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St Mary's Morning Worship returns in August

After a lot of hard work and planning, it has now been agreed that St Mary's will be able to reopen safely for Morning Worship on Sundays from August. That means we will be open this Sunday, 2nd August. To assist with cleaning, there will be just one service at 10.00am. Doors will be open from 9.45am.

If you have already been in to church for private prayer, you will know that it looks very different. There is social distanced seating, and everyone is encouraged to use hand sanitiser. Separate seats will be available at the front of church, and for those in family groups, there will be seating at the back of the church. The stewards will direct you to your seat. For services, the government and the House of Bishops 'strongly advise' the use of facemasks, so we would request that you wear a facemask when attending services. In addition to bringing a facemask, please can you print off a copy of the service to bring with you and take home again after the service. There will be some copies available in church for those who do not have a printer. During August, worship will be Morning Prayer, similar to the liturgy online, only without any hymns. We will however have organ music and I am delighted that Stephen Axford has agreed to play for our services.

The church will be closed after the Morning Service to allow for cleaning, so it will be open only on Wednesdays 10am-4pm for private prayer.

The online services will continue to be available on St Mary's website and Facebook page for those who wish to access them.

I am really looking forward to being able to worship together in church again, despite the restrictions we will face. I hope you will be able to join us.

Every blessing,
Joy


Morning Prayer - Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Here is a video of the Morning Prayer service for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity from St Mary's Eaton Bray (19 July 2020). Please also see this week's Message from Catherine.

The service can be followed using the Service Booklet for Sunday 19 July 2020.


Following the statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, there will be no services at St Mary's, Eaton Bray or All Saints, Dagnall until further notice. We will however, be doing our best to meet the Archbishops' challenge to bring 'church' to people in different ways, so please revisit the St Mary's Eaton Bray Church website and our Facebook page.

If you are in need of help, please ring the Vicar on 01525 220261 or send a message via the contact page.


Message from Catherine - Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Sixth Sunday after Trinity - 19 July 2020

Joy has asked me to write this week's message so I would like to take the opportunity to update you on what's been happening in recent months and what will happen when our doors are open for services once again.

What's been going on

Not everything has come to a standstill during lockdown. Some external maintenance jobs have been carried out on the church and our long awaited new brick path has been laid to the car park. It looks very smart and matches the other paths to the church. It will also be safer as it is smoother, wider and has a handrail on the section nearest the car park to help people who find the slope there difficult.

Finance

During the Coronavirus lockdown, St Mary's, like all charities has had concerns about finances. In our case we have suffered loss of fundraising income and cash offerings made at services. In particular, loss of funds from Carnival will prevent us from adding to our Fabric Fund this year and it is through the Fabric Fund th at we manage to keep our lovely but expensive, Grade 1 listed building in good repair.

However, all is not gloom as many people have responded to our concerns in these difficult times. Some have changed their giving from cash or envelopes to standing orders, others have sent in cheques, or posted their weekly envelopes through my door. We are very grateful to everyone for their generosity and continuing commitment.

Our new online giving platform

Give a Little, has made a very successful start. We have had two campaigns; the first invited people who made a saving on petrol during the lockdown, to pass some of that bonus onto St Mary's. This has so far raised £525, to which gift aid of more than £100 will be added.

Another fundraiser has been our successful Scarecrow Competition which I'm sure did not escape your attention! Donations are now over £1000 and gift aid will also boost that total. This event was not only about money though, as the intention was also to create a fun weekend for villagers, in compensation for loss of the Carnival this year. It was enthusiastically received by local people and there have been many requests for it to be made a regular event.

Charitable donations

Although we are concerned about our own income, we are not for getting other charities. We will share the proceeds of the Scarecrow Competition with Dunstable Foodbank as they were to have been one of the major beneficiaries of Carnival funds. Here is a summary of the support St Mary's has already given to charities this year:

  • £275 to Foodbank from contributions made 'in the jar' earlier this year
  • £250 to Foodbank from the PCC's charitable giving fund
  • £500 to Christian Aid from St Mary's including donations from the Churches Together event 'Pancakes & Prayer'
  • £210 to Send a Cow in memory of Sheila Heffer. Our contribution benefited from the UK Gov Match Aid scheme and so this will fund two cows to help support impoverished families in Africa.

Opening the doors at St Mary's

I'm sure you know that churches may now open for services. We have not rushed to do this as there are many matters to take into consideration. We have been following the guidance of the Church of England and the Diocese and above all, safety has been our concern. We plan to open in August; there will be more precise information soon.

The experience of attending church will of course be very different for the foreseeable future. Here are some indications of what to expect:

  • Seats have been separated so individuals are socially distanced. Members of the same household may of course sit together and seats will be arranged in part of the church to allow this.
  • Hand sanitizer is available and should be used when entering and leaving church.
  • Service sheets will be one use only and we ask people to avoid touching things in church unnecessarily.
  • We will not be allowed to sing at present as this encourages the spread of the virus but we will have music.

Digital Church

We know that not everyone will be able to return to services in church immediately but no one will be forgotten. Our online services which can be accessed on our website, Facebook page and You Tube channel will continue; we know they have been appreciated by many and have really h elped keep us together in these strange times.

Lockdown has made us embrace the digital world; we have had to learn so much quickly and we are exploring ways of live streaming or recording the service in church so that the whole of our community can wor ship together.

With all good wishes
Catherine


Morning Prayer - Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Here is a video of the Morning Prayer service for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity from St Mary's Eaton Bray (12 July 2020). Please also see this week's Message from Joy.

The service can be followed using the Service Booklet for Sunday 12 July 2020.


Following the statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, there will be no services at St Mary's, Eaton Bray or All Saints, Dagnall until further notice. We will however, be doing our best to meet the Archbishops' challenge to bring 'church' to people in different ways, so please revisit the St Mary's Eaton Bray Church website and our Facebook page.

If you are in need of help, please ring the Vicar on 01525 220261 or send a message via the contact page.


Message from Joy - Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Many thanks to all those who took part in the Scarecrow Festival last weekend. There were so many imaginative ideas and lots of creative talent on display. A special thank you to the organising team - Catherine, Barbara and Sue - to the judges in each of the villages and to everyone who donated. With the Gift Aid included, we raised over £1,000, which is a magnificent sum for St Mary's church and Dunstable Foodbank. It was lovely to see so many people out and about admiring the scarecrows and having their pictures taken with some of them. Even the weather held out, despite the wind.

Gordon will be holding another jigsaw exchange this coming Monday 13th July 2020 on his drive at Oakins, Northall between 10am and 12 noon. The next event will be Open Gardens on 23rd August, so watch this space for more details of that.

The Sunday Service will be available to view from Sunday morning on St Mary's FaceBook page, on the church website https://www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk and on YouTube. There is also a copy attached with this email. Many thanks to all those who have contributed to this week's worship. Don't forget St Mary's will be open for private prayer on Sunday between 11am and 4pm and on Wednesday from 10am to 4pm. We are still working on plans for reopening St Mary's for Sunday worship and will let you know in due course when that will begin.

With every blessing,
Joy


Morning Prayer - Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Here is a video of the Morning Prayer service for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity from St Mary's Eaton Bray (5 July 2020). Please also see this week's Message from Joy which includes details of this weekend's Scarecrow Festival.

The service can be followed using the Service Booklet for Sunday 5 July 2020.


Following the statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, there will be no services at St Mary's, Eaton Bray or All Saints, Dagnall until further notice. We will however, be doing our best to meet the Archbishops' challenge to bring 'church' to people in different ways, so please revisit the St Mary's Eaton Bray Church website and our Facebook page.

If you are in need of help, please ring the Vicar on 01525 220261 or send a message via the contact page.



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