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Dear Friends

First may I take this opportunity to wish Mother Eileen a very Happy Birthday and very many more.

I now many of you are concerned about the potential spread of the Corona Virus. At our PCC meeting last evening we agreed the following recommendations.

Corona Virus is becoming a growing concern for a number of people with it spreading around the world. As a Church we should be looking out for the
things that we can do to help stop the spread of this (and other) viruses.
We have collated a few of the top tips from a number of organisations to
help you know how to deal with the Corona Virus.  

The Government has suggested that people should;
Carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue
Washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser
gel to kill germs
If you are showing any of the symptoms or are not feeling well
call 111 rather than going to the GP

The best way of protecting us from spread is for everyone to use 
universal good hygiene, – this means everyone, all the time, which will effectively disrupt spread of the virus. 
Catch it – sneeze into a tissue
Bin it – bin the tissue
Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water
Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands

Here are a few recommendations from the church regarding the reception of Holy Communion.

Please note this advice is voluntary,
at this stage we are making no demands.

The best policy if you are concerned is to receive communion in one kind only (bread) It is Anglican teaching that to receive the sacrament in one kind only (ie. just the bread) is to receive the sacrament in its entirety) Come to the altar rail as normal and once you have received the host, please get up and return to your seat Intinction is NOT recommended, as it is a route for transmission from the individual through handling the wafer/bread/host, and tiny fragments could affect people with allergies to gluten etc.
The placing of the wafer/host on the tongue by anyone administering Eucharist is NOT recommended as it is a potential source of transmission.
There will be paper towels and hand sanitiser at the entrance to church,
we invite everybody attending church to sanitise their hands as they come into church.
Anyone with coughs and colds would be advised to refrain from taking communion from the Chalice/Cup and receive the wafer/bread/host on the hand only.
It is our tradition at St Nicholas to share the peace with our neighbours by
shaking hands. We would suggest that in the current climate we continue
to share the peace, but refrain from shaking hands. Perhaps we can adopt
the Japanese custom of holding our hands together – is in prayer – making a slight bow of the head to our neighbour whilst saying ‘Peace, be with you’.

** At this stage there are no plans to withdraw the chalice, but we do invite parishioners to
take a view and respond appropriately.

with my blessing 

Fr Simon

Dear Friends

Thank you all for your very kind birthday wishes and generous gift which I will enjoy spending on books!

Last week we met in church on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, marking our foreheads with crosses of ash. 

I reproduce below a sonnet for Ash Wednesday, written by that wonderful
poet and priest Malcolm Guite. It is taken from his book entitled
‘Sounds of the Seasons’, published some years ago, but even more
powerful this year following the shocking forest fires around the world.

Receive this cross of ash upon your brow,
Brought from the burning of Palm Sunday’s cross.
The forests of the world are burning now
And you make late repentance for the loss.
But all the trees of God would clap their hands
The very stones themselves would shout and sing
If you could covenant to love these lands
And recognise in Christ their Lord and king.
He sees the slow destruction of those trees,
He weeps to see the ancient places burn,
And still you make what purchases you please,
And still to dust and ashes you return.
But Hope could rise from ashes even now
Beginning with this sign upon your brow.

Father Simon and I will be attending a Clergy Quiet Day on Wednesday
of next week at which Malcolm Guite will be our main speaker. It will be
a great treat to hear what he has to say.

With every blessing to you all as you strive to keep a good and holy Lent.

Mother Eileen

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