You can read Sean’s latest letter at https://rossparishes.uk/letterjan21/
A new lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on the 4th January 2021, and unexpectedly, communal worship is permitted under this lockdown.
Unlike a year ago, we are now dealing with a COVID variant that is significantly more transmittable, and despite our churches being COVID-19 secure, any gathering of people poses a heightened risk of transmission or infection. We are particularly concerned that people, starved of social contact, might mingle and chat to one another before and after services, and in so doing, put one another at risk.
As Christians our behaviour needs to be guided by our faith. One of the most basic teachings of Jesus Christ was that all interpersonal ethical choices should be directed by the principle of loving your neighbour as yourself. In the context of COVID-19 this means avoiding any risks of transmitting the coronavirus to others. Furthermore, churches need to be safe places – not places where we put our health or lives in danger. But equally, as Christians we are called to worship God and we need to be spiritually replenished and encouraged, especially in such a difficult time.
Holding these principles together, we strongly urge people to attend services online, and will only make 10 seats available at selected services for those who believe that their mental and spiritual health would be significantly compromised by not attending a physical service. To attend a service physically, booking through Eventbrite (https://rossparishes.uk/digital-services) will be essential or please phone the church office on 01989 562 175. Those at services will be social distanced and no mingling or chatting will be allowed.
Full details of the arrangements that will be in place from 7th January 2021 will be found at https://rossparishes.uk/digital-services. In brief, they are:
St Michael and All Angels, Brampton Abbotts
No services until further notice
St Michael and All Angels, Walford
The church is open for private prayer daily
No Parish Eucharists until further notice
Family Zoom Services will continue
St Mary, Ross-on-Wye
The church is open for private prayer daily
Thursday 10 am Livestreamed Eucharist. Max 10 in church.
Sunday 8 am Livestreamed BCP Holy Communion. Max 10 in church.
Sunday 9.30 am Livestreamed Benefice Eucharist with Max 10 in church.
Followed by Virtual Coffee
Come As You Are Services – pre-recorded
Messy Church – pre-recorded/Zoom
Toast and Toddle – pre-recorded/Zoom
LEAF – pre-recorded/Zoom
Please note: All pre-recorded services will be available on the website (rossparishes.uk) and livestreamed services will be available on the Ross Parishes Facebook page or YouTube. If you are having trouble accessing any services online please contact Mark or the church office.
We are very fortunate to have the ability to livestream and pre-record services, and I thank all involved in bringing worship into the safety of our homes. The ministry team and I will do all we can to maintain contact with parishioners through phone calls, emails and Zoom calls, and will continue with pastoral care in every way we possibly can. Please do be in contact with me or the church office if you need any help of any kind.
God bless, and keep safe
The Rev’d Sean Semple
Rector, The Ross Parishes
But we’re on YouTube
As 2020 ends we invite you to commemorate anyone you have lost during 2020 on the Ross Remembers site. We set up this online book of remembrance in March, during the first lockdown to remember anyone who has died for any reason. There’s a simple form on the site for you to enter details (including photographs, poems etc). There is no charge and the site is available to anyone in or around Ross-on-Wye. https://rossremembers.org
We’d like to wish you a very peaceful and joyous Christmas.
Details of remaining services for Christmas are at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas All services require pre-booked places.
Or join us live on YouTube (not Facebook): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q5Hx_UyH3o&list=PLjHmbsCmLi21n-0C4EF8CJ3TXBKLjnLQ8
We have taken the difficult decision to cancel a number of our planned Christmas services. This is largely due to concerns over the rise in Covid infections but also influenced by weather conditions. The following will not now take place:
- Carols on the Green – Ross (Wednesday and Thursday)
- Nativity Service – Walford (Christmas Eve)
- Christmas Eve Eucharist – Brampton Abbotts
You’ll find details of the services that are still going ahead at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas. We ask everyone who comes along to observe good social distancing and to bring a face mask. All services require pre-booking and if you don’t make it, most will be live streamed on Facebook.
In the light of increasing concern over the progress of Coronavirus we have been reviewing some of our remaining Christmas programme today and have, with a heavy heart, decided to cancel the proposed outside carol singing in the churchyard that was to have taken place on Wednesday and Thursday.
We apologise to all who had planned to come. The Bap Shack, who were to have been providing refreshments will instead be in the churchyard at the time of the Crib Service on Christmas Eve (4 pm service). There are only 5 places remaining at that service so book soon
Details of all our Christmas services will be found at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas.
We are sorry that the Carol Service live stream had streaming errors and we’re still trying to work out what the problem was. However, here is an uninterrupted recording of the repeat one at 6pm.
There are still a few tickets left for tomorrow’s carol services at St Mary’s. Sunday 20th December @ 4pm (2 tickets left) and 6pm (5 tickets left). If you don’t mange to get there you could watch the live stream on Facebook at 4pm (or any time after that).
Also there’s a Messy Church drop-in service from 2 to 3.15 pm.
Next week: Carols on the Green (you can sing) in the churchyard at 5.30 pm on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th (no booking required – just come along).
Details and booking for all Christmas services at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas
Why not come along to a Christingle service on Sunday 13th December at St Mary’s in Ross (4 pm) or at Walford (11.00 am).
The Christingle is an ancient tradition that in more modern times has been adopted by the Children’s Society. Christingle Services are taking place throughout the world this month, and our two services are a part of that.
You’ll need to book a place though and seats are going fast. If you can’t come you could watch the service from St Mary’s live on Facebook.
You’ll find all the links to booking and the live stream (and information about everything else that’s happening in the Ross Parishes this Christmas) at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas.
The Christingle is a beautiful and fairly ancient service and a great Christmasy experience. We’ve not held one in Ross for a very long time. But this year we are! You’ll need to book a place. Christingles are provided. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/copy-of-christingle-st-marys-church-ross-on-wye-sunday-13-december-tickets-131077144267
Or join us live on Facebook at 4pm on Sunday, 13th December.
If you’d prefer the morning then a similar service is taking place at 11am at Walford Church.
More links and information about all our Christmas events at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas
All seats have gone for the 4 pm Carol Service at St Mary’s. We have decided to repeat the service at 6 pm. Booking is on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/copy-of-carols-by-candlelight-1800-tickets-131705650145
The 4 pm service will be live streamed on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StMarysRoss/live/
We’ve published the events for Advent and Christmas. More is happening in the Ross Parishes than ever before at Christmas. Booking is required for all of the more popular events and seats are nearly gone for the carol service in particular.
Details and booking at https://rossparishes.uk/christmas
This morning’s virtual coffee morning is in full swing on Zoom. It continues until 12 noon and it’s the virtual place to be seen in Ross!
Join with this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82346692719
Come and join us in real life from 3.30 using the event rite link to book your places or pick up a bag and join us on line as we celebrate Advent and Christingle together.
Here’s this week’s story from the Toast team. It’s for all young people, of all ages, everywhere. Enjoy it! Oh, and get your hat ready!
While we are in Lockdown our toddler group, Toast, is still unable to meet in person.
The toast makers started a story-time for our young toast eaters to bring a bit of fun to this gloomy season and to keep in touch until we can see one another again.
This week Anne reads A Walk in The Woods. “Are you sitting comfortably …”
If you enjoyed that there are more on the Toast page of our website.
Join us on Sunday from St Mary’s for a part live, part prerecorded service for a somewhat unusual Remembrance Tide. The service will be live on our Facebook page (https://facebook.com/stmarysross/live) at 11.05 on Sunday 8th November.
If you’re in Walford, a prerecorded service is already on our website (https://rossparishes.uk/digital-services).
As we enter the second lockdown this year Sean is resuming his pastoral messages. Here is the latest.
St Mary’s is open during the lockdown for private prayer and services will continue to be live streamed. All are assured of our prayers at this time.
In 1637, some 315 people died of plague here in Ross-on-Wye. A stone cross was erected in their memory in the corner of St Mary’s churchyard. It is hard for us in 2020 to imagine what life was like in 1637, but no doubt the people then were trying to carry out their daily tasks despite the horror of the sickness around them. And just as it is for us today, facing the threat of infection from Covid 19, communities affected would have been isolated in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease.
Government restrictions imposed on us in recent months have controlled travel and limited the number of people who are able to attend a funeral, so the friends and families of those who have died – whether of Covid 19 or some other cause – have not always been able to come and say their final farewells in the way they would have wanted. This has made it harder for us as a parish, and as a ministry team, to support the bereaved as we would normally do.
Traditionally, November has been the month when we remember those we have loved but see no longer. Our annual All Souls Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving will be held on Sunday 1st November at 6pm, and all are welcome to attend either in person (please let us know if you intend to come).
In addition, we have decided, in association with the Town Council, to try to provide some other way for people to remember those who have died. We are inviting anyone who would like to mark the loss of someone they knew who has died during this year to place a small stone or pebble, marked if they would like with the name or initials of the person they are remembering, on the stone steps at the base of the Plague Cross during the period from 26th October to 11th November. The first stone will be placed there by the Mayor on Monday 26th October. Each day during this period, a member of the Ross Parishes Ministry Team will spend a short time at the cross in prayer. After 11th November, the stones will be moved near to the crosses in the Garden of Remembrance in the churchyard. We hope that this small symbolic act of remembrance will be a comfort to people in their time of grief.