We are a community of Christians seeking to serve and love those around us. We are part of the Colchester Town Centre Parish, and our building is at the top of North Hill (where it meets the High Street). Our congregation is made up of people of various ages and stages, some of whom live in the parish and many of whom come from further afield.
Public worship is suspended across the Church of England, which means that there will be no services in church until further notice. This closure now also includes baptisms and weddings, although funerals can be taken at a graveside (but with only immediate family in attendance).
Although churches had previously been encouraged to be open for private prayer, the advice has now changed. As of this last week, the church building is now completely closed, and it is imperative that no-one enters the building.
The deadline for the Annual Church Meetings has been postponed by the National Church until 31st October. A date will be set once it has become clear when the current restrictions will be lifted. The current Churchwardens, Dan Watts and Wendy Whitfield, will remain in post until the Visitation Services can be rearranged (probably: January 2021).
If you could do with assistance in getting online, there are many in our congregation willing to help! We are finding Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom to be very useful ways of staying in touch. If you would like help getting involved with any or all of these, please let Mark know (01205 572641).
*** ONLINE OPPORTUNITIES ***
No one is pretending that online contact is as good as face-to-face fellowship. But in this time of social isolation, it may be that online opportunities are better than nothing. Here are a few to be aware of:
‘Worship with the Wallaces’. On Sunday, online, starting at 11am, via Mark’s @towncentrevicar page on Facebook.
Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer via Facebook Live. You can join in live via Facebook at 9am and 5pm, or ‘catch up’ any time afterwards, via Mark’s Facebook page (@towncentrevicar).
WhatsApp. There is a St Peter’s Church WhatsApp group, which we are using for prayer and encouragement. If you would like to join the 43 (at time of writing!) already involved, please send a text to Mark’s mobile on 07772 615378.
Sermons. There are some great sermons available online. Here are some good places to start:
Thank you to all who have offered help in the last few days. Here is where things stand at the moment:
Practical support. This is now being co-ordinated by Morvern Cox and Bernice Watts. If you can offer help, and especially if you need help, they can be contacted by email on [email protected]
Make a Mother’s Day. Thank you to all who have given in support of our sponsorship of Mary Crist Bilardo (in the Philippines) and Richard Enderson Oliveira (in Brazil) through Compassion. As of Sunday morning, the total stood at over £400. The appeal will stay open until Palm Sunday, so you can still give: if online, then the sort code is 09-01-54 and the account is 36051087 (please use reference: Compassion); if it’s easier to give by cheque, please make it payable to St Peter’s PCC and post it to the Vicarage (Balkerne Close, Colchester CO1 1NZ). Thank you.
Giving to Foodbanks. Supplies are running very low indeed. At the time of writing, we have not yet been able to establish a viable way for us, as a church, to assist with this particular need. If that changes, we will let you know. Meanwhile, do please keep praying for the work of the Trussell Trust around the country.
Supporting Beacon House. Dan Watts, who is one of the Trustees at Beacon House, is co-ordinating our partnership to support homeless people through this time. If you might be in a position to help, please contact Dan directly.
*** THE CHURCH DIARY *** please note: as always, this is provisional (see James 4.15!)
SAFEGUARDING. St Peter’s is committed to safeguarding children, young people, victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, and vulnerable adults. The PCC has adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding, which may be found here — https://www.churchofengland.org/more/safeguarding
Our Parish Safeguarding Officer is Mrs Anne Kavanagh, who may be contacted through the Parish Office or via the contact details displayed immediately inside the West Door of the church.