19 March 2020
A great deal is happening very quickly. Please forgive Bulletin 2 appearing so soon, but keeping in touch is so important, and there is already a lot to say. Some of this reflects new national church advice, and some flows from my Leadership Team meeting which took place yesterday. I expect that No 3 will follow early next week.
APCMs, Elections, etc
If you have not already held your APCM, please cancel it. Under powers in the new Church Representation Rules, I am extending the deadline for these meetings. Attached you will find the legal instrument bringing this into force. I’m afraid it is rather wordy legalese, but that is necessary. It should be fully self-explanatory. Please ensure that your PCC Secretary has a copy, and that it is displayed at each church.
Banns and Marriages
These FAQs are being expanded almost every day, and are worth returning to.
Marriages may take place, but on a small scale, with just the priest (and possibly a deacon who is learning the ropes), the couple, and two witnesses present. No vergers, organists, photographers, or guests should be present. If the banns have not already been read or completed, you will need a licence. I hope we can reduce the price of licences during this crisis to roughly the cost of banns, but that is still under discussion: please consult the registry.
In these cases, I am sure you will want to encourage the couple to come back for a full-scale blessing when things return to normal (whatever “normal” looks like then).
Again, the FAQs now give clear and helpful advice. Do follow it.
If your church can livestream services, please do so (bearing in mind that you currently need to use out of-copyright music, until we can get copyright licences extended to cover streaming). I would be happy to publicise those that are being livestreamed in the diocese: if you are willing for yours to be listed, please let my PA know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see below a five-and-a-half minute video message I have recorded. This will also appear on social media. Please make whatever use of it you think fit for your own communities.
Care for Clergy
You need to be caring for your people. I and the senior team want to care for you. Obviously this will have to be largely by phone, text, or email. The archdeacons will keep in regular touch with the rural deans. Charlie Nobbs, Sarah Brown, and the mission team will seek to cover parish clergy. Bishop John will be in touch with chaplains and non-parochial clergy. Steve Benoy and Carys Walsh will look after ordinands and curates.
I would like to establish three additional lists, and keep them up to date. First, any of you who become ill; second, those who have to self-isolate because of a family member’s illness; third, those who have to stay at home because of age or medical vulnerability. If you come into any of those categories, please also let Joanne Gibson know. I will keep in touch with those people, sharing that with Tim Alban Jones and with Bishop John.
Some of the senior staff are having to stay at home for various reasons (including me as an asthmatic), but we are all currently well, and will be working remotely – as indeed you all will much of the time. Thank you so much for the many assurances of prayer we have already received. Be assured of ours for you.
With love in Christ
You can read the official bulletin from Bishop Donald here.