Here’s an update on what we have been doing both on and offline over the last couple of weeks since the church had to close. We now have a great band of volunteers both from our congregation and the wider parish. We have links with Reigate and Banstead Council and other partner agencies within the parish, and we have completed about 10 deliveries so far but since the beginning of April it has started to get busier with three referrals from the local council just on Thursday 2nd. We have also agreed to help Victoria Chemists with delivery of prescriptions. I anticipate we will get busier over the coming weeks.

Donna and her band of telephone angels have been doing an amazing job keeping people in touch with a friendly voice. Again, I can see this increasing as we are in touch with vulnerable people from outside our church community who need that support almost as much as they need their shopping done.

We are also still supporting the Foodbank. They are working in a very different way with only two centres open at the moment and are moving over to a delivery rather than collection mode. They are pretty well stocked up but still in need of donations. This is the list of what they need.

  • Our Urgently Needed Items:
  • Pasta Sauce – Very Urgent; Rice Pudding – Very Urgent; UHT Milk – All Varieties; Tinned Vegetables (we have Sweetcorn/Pulses); Tinned Fish; Instant Mash; Cooking Sauces; Noodles (not Pot Noodles, please); Powdered Milk – all varieties; Longlife Juice; Coffee; Shower Gel; Pump Soap; Hand Sanitiser

Obviously, we can’t use the basket in church to collect, but there are still collection points in the supermarkets. Additionally, if enough of you want to donate but not through the shop collection points, I am sure we could arrange a drop-off point and then I could take them over to the central store at Ruxley. I expect to be doing some deliveries for them at some point so I could take donations over then. Please let me know if you would like this to be arranged.

Online we now have a Facebook page and a YouTube Channel  (still being developed so don’t expect much yet).  Both are called All Saints, Banstead. We have been holding Morning Prayer through an app called Zoom which has been great. We have seen an increase from our normal three or four meeting in Church to as many as 10 meeting online. If you would like to join us please email me and I will invite you. It is easy to use, and age is no barrier as we have had a 98-year-old join us. If do want to join in it doesn’t mean you commit to every day. Just come along when it works for you.

We had our first online Eucharist service last Sunday which was live streamed on our Facebook page and last time I checked had been watched by over 60 people which is great. There will be another one at 10.30 am on Sunday 5th April and the plan is do this each week.  Here is a service sheet which you can download – Contemplative Eucharist.  You can either join in and watch it live or watch it later in the day. Recordings of these services will also be put onto to our YouTube Channel. If you would like to join us live on FB or later please search for the Facebook group and ask to become a member.

I have a few plans for next week as it is Holy Week. The plans are, at the moment to put two Stations of the Cross reflections on Facebook and YouTube on Monday and Tuesday. Not sure if I will do this live yet or pre-record. Depends of what is easiest. On Wednesday I m going to try and live stream a Tenebrae service

Tenebrae is an early Christian service and is the Latin word for ‘darkness’ or ‘shadows’. During the service we experience the story of Christ’s pain and suffering the day of His crucifixion through a series of reflections on the passion of Christ. The reflections I hope to use were written from the disciples Peter’s view as an eyewitness to the events as they unfold. One of the most conspicuous features of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles until only a single candle, considered a symbol of our Christ, remains. A candle will be extinguished after each reflection. As it gets darker and darker we can reflect on the great emotional and physical pain that was very real for Jesus that evening and, through how Peter may have felt on that very day, how we are called to respond to the pain that he endured for us. There will be short periods of silence after each candle is extinguished to give you the time and space to do this. Toward the end of the service, the Christ candle is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil over good. The hidden candle is then restored to its place, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. By this single light we all depart this service in silence.

This is a beautiful service; the reflections would normally been accompanied by some appropriate music. However, because of copyright and licence issues it easier to do it on-line without. I need to do bit of work on this to see how effective it will be online but I’m hopeful.

On Thursday there will be a Maundy Thursday Service from the Diocese, so I encourage you to join in with that. I’m hoping to put something together for Good Friday as well, but not sure how that will look so watch this space. Then on Easter Day there will be a Eucharist on Facebook at 10.30 am and posted on YouTube later in the day.

If online isn’t your thing then we have produced a printed ‘Spiritual Resource’ which we can send to you if you would like one.

As you can see, lots has already happened and we are planning more next week. However, I am sure we haven’t got this completely right as we are not perfect and none of us have had to contend which such a time as this before. Please contact me and let me know if we have missed anything or more importantly missed out anyone. We don’t know what we don’t know so I am more than happy to receive any suggestions and we will do our best to respond.

God Bless,      Revd Ian Whitley


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