As we now know that Covid restrictions will continue until 17th July, I am writing to assure you of our Church’s continuing care for you. Disorientation from normal routine can leave one both frustrated and floundering. In the book of Proverbs (13:12) we read that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”, and, due to the variants of this virus, our hope of greater freedoms, with more personal human contact, has been deferred many times round. On the one hand, so many of us are just tired of maintaining the ‘distanced and masked’ status quo, however it is also true that deaths from the Delta Variant are, sadly, growing.
This growing number of deaths means, I regret, that we cannot invite you to sing again as a congregation yet – we very much hope that restriction will be lifted soon.
Nonetheless, I would urge you to give attention to your spiritual, mental and emotional health, as well as safeguarding your physical well-being; of course, they are all related, holistically. However, it is the personal routines of healthy spirituality that, once they slip, cease to feed us with the good news of God’s generous unconditional love for each of us.
Sunday by Sunday, it quite simply ‘does us good’ to meet as part of our Church communities. Human beings are deeply social and that is expressed in our corporate worship as Church, particularly at Communion; this is more than just our personal relationship with God, important though that is. In corporate worship, week by week, Sunday by Sunday, we open ourselves to be formed by God, and in response to each other. You can bring your friends along too.
Friends can also be brought along to prayer and Bible Study meetings. At the moment, each Wednesday afternoon at 4pm, a group meets in our garden (18 Wimborne Road) to study St John’s Gospel. We are using Tom Wright’s book, ‘Broken Signposts’, to help us savour some of the richness of that Gospel. Do join us – just turn up, no need to say in advance that you are coming. We shall provide the all-important tea. It feeds our hearts and minds to celebrate the goodness of the Gospels.
On 27th June, St Peter’s Day, we shall particularly celebrate at 10am in St Peter’s, at the Patronal Festival Eucharist, all that God has done for us in the past and will do for us in the future.
That future is rich with possibilities – worshipful and choral, beautifying and restoring grounds and church buildings, caring for the poor and vulnerable, and doing all these things in partnership with others. You – the people of Bournemouth, God’s people – are our greatest resource.
Resourcing St Peter’s with the financial under-pinning necessary for the next stage of its journey, post-Covid restrictions, is our focus on Friday, 25th June, which is St Peter’s Gift Day. The DCC and I would ask you, sincerely, to review your levels of regular giving to the Church as realistically and generously as you can. Speaking honestly, levels of voluntary giving were at a worrying low (except in a few cases of generosity, for which we are grateful) before the pandemic. You will hardly need me to emphasise the extent to which the church, which has to operate as a small business, is, frankly, struggling with its medium to long term budgeting now, in the same way as so many small businesses are suffering. Please, help us.
On St Peter’s Church Gift Day: Friday, 25th June, I shall be in church from 10am until 4pm to receive donations to fund the mission and maintenance of St Peter’s. There will be a celebratory 1pm Jazz Concert in St Peter’s. You can give by cheque, cash, contactless payment or by covenanting – and, if you are a tax-payer, it will help us gain an extra 25% if you complete a Gift Aid yellow envelope to accompany your very welcome gift. We shall give thanks for those gifts during our Eucharistic worship on 27th.
Parry’s Cafe has now reopened in St Peter’s on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am – 2pm. Do contact Chris Mayne if you would like to help with the cafe. This is an important part of our welcoming people – all people – to the glorious sacred space that is St Peter’s Church.
Welcoming is at the heart of our human vocation. We are called by God to welcome and cherish those who are excluded and marginalised. That welcoming can begin with ‘being there’ in St Peter’s to welcome warmly all our very many visitors. I would be delighted to hear from those of you who would be happy to go on a weekly rota of welcomers to St Peter’s.
This coming Sunday, 20th June, is Trinity 3.
Services ‘in person’ will be as follows in our three churches, and there will continue to be a video offering on the usual YouTube channel. Follow this link: TRINITY 3 REFLECTIONS and TRINITY 3 PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
8am Communion at St Peter’s Church, in the Keble Chapel.
At 10am at St Peter’s: I shall preside and the Rev’d Dr Chris Steed will preach. The launch of Chris’ books will be later during the Summer because the book-signing is not appropriate during the ongoing Covid restrictions.
10am Communion: St Augustin’s: The Rev’d John Staples.
10.45 am Mass: St Stephen’s: The Rev’d David Lund.
Next Sunday, 27th June, St Peter’s Day:
8am Communion at St Peter’s.
10am St Peter’s: Patronal Festival Eucharist: I shall preside and The Rev’d Dr Paul Collins will preach.
10am St Augustin’s: The Rev’d Dr David Wheeler will preside and preach.
10.45am St Stephen’s: The Rev’d Stephen Holmes will preside and preach.
May God bless you richly in His service,
The Rev’d Dr Ian Terry: Rector