Practical arrangements for May-October 2017
After years of praying, talking, planning, consulting, fund-raising, and seemingly endless legalities, we are there. Our beautiful church is going to be reordered and restored to make it even more beautiful. The tiles will be polished. The stained-glass cleaned. The chancel restored. The broken and battered has been dispensed with, our cherished fixtures and fittings will be cleaned and cared for, and new seating, lighting, heating, electrics, toilets, and facilities, are going to transform our worship, our mission, and our service of our community. It is an exciting moment. We thank God for it all.
It is also a moment of fear and trembling. And rightly so. This is a massive undertaking, and a work of faith and trust. The reason that this kind of project takes years of praying, talking, planning, consulting, fund-raising, and seemingly endless legalities is that it is so important. We are custodians and stewards of a building that will not only serve our own generation, but generations to come. We have sought to make good decisions, decisions that will stand the test of time. Now we watch, and wait, and pray, while the work is done.
As a church, we will not stand still. The first Christians did not have church buildings, and the Gospel was preached, the Lord was worshipped, and the people of God served. So it will be here. This leaflet explains how we will continue to worship together, and how we will organize our life over the coming months.
In my annual review, I wrote about the time we would spend out of the building, and what would happen. I continue to stand by those words: ‘The time we spend outside our building will be a time of pilgrimage, and learning. We shall discover many new things about who we are as the Body of Christ, and I hope and pray that it will be a time of growth, in numbers, and in depth of faith. Someone asked me if I thought numbers would go down while we were away from the building. NO is my answer to that – our ministry will go on, a ministry of witness and worship that is not dependent on bricks and mortar, but on heart and soul, totally dependent on the grace of God.’
Canon Adrian Daffern, Rector
8am Holy Communion (BCP) Woodstock Methodist Church
The First Sunday of the month
11am Family Service Marlborough Enterprise Centre (MEC),
The Marlborough Church of England School,
The Second Sunday of the month
11am Sung Eucharist Marlborough Enterprise Centre (MEC)
The Third Sunday of the month
You are encouraged to enjoy worship at one of our sister churches today: St Martin’s Bladon (9.30am), Woodstock Baptist Church (10.30am), Woodstock Methodist Church (10.30am), St Hugh’s RC Church, Woodstock (9.30am).
The Fourth (and, in July, the Fifth) Sunday of the month
11am Sung Eucharist Marlborough Enterprise Centre (MEC)
10am Holy Communion (BCP) Woodstock Methodist Church
When we are at the Marlborough School, all the texts for our worship will be on a screen – it is simply impracticable to continually be carrying books and booklets backwards and forwards each week. If you would like to take a hymn book or Bible with you from church, please do so ON MAY 14th. It will not be possible to do so after that date. Having taken one, please remember to bring it with you!
(Please note that on 4th and 25th June, and 9th July, our worship will be in the school Dining Room.)
There will be parking available at the school – much more than we are used to! Please note there is a one-way system, and follow signs, and marked bays, with care. There is a map of the school site opposite. You will see the MEC Hall on the right-hand side, adjacent to the sports hall. The Dining Room is also clearly marked. Both halls are available to us between 1030am and 1230pm.
Please note that there will not be a separate Children’s Church while we are out of the church building – we want to worship together as one family during the time we are using the school.
Christenings, Weddings, and Funerals will take place at St Martin’s, Bladon. If any funeral services are too large for St Martin’s, other larger local churches will be used.
Morning and Evening Prayer are said privately during this time, and resources will be available on the website.
Marion Williams, Adrian’s secretary, will be working at The Rectory on Tuesdays and Thursdays during this time, and she can be emailed as usual firstname.lastname@example.org , and contacted on the Rectory phone number 01993 811415. (The Church Office is out of bounds, with the rest of the building). On Wednesdays, Marion will be working from home, and the Rectory telephone will be diverted to her there.
We will continue to produce a weekly newsletter for distribution at services. Sign up for our email reminders below.
Our daily life continues as usual, and nothing changes in terms of clergy availability, contact details, and so on, together with the churchwardens and pastoral team.
It is vital that all members of the church who are online get used to checking this website on a regular basis. Alice will be keeping our church Facebook page updated regularly too. If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to sign up for the newsletter (you can do so using the form below, or by emailing the office. We shall be depending on each other for the distribution of news and information, so do please play your part in sharing news with family, friends, and neighbours.
And finally . . .
There will be blips, problems, and irritations, over these next months – that’s inevitable. How we handle them when they arise will be a very public barometer of our Christian faith. Please be praying, patient people throughout this time: and be praying, not only for the clergy and wardens, but for our professional team, our contractors, and all involved with bringing our project to fruition. If all goes to plan, we shall ‘get the building back’ at the end of October. If things are delayed, we need to go on doing what we do best: being the praying, patient people God calls us to be.
The church we get back will be an Easter experience: the same, but different. Just as our patron, Mary Magdalene, encountered the mystery of the strange and familiar combined on the first Easter day, so will we. We pray that her experience will be ours – and that, in our new building, the reality of our Risen Lord will lead us afresh to witness, to wonder, and to worship.
May God bless us in the pilgrimage that lies ahead.