Coronavirus - 18th March 2020

Thank you to everyone who has responded with offers of help so far.  There is no commitment to do anything specific, but by letting us know that you might be able to help, we are better placed to respond to any specific requests for help if and when they arise.

Things are moving at a very fast rate, so apologies for another lengthy email so soon.

A couple of updates

  • We have now created a space on our website to update you.  Please see http://www.stmarksreigate.co.uk/useful-resources/coronavirus/ and also keep an eye on http://www.stmarksreigate.co.uk/parish-news/
  • The Church of England have now issued an update saying that ‘our usual pattern of Sunday service and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold’.  All normal services on Sundays and during the week are now cancelled.
  • In line with this advice, we will now be cancelling all other church groups and meetings until further notice.  This includes Messy Church, the Monday morning Toddlers Group, T-Time Tales, the Lent Course, the remaining Lent Lunches, SMART and the Community Lunch as well as our planned Easter Club.  If you had booked your children into Easter Club, Mel Crighton will be writing to you about that.
  • Although normal services have been suspended, we still wish to deliver the Parish Easter card but have printed an addendum to go with it.  Nigel Perkins is arranging for these to be provided to those of you who have already collected your cards for delivery.  In you have already delivered cards, please don’t worry about delivering the insert.  We still have streets that need to be covered.  If you can help, please call into the church and check the list for an unallocated street, and take the cards to be delivered.

The Church will remain open at all times if we are able to do so. It is normally open from around 8.30am until dusk, 7 days a week.  Please do use the church for any private prayer or reflection.  You are welcome to leave a note of anyone you wish to be included in our normal prayers and I will ensure that they are included.

What does this mean for us?

Firstly, let me assure you that whilst our normal routine of spiritual and pastoral care, community activities and groups may be suspended, it does not mean that our work grinds to a halt.  Indeed quite the opposite.  For many of you, the cancellation of these services and events may be a nuisance.  But for some in our community – and by this I mean both our congregation and the wider Parish community – these changes take away one of their significant support networks.  I am committed to ensuring that as a community, those of us able to do so ensure that we come together and support those in need.

What are we doing?

  • Our usual pastoral care team is now switching to a telephone-based support network.  But it is likely they will need more help to do this.
  • Our Community Lunch team are contacting our guests to let them know what we are doing.  If you are normally a driver for Community Lunch and have not yet spoken with Paul Selvadurai or Robert Cramp, please do so.
  • In delivering our Parish Easter card, with the addendum, we are reaching out to those who may need our help.  Please encourage any of your neighbours who may feel vulnerable to contact us if they feel St Mark’s can offer them spiritual or practical support.
  • I will be starting to provide regular prayers, sermons and spiritual support via our website and email to those who want to access that.  These will be accessible from http://www.stmarksreigate.co.uk/our-services/regular-services/online-spiritual-support/

What sort of help do we hope to be able to offer?

St Mark’s is a trusted part of the community and we want to ensure we respond to that trust in this time of need.  We will make no judgment of people and we will offer our help to anyone within our congregation or the Parish, regardless of faith or beliefs.

We anticipate being able to offer help such as:

  • Pastoral and spiritual care, whether it is to people who already engage with our pastoral care team or want to do so for the first time.
  • Practical help – anything from errands, minor DIY or maintenance, help with housework, shopping, collecting prescriptions.  The kind of help that may ordinarily have been provided by family or friends who might be unable to offer such support due to the restrictions on our lives now being put in place.
  • Being a contact point for relatives who are not able to respond locally.  If you would like us to hold next of kin details for you, or give our details to your next of kin in case they are unable to contact you and want someone local to do so, please speak with me or Alexia Hartman in the office.
  • Continuing to collect food for the local Food Bank at St Matthews – it will be no surprise that they are suddenly in desperate need of food items and (no surprise) loo roll.  Please leave donations in the church as usual.

Remember, no worry is too small to ask.

As well as any practical health related safety precautions we will need to take, we take the safeguarding of everyone who requests help seriously.  We will take actions to ensure that where you ask for and receive help, you know who the person is who will be assisting you and can positively identify them.

If there is anything you feel I, one of the wider team, or one of the many volunteers who have already offered their help can do, please let us know.  You can contact us using:

Telephone: 01737 210785 (We will be doing our best to answer this personally for an extended period, but do leave a message if we are unable to do so.)

Email: help@stmarksreigate.co.uk

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