The churches that will best survive this difficult time are those where a significant proportion of the congregation give by Gift Direct or otherwise recognise the importance of continuing their regular giving, even though we are not actually in church to put an envelope on the plate.
The real question for each of us is Why do I give to the church? If we think, Why should I give when there are no church services to attend? that suggests we give to the church in return for what we get, but even then the church is still doing things for you now, as outlined above. You may think, I give to support the church in doing its work, in which case, again, hopefully its clear the church is still hard at work doing its job of reaching out to those in the wider community. Or maybe we give as an act of thanksgiving to God, as an expression of our appreciation for all that God is to us and does for us – and that of course remains solid and unchanged, even in such difficult times.
The problem for many of us may simply be a practical one – How can I give when I can’t go out of the house and the building isn’t open? To help with this the Church in Wales has established a new online payment method for people to make Gift Aid donations to the Church. This is the most efficient and effective way that people can help their local church during these difficult times. Anyone with internet access can simply type the following into Google (or whatever search engine you use) and find the details of how the scheme works: https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/gift-direct/ or you can go directly to https://www.churchinwales.org.uk/en/clergy-and-members/gift-direct/start-giving-your-parish/ to set up a payment.
Supporting your churches in this way will help to ensure you still have a church to go back to when this is all over!
Other people are suffering financially too!
You might like to consider applying the same logic to other things you regularly support too. If, for example, you regularly visit Powis Castle or ride on the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway you might like to consider helping them by donating the money you would normally spend on your day out there if you had been able to go. This will help these charities to survive. You could also consider applying the same approach to local businesses. If, for example, you like to visit your local pub now and again, there is more likely to still be a pub for you to visit if you consider giving them the money you would have spent this weekend if you’d been able to go. If enough people do that it may be enough to help keep them afloat.
More resources for Young People
Tim Feak, our Diocesan under-25s Officer, has been putting lots of resources for young people on our diocesan website: https://dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/coronavirus/resources-for-young-people/
The Resources are under the following headings;
Things to do at home
Worship and Prayer
Mental Health and Well Being.
Tim says, “If you can’t find what you are looking for in any of this then please do contact me. I have a great deal of access to a great many resources. I would love to help support you. Please let me know how.”
Tim can be reach via:
Tel : 01745 532595 or 07918 729 461
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Manafon in the Caereinion MA.
Church in Wales Coronavirus Guidance
All services have been cancelled until further notice and the latest Church in Wales detailed guidance regarding Coroanvirus can be found on the following link: https://dioceseofstasaph.org.uk/coronavirus/.
Resources for Worshipping at Home
Some resources that can be used to worship at home during this difficult time of restricting social contact and self-isolation are Service of Morning Prayer at Home and Bible Readings and Collects for Sundays.
Forthcoming Mission Area Events:
All future services and events cancelled or postponed until further notice.