ABC is thriving – find out about it!

Since starting on 13 September, ABC (Adults, Babies, Children) has been full every week! Not only is it a time of play, songs, stories and refreshments for little ones, it’s also a time for their adults to have coffee and connect with others at the same stage of life. The feedback has been really positive and we are so pleased to see young families being able to meet together again.

For the moment, places are necessarily limited to 15 little ones with their adults, so please remember to book your place each week.

ABC runs every Monday in term time from 9.15-11am – Patrick and Belinda look forward to welcoming you.

Cricketing and Community news

Despite a wet start last Sunday, we played a thoroughly enjoyable 100 ball match. The cakes were a huge hit with the players and supporters – warm thanks to Adele, each baker and helper. Jeff and Moya in the clubhouse made us most welcome, as did the Maori Oxshott team. Two mixed and good humoured teams played a close match – we won! Thanks to Gavin for facilitating and to all our supporters. A definite fixture for our 2022 community calendar.

Moving forwards

Thank you for your prayers as the Wardens, Patrick and I met on 31 August to discuss the way forward for St Andrew’s church services and ministries for the next period.

We have decided to prioritise restarting three elements of our normal Sunday pattern:

  • children’s provision every Sunday;
  • each ‘style’ of service to have more of its distinct character (including live music);
  • refreshments.

Therefore, for the time being, we will continue simply to hold one service at 10am on Sundays, alternating in style between Traditional and Contemporary as before. All current guidelines (for example, wearing masks for singing, etc) will remain.

From Wednesday 8 September at 11.30am our mid-week Communion will re-start, as a said, quiet, fully socially distanced service, using traditional liturgy.

We also aim to resume other ministries in this period (such as Craft Group, etc) as soon as risk assessments are completed by the leaders and approved by the wardens.

These decisions have been taken prayerfully, considering the resources we currently have available, and our concern to monitor the Covid infection rates as the schools return. The wardens, Patrick and I will continue to meet regularly to review the situation and the PCC meets on 28 September when this will be an agenda item.

I understand that this is not what we anticipated and hoped for by this stage. However, we continue to hold onto the values expressed in the following verses from Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

‘You, my brothers and sisters, were called to freedom.
But do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence;
rather, serve one another humbly in love.
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
“Love your neighbour as yourself.”’

(Galatians 5.13-14)

Finally,  we recommend that everyone who attends a service or a church activity should take a lateral flow test beforehand. These are available free of charge (in packs of 7) from the government website or by dialing 119 (which is a freephone number, lines open 7am-11pm).

As ever, please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss any of these matters.

Blessings,

Enjoy our new vestibule sofas!

We hope you like the new look vestibule – a step on the way to making our entrance look and feel more welcoming and comfortable. You are welcome to drop in and try them out anytime – the church is currently open from 9-1 each weekday and, of course, now on Sundays!

Enjoy our refurbished playground!

A wonderful team of volunteers has worked very hard over the last few weeks to restore the outdoor playground (at the back of the church) to its former glory. Please stop by to admire it and bring your little ones to enjoy it too. There are also benches and seats for you to meet and chat, and don’t forget the coffee van at St Andrew’s every Friday from 8-12.30 and from 2.30-4pm!

Services in Church

I do hope that you are enjoying the summer and the positive effects of the lessening of Covid-19 restrictions. We continue to pray for patience and strength for those of you still waiting to meet up with loved ones; for example, those who live abroad.

I am writing to inform you of the decisions which I have taken with the clergy and wardens of St Andrew’s Oxshott to enable us to move into the new normal, whilst keeping us safe and loving the most vulnerable or anxious. Thank you for your patience with us. In all our decisions we have borne in mind these verses from Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, which I commend to you:

‘You, my brothers and sisters, were called to freedom.
But do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence;
rather, serve one another humbly in love.
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
” Love your neighbour as yourself.”‘                                   (Galatians 5.13-14)

As there are quite a number of separate points to pass on, I have set them out in a list with side-headings to enable you to refer to them as necessary.

Please note that these guidelines come into effect on 15 August.

Services

The current pattern of one 10am service alternating between a traditional or an Oxshott Praise style will continue for August. The Listen & Pray section will be live streamed, and the Communion will not.

Booking

The current booking system is now suspended both for private prayer on Wednesdays and for the service on Sunday at 10am. Please feel free to come.

One way system, Hand sanitizer, Q.R. code

We will retain all of these. Please sign in using the church QR code if possible, so that we can contact you if there is a case of Covid-19 discovered. Please also use the hand sanitizer. The one-way system will be retained.

Masks and Singing

Please continue to wear masks as you enter or move around the building (including when you come up for Communion). Singing for everyone will be re-introduced.  However, we ask that everyone in church should wear a mask whilst standing and singing. Those taking any part in services will continue to wear masks except when actively leading or speaking.

Seating

Seats will be returned to a more normal configuration. The church building will be divided into ‘zones’, with an area of socially distanced seating to the north side and an area towards the south-door where those who do not wish to wear a mask will be directed. Those least happy mixing will sit on the left and towards the back in wider-spaced seats. The welcomers will direct you.

There will also be a supply of ‘Reserved’ signs available to pick up and place on the seats either side of you to help you feel safer. However, please make use of the zones too.

Administration of Communion

We are pleased to offer Communion in both kinds in two alternative ways, using two separate stations:

  1. Wafers intincted (dipped) by the priest into the wine will be available at the chancel steps, where recipients will stand in a line along the step (suitably spaced out)
  2. Wafers and then wine from a common cup will be offered at the steps of the former lady chapel, similarly in a row along the step and standing

Everyone will move forward in a line down the central aisle, before making a choice either to carry on to join the row at the chancel step, or to move to the right (south) to form a row there.  This sounds more complicated than it is: the welcomers will direct you!*

Refreshments

We want to encourage everyone who wishes to linger after the service outside. Until September, we would like to encourage you to bring refreshments (for example, a flask of coffee) ready to share. If the weather is good, please bring picnic rugs to sit on the grass or use the new benches on the terrace.

Provision for Children

We welcome families to attend church, but we are unable to provide separate provision during August. From September, we plan to provide children’s activities from the Oxshott Praise service.

Lateral Flow Tests

Many (especially children) are used to using these ahead of meeting up with others.   Can I encourage you to use these on a weekly basis before attending Church?

I will write a further Pastoral Letter at the end of August giving information about Services from September onwards. Meanwhile, I hope these guidelines will bring joy and encourage you to come!

Blessings,

*Important note:

Under the current circumstances, the clergy of St Andrew’s Oxshott (myself, Patrick and Jolyon) would all prefer to offer wine at Communion in small individual cups, to enable everyone to participate more fully in Communion in two kinds. However, this has been expressly forbidden by the Church of England. The wardens are writing to represent our view to the bishop.

An update from Frances

I am writing to share two updates: first, regarding the plans for the redevelopment of our church ancillary buildings and secondly, concerning the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions by the Government on 19 July.

Redevelopment at St Andrew’s

Since the last BYC update, we have been awaiting The Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) response to our plans, and also taking time to absorb the feedback about evolving church and community needs post-covid. The DAC’s site visit (delayed due to lockdown restrictions), has taken place and the Steering Group has subsequently received their report.

In the report, the DAC have raised some challenging questions to help both them and us be sure of our options amidst the complexities of climate crisis and post-covid. Archdeacon Martin has subsequently reassured me that they have no query with our Vision, only with how we develop the very best buildings and space around them to serve that Vision. We know we now need to take time to build more personal relationships with the DAC in order that we might work together to achieve the best outcome for our buildings at St Andrew’s. An important meeting is to be held next week between representatives of the DAC and the St Andrew’s Steering Group to begin this vital process.

Obviously, the timing of the BYC project has been affected. As a result, we have taken the decision to withdraw from the current round of CIL applications, and we are reassured that our re-application will be welcomed.

In the meantime, can I ask you once again to be committed to praying for this initiative as we ask God to encourage and guide us as we attempt to follow His plan for his church in Oxshott.

What will church be like after 19 July?

The second matter I wanted to update you on concerns the Government’s plan to remove all remaining restrictions on 19 July. Whilst this is obviously a wonderful point to have reached in the Covid-19 pandemic, it does not mean that life (and, specifically, services and activities at St Andrew’s Oxshott) will immediately ‘go back to normal.’

Throughout the pandemic, the Anglican Church’s response to Government guidelines has been interpreted for local churches like ours by the House of Bishops. This will remain the case even after 19 July.  In addition, ‘Just because we can, does not mean we should’ (to quote the Diocese of Guildford’s Mission Enabler). In other words, even though restrictions may no longer be imposed upon us by the Government, the wardens and clergy of St Andrew’s will be monitoring things very carefully after 19 July, with no changes being made immediately. I will write to let you know about any proposed changes or lessening of restrictions in church as these are developed, in the same way as when restrictions were first introduced.

I do hope that this is reassuring for everyone.

If you feel that you would like to comment upon either of these updates, please feel free to send your comments or concerns to me via the following email address: (please note carefully the spelling of Frances!)

Blessings,

Revd Frances Trickey, Vicar

Join St Andrew’s in giving thanks for our vaccines

For so many of us in Oxshott, and for millions across the UK, the availability of a free vaccine has brought a deep sense of relief and hope. However, we are increasingly aware of the huge disparities in how communities and families are able to protect themselves in places around the world. We are the ‘Haves’ and so many are the ‘Have nots.’

As a gesture of thankfulness for our vaccines, I would like to challenge the community of Oxshott to give generously in support of this St Andrew’s initiative in tandem with Christian Aid. Whether you can give just a few pounds or a much larger sum, it will be an opportunity to share hope and love with our brothers and sisters across the world.

For more information, please visit our Just Giving page Giving Thanks for our Vaccines in Oxshott

Thank you for your generosity at this crucial time,

Sharing our gifts

Christian Aid Week is fast approaching, giving us a chance to share the generous gifts that God has given us. Mark Currie is our local representative…

Now is your chance to share what you have with those in greater need! In order to inspire us to share our love for our neighbours, we are planning to hold another quiz event, and communications about this season’s quiz will be routed through the Life Groups.

I will also be taking on a personal challenge involving a bike (or two); a cathedral (or two or maybe more) and possibly some sheep. It will be a carbon neutral challenge, so will be in keeping with the theme of this year’s Christian Aid Week, which is focused on Climate Justice.

The world’s poorest communities are suffering the most whilst they have contributed the least to the problem of global warming. The devastating climate crisis robs people of the water and food they need to live.

Please donate this Christian Aid Week. Your gift could help a community build an earth dam, providing a regular and reliable source of water in affected areas of Kenya and other affected countries.

  • £4.40 could teach 10 farmers how to plant drought-tolerant crops that can survive the drought.
  • £10 could buy a pair of taps at a water point, which will be installed at an earth dam making it easier for people to fetch water.
  • £42 could buy 350 kg of cement, which is needed to build an earth dam.

Please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-currie8 if you are able to make a donation, so that we can associate the donations with the St Andrew’s community, and I can keep you updated on progress.

Creator God, from the tree of the garden of Eden, to the tree in the city in Revelation, we thank you for your vision of creation healed. Help us to be your agents of restoration, tending to the beauty of the Earth, and enabling your healing of the nations. Amen.

Mark Currie

Welcomers wanted

Welcomers (formerly known as sidesmen and women)

Our loyal team of Welcomers fulfils a vital role in our openness to the community. We are currently looking for more people who feel able to offer a warm welcome to everyone who arrives at church, whether ‘regulars’ or visitors. At this stage, please just leave your name and details with the office team to register your interest and the wardens/Gwen will arrange to have a chat about the role. If you decide to go ahead, you will be put on the rota for whichever style of service you prefer to attend, and the commitment is likely to be roughly once per month.