Like all churches in our diocese, the Castor Benefice has been involved in a huge amount of work since lockdown began on 23rd March. We thought we’d let you know what the six parishes and churches within the benefice (St Kyneburgha, Castor; St Michael at Sutton; St Mary the Virgin, Marholm; St John the Baptist, Upton; St John the Baptist, Stibbington and St Remigius, Water Newton) have been up to during this time.
Jo Morris (Benefice Administrator) fills us in:
- Potted plants were delivered with a prayer card to 100 ladies within their villages on Mothering Sunday (wearing plastic gloves and leaving them on the doorsteps!)
- Crosses with a prayer card were posted to all parishioners on their database for Palm Sunday.
- Our Rector, David Ridgeway, is recording weekly reflections, which are published to their YouTube channel and their website. This has also been promoted via social media and their weekly church e-newsletter, along with prayers, news items and signposts to services available online.
- Fr Ray Hemingray is also holding a weekly Sunday Evening Prayer service via Zoom for anyone who wishes to join. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
- Fr David and Fr Ray have also been making weekly phone calls to those in their churches and village communities who are living alone, self isolating or in need of a regular contact.
- Competitions have been run for Easter bonnets and Easter gardens for younger members of the benefice’s church community.
- The benefice youth group has been meeting every week via Zoom with their two youth leaders for a chat and online games.
- Myself and Helen Boulton (Licensed Lay Children’s Worker) are part of a central group on their community COVID-19 team (as part of Mutual Aid UK), supporting those who need assistance within our community. This has enabled us to ensure that the Church has a voice and presence within our community, during a time when our buildings are closed.
- Fr David read a prayer from our village green for VE Day, with a member of our community sounding the ‘Last Post’ (at an acceptable social distance, of course).
- Fr David is taking a weekly collection of all food donations to The Food Bank. Donations are being deposited in our church porch at Castor.
- We have highlighted local charities in need of support at this time via our weekly e-newsletter, including Homeless Helpers and the Garden House.
- To coincide with the weekly Thursday evening Clap for Carers, we were lucky enough to light the church up at Castor in NHS blue at the end of April, thanks to some generous residents who had both the time and equipment to allow us to do so. In addition, as part of a project with our local primary school, we have created a rainbow wall for the community to add their colours to.
- A team of 15 within our villages are making scrubs for the NHS. Our church team have been a part of this and we have led a fundraising campaign to buy materials.
- In the absence of our annual church plant sale, a member of our community has set up a plant stall in her front garden, with a plant-swap facility and honesty box (no human interaction required). Proceeds from this will come to the churches.
- In the first week of lockdown, Fr David prepared (and we delivered) a church newsletter to all homes in our benefice. Ongoing, we have a regular section in the fortnightly community COVID newsletter, which is distributed to all families in our benefice.
- Our church website is hosting a page dedicated to listing online resources, activities and items of interest, encouraging families to keep busy whilst at home. This is updated as we receive new ideas and suggestions.
We would like to hear more of your good news stories. Email email@example.com to let us know the activities that you have been involved in.