FROM THE VICAR
These are perhaps the strangest times that any of us have ever known. Throughout these last few weeks I have been extremely moved by the huge collective effort in which every single one of us has shared in our own way. That might have involved working in a vital role, being furloughed, or doing work or school at home. For all of us, it has involved the sacrifices of not being able to do things and go to places which we normally would – and perhaps most painfully, not being able to be with family and friends as we normally would.
But we are rising to the challenges. So many of you are finding ways to support those within our communities who need help. We are all finding ways to cope with the uncertainty which surrounds us. We perhaps aren’t sure what is happening right now. We may also be unsure what our lives will look like as we slowly begin to emerge from this challenging period. I certainly am. But I hold on to words of Jesus, the last ones recorded in Matthew’s gospel: ‘Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’.
I don’t know what will happen, and I don’t know what the world will look like next month or next year. But I am convinced that whatever does happen, God will be with us. We are always surrounded by his love. All of you have shown something of God’s love in action by everything you are doing and, just as importantly, by everything you are not doing. For that I simply want to say: thank you. And may God bless and keep us all.
The Bell A-Peal
You may recall that in the last Hambledonian we launched the great ‘Bell A-Peal’, with the opportunity for everyone to help pay for the repairs necessary to get the bells of St Peter & St Paul ringing again. We have been so gratified by the response to the appeal, which has clearly struck a chord in the parish; we are now confident that as soon as government restrictions permit, and as soon as the contractor can fit us into their schedule, we shall be able to go ahead. Thank you all.
While the way now looks clear for us to fund the work on the bells, there is always more to do to maintain and improve our ancient and beautiful church building. We will always gratefully welcome your donations to assist in that task, and the Treasurer will always be delighted to hear from you!
At present, we are only permitted to conduct funerals in a crematorium chapel or at a graveside, and attendance at either is limited – your Funeral Director will be able to contact me to make the arrangements. When public worship in our church buildings is eventually allowed to restart, you will be able to arrange a memorial and thanksgiving service in church if you wish to.
Weddings & Baptisms
Weddings cannot currently take place. Because of this, we are no longer taking bookings for weddings in 2020, and the church diaries are filling up fast for 2021 as couples make new arrangements – so if you are thinking of getting married next year but haven’t yet booked, please get in touch soon!
At present we cannot have baptism services, and while this uncertainty lasts we won’t be making any arrangements for them. It is possible that at some point we may be permitted to have weddings and/or baptisms, but with strict limits on who can be there. Please contact the Vicar for advice if you are unsure.
Church Buildings & Public Worship
All church buildings are closed to the public by law, and all public worship is suspended. However, in a recent change to church policy, I (as Vicar) am now permitted to enter the buildings to pray, and I hope to be able occasionally to share a glimpse of the inside of your church buildings by video. The buildings may be closed, but your church is still very much alive. See below…
‘The voice of prayer is never silent,
nor dies the strain of praise away.’
It doesn’t matter if you would normally come to church several times a week, if you come once or twice a year, or if you would never normally come through the door. Everything here is offered to you, in the hope it might help in some way.
Worship at home
We produce a booklet with a form of Morning Prayer for every day, which you can use at home. It is updated every week. To receive a copy by email, please contact [email protected] to be added to the list. If you need a printed copy, please contact the Vicar with your name and address.
If there’s something or someone you would like us to pray for, you can contact the Vicar in confidence. Fr David prays Morning Prayer at 9.00am every day, and celebrates Holy Communion at 10.00am every Sunday.
Daily Hope – Freephone 0800 804 8044
The Church of England now runs a Freephone telephone line, which is available 24 hours a day and offers hymns, reflections and prayers. Call 0800 804 8044.
Keep up to date with your church on Facebook (search for ‘St Peter and St Paul Hambledon’) and on YouTube (search for ‘The Benefice of Soberton, Newtown & Hambledon’). Please Like and Subscribe to our pages and channels! Here you will find the first announcements of any key news, updates, photos, and videos. By the time you are reading this, we hope to have begun live-streaming some services.
The Diocese of Portsmouth Facebook page also offers information from across the wider area, including a short video prayer every morning.
‘I feel like I need to pray, but I don’t know how to start’
Don’t worry. This is a normal feeling! The Lord’s Prayer is always a good way to start – that’s why Jesus taught it to us. You could try the ‘Worship at Home’ booklet mentioned above; some of it is the same every day so you will get to know it quickly. There are some good mobile phone apps which might help (try a free one called ‘Pray as you go’). The most important thing to remember is that God will know what is in your heart, so don’t worry too much about the words you use.
‘I don’t know much about God, or being a Christian, but I’d like to find out more’
This is also a normal feeling! Challenging times often get us thinking about the big questions. By far the best thing to do is ask somebody you know who is a Christian. If you don’t think you know anybody, ask the Vicar – that’s one of the things he is here for! There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and you aren’t committing yourself to anything just by finding out a bit more.
‘I wish the church was doing…’
We’re learning how to be church in this unusual situation – so if there’s something you think we could be doing which would help, please let us know. We can’t make any promises, but we really would love to hear from you.