Coronavirus - 17th March 2020

Coronavirus - 17th March 2020

Supporting Our Congregation And The Community In The Parish of St Mark

The current situation is changing at a rapid pace and first of all I wanted to assure you that our Parochial Church Council are actively working to consider how we should respond and how to do everything we can to ensure the safety of everyone in our congregation and the community in the Parish of St Mark.

We are also actively looking at what role St Mark’s should play in supporting our congregation and the community in the Parish of St Mark’s with spiritual and practical support. Whether you feel you might need help, or might be able to offer help, please read on to find out how you can let us know.

With so many people being involved in different aspects of the role we play in our community, I wanted to share with you the full range of actions we are taking and different scenarios we are considering.

What advice are we receiving?

The Parish of St Mark's Church, Reigate is part of the Diocese of Southwark. We are getting specific advice from the Diocese and from the Church of England. That advice is available here (https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches)

We are also paying close attention to advice given by our government and the current situation in local schools. All of the actions we take will be guided by these sources and our own assessment of how that information affects our ability to safely fulfil our role within the local community.

What do we see as being our role?

With the situation changing so quickly, it may evolve, but in broad terms we see our role as being:

to provide spiritual and practical support to those more vulnerable or less able to support themselves in this time of need.

We already know who many of those people are or might be from the work I and the wider pastoral care teams do in the community. But we are certain there will be other people in need that we don’t currently know. If those people want to reach out to St Mark’s for support, we want to be able to do so – or help them find that support from other local agencies / charities better placed than us to provide it.

If you feel you may need support from St Mark’s in some form, please let me know, whether you need that support now or anticipate needing support as the restrictions placed on our daily lives increase. Our offer of help is extended to anyone within the Parish of St Mark’s who might need help, irrespective of their faith, or lack of it. Please see below for how to contact us.

What can you do to help?

As a church, we are already well placed to provide pastoral care within our community as well as practical help to those who need it. Our many clubs, groups and gatherings are examples of this. But the way we do things will have to change as government advice evolves. And we may not be able to do everything ourselves. We will be looking to engage with other churches and organisations locally as well as liaising with local government where appropriate.

But we need help in doing this. If you feel you have something to offer, whether it be a practical skill or just compassion and a willingness to do something practical, please let us know. Some of the things we anticipate being required include:

  • General pastoral and spiritual support, a task I have already asked a small team to plan in more detail;
  • Practical support for those who may not be able to get out personally and may ordinarily rely on others who become unable to provide the help. This could be anything from support with shopping or collecting prescriptions, delivering church communications to those who are unable to access them via digital means, help setting up technology to enable social interaction at a deeper level (eg video calling) or general help fixing, mending and repairing things in the home.
  • Please keep an eye on our website, your email and social media. We will use these channels to communicate any changes to the normal services, clubs and support that we offer. If for any reason you know someone who does not receive these channels, please let me know so we can make alternative arrangements to communicate with them, if they want us to do so.

Our message to our local community is very much that ‘no worry is too small’ and St Mark’s and its community will do what it can to help and support people.

If you can help in any way, please let me know. If you need help, please let us know.

Anyone who provides help will be screened, including DBS checking as appropriate, so you can have confidence in our volunteers.

Parish Easter Cards

We deliver an Easter card to every household in the Parish, sharing details of our services at this special time of the year. That process has already started and hopefully you have or will soon receive your card. It is very likely we will have to make some changes to the way normal services happen in the coming weeks and months, so please do check our website before attending.

How to get in touch:

Please contact us in either of the following ways for general requests for help or offers of support.

Telephone: 01737 210785
Email: help@stmarksreigate.co.uk (a dedicated email address we have set up to co-ordinate activity.)

If your need is urgent, it is most likely that you should contact one of the emergency services in the first instance. There are however a number of key individuals within the community of St Mark’s who may also be able to assist and you can find their contact details on the website. 

Thank you for your support in these challenging times.

Revd Martin Colton
Vicar