A very different Church community

We, in common with all Anglican churches across the nation, are currently sharing our worship and prayer virtually, while our church buildings remain closed and we stay at home. But that is not to say that there is no ‘church’ on Salisbury Plain. Far from it! These are a few of the things we are doing instead:

We are sending out daily audio clips of Prayers, with a recorded set of readings and a reflection on Sunday.

We have created printed booklets for those who do not use the internet/computers, and sent an e-file to those who do.

We have also put together a booklet for families to use to help with worship at home, and to think creatively about Easter.

We have begun to host worship using Zoom every Sunday, ranging from more formal services such as Compline or Evensong to more interactive things such as Family Service and Bible Studies.

We have encouraged people to place crosses in their homes and gardens on Palm Sunday as a sign as we recall Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and light candles on Sunday evenings in prayer

In our villages cairns have been created during Holy week, with people leaving a single stone or pebble at the church during the course of their daily exercise. These were transformed into Easter Gardens over the Easter weekend.

We continue to support those who are grieving, currently being able to share the orders of service for funerals with those who cannot be present, and offering phone support to those we cannot be with in person

We continue to serve our communities with many people signing up as volunteers to help those who are stuck at home.

We continue to be the Church, the Body of Christ.

If you are anxious about a loved one in this parish, please feel free to make contact with us, and we will do all we can to help you.

What are we doing about Coronavirus (Covid-19)?

If you are considering coming to a service in our churches, or have a relative living in one of the villages in our parish, you may well be wondering about what our plans and preparations are regarding Coronavirus.

In brief, we’re following the guidance of the Church of England, who in turn have taken advice from the Government and Public Health authorities. But we are also beginning to consider how we can support our communities properly in the event of an outbreak here or nearby. Below we have listed some of the things we are doing, and some which we are already thinking about, should things change. If you have any questions or are worried, please do feel free to contact us. You can use the contact us page or give us a ring at the parish office.

What we are already doing:

We have introduced either handwashing with soap (in Shrewton and Maddington Church Room) or use of alcohol hand gel for every church gathering on our premises. We’d like to encourage everyone who comes to a service or event with us to use hand gel or was their hands thoroughly as they arrive and before they leave.

When we exchange The Peace with one another we’re encouraging people not to shake hands or exchange a kiss. Many are simply greeting one another with words, some are using the ‘elbow bump’, and others may even choose to use BSL to sign their greeting.

When we prepare the altar for Holy Communion we are using alcohol hand gel to make sure our hands are clean before and after Communion. We are also encouraging those preparing for Communion services to do the same.

We have explained to our congregations that you can receive Holy Communion ‘in one kind’ ie. just the bread or just the wine. We will not ‘intinct’ (dip) a wafer in the wine, and we will not place wafers onto the tongue of a member of the congregation.

Those who do not wish to receive from the Chalice (also referred to as the ‘Common Cup’) are welcome to come up to receive the bread only.

What we are already thinking about:

We may decide to stop serving refreshments at meetings or after services.

We may cease using the Chalice entirely for the services of Holy Communion

We may begin to use ‘single use’ hymn sheets and service sheets

We may stop passing around the collection plate/bag

Other things we are taking into account:

In addition, we want to continue to be as present and supportive to our communities as ever. So other things we are exploring are how we can ensure people do not become isolated should they, or those who usually care for them, become ill. We cannot do this work on our own, of course, and so we are talking to others in our local community to find the best way ahead.

We are also keen to encourage everyone in the community, of whatever age, to think carefully about who they might call upon should they be in need of assistance; and who in turn might value their phone number for reassurance and support from them should they need it. This is something we can all do, and will make us stronger as a whole community regardless of the development of Coronavirus here.

Finally, we are thinking ahead to those significant life events that people mark with us, in the Church. At this point, marriages, funerals and baptisms can continue as normal. Should this change, we will be thinking of how we can usefully delay services (in the case of Marriage or Baptism), or find a compromise (in the case of funerals) which will help those people and families concerned.

We want to share all of this with you not to cause panic or alarm, but to reassure you that we are thinking about all eventualities so that we are best prepared. If you have any questions about things we have not covered here, please do feel free to get in touch.

Church with a conscience?

The temperature has just plummeted on Salisbury Plain and it is always a stark reminder to us of what life is like for those who are homeless in this country at this time of year. Because of our promixity to Salisbury, the parish have long been supporters of both the Trussell Trust, and Alabare. But what does ‘support’ really mean? Do we really make a difference?

The things we think are important are: offering shelter. Occasionally people have taken shelter in the porches of our churches or even inside- where temperatures aren’t always much better. At this time of year, we’d rather they were properly indoors and so we try to ensure we work with local colleagues to offer decent shelter overnight.

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Celebrating Christmas in the Parish 2019

We all have our favourite type of service to mark this very significant festival in the Church Year. So hopefully as you look through our events section, you’ll find something that you’d like to attend. Whatever you are doing over the next few weeks, here or away on holiday, with family or friends, please be assured of our prayers and best wishes for a Peaceful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Here is our listing of Christmas Services which you can also see in the Calendar:

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A busy year for our buildings!

When you have four listed buildings in your care, the need for electricians, masons, roofers, plumbers and most of all architects, is never far away. This year we’ve somehow managed to have work undertaken on all 4 churches, and there are more projects in the pipeline. What difference will they make?

In all four buildings we’ve needed to look at making the roofing watertight, leading to two churches being surrounded in scaffolding over the summer and autumn. In Tilshead we’re about to overhaul the electrics, ensuring better heating and light as we go headlong into the coldest months of the winter. In Shrewton we’ve had part of the floor up, replacing an old wooden platform with beautiful stone flags, lowering the ancient font and opening up the space for reflection, remembrance and welcome.

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Salisbury Plain Benefice has a new website!

We have a new website! We hope you like it.

Please have a browse, enjoy the photos and posts, and then tell us what you think! We’d especially love to hear from you if there are things we’ve forgotten to share with you….and don’t forget, the website is just a window into our world here on the Plain. If you want to know more, we’d love to see you in person. You’re always welcome.