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.
After several years of work, St Mary’s Church in Ross is celebrating the completion of major works to the building. The re-ordering of the church has included the addition of toilets and a kitchen area, a soundproof children’s room, the removal of the Victorian pews and new oak flooring, transforming the interior into a beautiful light open space. Another major phase has been completed this week – new glass entrance doors and the elimination of the steps allowing wheelchairs easy access through the north porch.
Alongside this work, the Friends of St Mary’s, in partnership with Ross-on-Wye Town Council, has funded the renewal of the church floodlights so that our iconic spire will again be seen as a beacon at night.
A special service of choral evensong will take place on Sunday 25th October at 6.00 pm to give thanks for the work and rededicate the north porch. The service will begin outside, when the floodlights will be switched on and move through the new porch into the church.
If you’d like to come and join in the celebration please join us in the churchyard at 6 pm for the switch-on of the lights. We’ll move quickly into church.
Places are limited in church please book a seat here.
Will things get better? Will things get worse? We have no answers, but we can be grateful that we have survived so far.
Please join us for our harvest weekend events.
Saturday 10th October
10am – 5pm The church will be open with prayers hourly and displays representing groups from around the community. Come say a prayer, light a candle, or spend some time thanking God during this harvest season.
7pm – Virtual Harvest Supper
Prepare a meal at home that reminds you of harvest and then join us on Zoom to eat and drink together as we give thanks for good health and prosperity.
Sunday 11th October
9:30 St. Mary’s Harvest Eucharist
A harvest service packed with favourite harvest hymns. Join us in church or watch online at rossparishes.uk/digital-services
6:00 – Choral Evensong
This will be the fist service our choir has sung live since March. Come and join us for this conclusion to our harvest celebration.
A special request to all traders and shopkeepers
Harvest nowadays is not just about flowers, fruit and vegetables though there will be plenty of those in church. We want to celebrate all the fruits of the labour in the workplace: manufacturing, retailing, insuring, advising, training and volunteering. Please help us to display this by lending us something to put on show; or take a photograph of your establishment so that our visitors can see that Ross-on-Wye is very much surviving, is “open for business” and is thankful.
This Sunday Walford is celebrating their Harvest Festival at 11 am while in Ross there is the usual live streamed Eucharist at 9.30. Come along to church or watch live on Facebook.
At noon, Tiffany our curate will be ordained Deacon in Hereford Cathedral. You can’t attend in person but the service will be live streamed on the Diocesan Facebook page and we’ll be screening it live in St Mary’s at 12 should you want to come along and feel a bit more a part of the service. Or if you prefer something a bit quieter there’s an 8 am said service at St Mary’s.
Our 9.30 am Eucharist at St Mary’s on Sunday 4th October will be presided over by the Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford. This will be Bishop Richard’s first official physical visit to our parishes (though he’s made a couple of virtual appearances during lockdown).
This will be the only service in our three churches on this day and our Covid-19 policy means there is a limit of 50 on seats for members of the congregation.
Please book a place here to be assured a place if you wish to come to the service.
You have choice of three Communion services on Sunday, one in each of our churches: 9.30 am at Ross and Walford and 11.15 in Brampton Abbotts Church.
We have removed the need to prebook a place for the service at St Mary’s, Ross. Numbers attending the service in person are well within what is possible with very good social distancing in place. We will ask you to make yourself known when you arrive for the purposes of Test and Trace. This service will continue to be live streamed via Facebook if you prefer to take part from home.
We look forward to seeing you, in person or online, at one of our services.
Full details of all services will be found at https://rossparishes.uk
We welcome confirmation from the Church of England that church services, including weddings and funerals, are exempt from the new restrictions on gatherings of more than 6 people. All existing social distancing and hygiene precautions will continue at our services.
If you come to a service as part of a social bubble and wish to move your seats together you are welcome to do so.
The 8th September is the day the Church commemorates the birth of St Mary. St Mary is our patron saint in Ross and we have traditionally kept this day as our patronal festival.
Here is a recording of a hymn for St Mary that the choir made at our first rehearsal on Friday, to be streamed in Sunday’s service. If you tried to watch that, sorry it didn’t quite happen, we are not sure what went wrong!
Sean writes …
Someone asked me this week whether the pandemic had killed the vision that we have for our parishes. Under the circumstances a fair question, but let us remember firstly that this vision was not just the product of wishful thinking. It was something that was prayerfully and corporately discerned, and thus a vision given to us by a God who knew the future, and gave us a vision for what these churches can be in a post-pandemic era. There is no doubt that our communities need even more faith, hope and love now than they did in January 2020 when we had our Vision Day! Read more …
Thank you to everyone who completed our recent survey on our Online Worship provision and to Derek Glover who has crunched the numbers and analysed the results.
A few headlines: we have had nearly 70 responses and only two thirds of these considered themselves regular “church-goers” before March. Nearly 60% of the people responding are accessing services online at least weekly. 80% accessed services easily in the main. 74% have said they prefer live stream and/or prerecorded services as a digital offering (these are the main formats we’ve used). More than 80% of respondents said they would wish to continue some form of digital worship in a post Covid world.
These results are encouraging and seem to suggest we are providing what people want. We are indeed proud of the provision we’ve made at St Mary’s and of the speed at which we’ve reacted to an ever changing situation. We strive to continue to do that. We are also conscious that we need to continue to support the few with no access to technology, develop further our forms of service so that they meet both physical and online needs, and contribute to our mission of inspiring faith, hope and love.
Derek’s full survey report is available below.
Have you been missing Toast in real life? Have you recently had a baby and are looking for a group to join? Whilst we cannot yet meet in our usual indoor format at St Mary’s we are starting a buggy walk from the bandstand every other Wednesday. Our first one will be Wednesday 2nd September at 9.15 am.
You are welcome to come along but will need to book a free place using the Eventbrite link below. We will then link you with a small group to walk together rain or shine.
The electoral rolls of the three parishes are being revised ahead of the Annual Parochial Church Meetings.
In the case of St Mary’s, Ross, the APCM is on Wednesday 7th October at 7 pm via Zoom. The revision of the electoral roll needs to be completed before then. If you’d like to be added please use the online form as soon as possible.
Members of Brampton Abbotts PCC would like to express their very grateful thanks to the village Cake Club and their spouses for turning out in force to help with the churchyard maintenance.
Since lockdown, the Probationary Service, who normally come every other week from April to October, have been unable to assist. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Cake Clubbers, we now have mown grass, widened paths and unearthed graves. What resembled an overgrown meadow has been transformed.
Thank you also to Simon Leney who has been disposing of the mountains of rubbish for us. We are so grateful for all this invaluable help and can’t thank everybody enough for this communal effort.
Rosemary Knapp – Church Warden
Join us online at 8 pm for sung Compline from St Mary’s Church, Ross-on-Wye in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The perfect night cap!