Statement by Bishop of Durham on the Death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Dear Brothers and Sisters
I bring you the sad news of the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
“The Rt Revd Paul Butler Bishop of Durham said: “The Church of England in the Diocese of Durham and people across our region joins Her Majesty The Queen, members of the Royal Family and those across the country who mourn the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. His dedication to Queen and Country born out of his Christian faith stands as an inspiration for us all.”
“He gave a lifetime of devoted public service. He was a distinguished young Lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was outstanding as consort to The Sovereign. An exile as a baby from his native Greece, Prince Philip committed himself and his future to the United Kingdom. He is well remembered for his love of a wide range of sports, his sense of humour, and his long and devoted marriage to The Queen. As one baptised in the Orthodox faith, Prince Philip shared in a truly global Christian faith. May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.”
“It was my personal privilege, as a bishop, to meet Prince Philip on a small number of occasions. Each time he took a keen interest in the people and setting in which we met. He listened thoughtfully and was always ready with an apposite comment or observation.”
If you are able to attend on Sunday let us know by contacting the office either by email email@example.com or phone 0191 4220445 so that we can monitor numbers.
What a long time it is since we last met together in the church building. But we haven’t stopped being church in all that time. We’ve been meeting and worshipping online and while it has its limitations we have been grateful for the technology which has made this possible.
The time has come, however, when we can take some gentle steps back into the church building for worship. So, we are throwing open the church doors for worship starting Sunday 4 April, but we need to do this cautiously and carefully.
We know that returning to the church building will not be something everyone can or wants to do at this time. Some of you may be shielding or significantly limiting your social contacts, some of you may feel it’s too soon for this step – and that’s absolutely fine. The first thing to say is that we will be maintaining the online worship through Zoom as well as the uploading of the Service to Facebook and the sermon to YouTube. We will also ensure those who require a DVD will continue to receive this.
We will not be in a position to undertake Sunday School (this will remain online) so unless the little ones are able to stay with you we ask that you continue to have patience until it’s deemed safe to come again.
While we will be taking a number of steps to keep you safe, we cannot make this risk-free.
Please do not to attend the service if you have:
- A new cough, a temperature, lost your sense of smell or taste.
If you do decide to come to church you will find that we’ve had to make some changes to keep everyone safe.
- The service will be a said Communion service at 10.15am on Sunday Mornings.
- Communion will be in one kind – i.e., bread only.
- A mask will be required and at present, no singing is allowed.
- Seating will be spaced out so that there is 2m between individuals or household groups.
- The Service will be shorter than usual.
- There will be no refreshments served after the service.
- All current guidelines on social distancing will need to be observed – this means that there is no scope for socialising before or after the service.
Here is an outline of what you can expect when you arrive at church.
- When you arrive you will be welcomed and directed into church to avoid a queue at the sanitising station.
- Before you enter please put your mask on.
- On entering the building please use the hand sanitiser.
- We will record your attendance for track and trace purposes. If you develop COVID19
symptoms within a 3 week period of attending church you need to notify us.
- Please keep apart by 2 metres at all times
- The order of service leaflet will be found on your nominated chair.
- During Communion, only bread will be distributed.
- At the end of the service please stay in your seat until you are directed to leave. You may be directed out through any of the church doors.
- On leaving the building please be aware of not blocking anyone else’s exit by stopping outside the church doors.
I know this may sound a little daunting but we want you to have the best experience without additional concerns during what is, a very disrupting time. On a more positive note I was encouraged by Hebrews 10:19 – 25 where the writer reminds the reader of what Christ has done, how we are a people of confidence and assurance in our God and as such we meet to be an encouragement to one another.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
As ever, there is a lot to take in, so well done if you have made it through to the end!
Let me finish by sharing one of my favourite verses as a blessing (Romans 15.13):
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us continue to be the people of hope in our community.
Yours in Christ
Prayer Course – update
What a blessing the prayer course has been and with two groups running we have seen 20 people participate. The challenge of such courses comes in how we apply what we have been taught. Damian did just that in our Central prayer meeting where he used the P.R.A. Y Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield. from the session on Adoration.
There was a lot of additional material, which we barely touched on in the sessions Toolbox. The course is freely available prayercourse.org which means we can return again again to refresh and explore further.
One idea that came up was in asking a friend, a family member, or anyone that comes to mind to go through the course with you or even select a session to concentrate on.
Our Church is developing in new and exciting ways and as it does so will appeal to different aspects of our nature. As our mission culture takes root there needs to be space to recognise how our gifts and talents work along side one other as an expression of the body of Christ in Gateshead. The prayer course was a reminder that what ever our approach or understanding all things need to be brought to the Lord first in prayer.
Thank you for your contributions, personal stories and insights they were a real encouragement.
Now, as someone recently told me ” …a prompt from God today, keep on keeping on, believe God is preparing the hearts of people in Hillside, to use their gifts to step out in faith…”
The Prayer Course Team will be releasing a follow-up so we’ll keep you informed as to when we can link in with this.
Glen and Rory
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