LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONA: Day 250

Warden’s blog, stardate 23/11/2020 (Day 250)

Hello to all the friends of Huddersfield Parish Church, both local and further afield. I hope you are all keeping well and coping in this second phase of lockdown. Clearly virus rates have been climbing and both admissions to hospital, and sadly deaths have been increasing again. Let us hope that the rates drop, and we can perhaps have a more relaxed, but far from normal, Christmas.

This time of year is usually really busy for the church, its community and people attending the services, carol services, concerts and other events that lead through Advent to Christmas and beyond. There is an air of expectation and joy around the church and many, many people would normally be in the building. Things are very different this year and many events will be online as singing will not be allowed, even if in December the lockdown is eased a little. Please look out for information of these events on our website and social media outlets for details. Also, very different will be the amount of money that will come to the church as all of the events mentioned would lead to increased donations to the church through various channels. This income too, will be missing this year. At PCC last night the financial committee report showed that our income will be around £8000 less than our expenditure for the year despite us tightening our belt with outgoings that have reduced during the year as well. We are having a campaign to see if we can reduce the deficit, by a stewardship drive throughout Advent. We know that many of our community have increased their giving during the crisis, and we are enormously grateful for this, but if people could add a little more it would go some way to easing our losses. How about making a donation for the cakes or coffee you’ve not had at our coffee mornings for example?

On a brighter financial note, there has been a very generous donation made specifically to “pump prime” fund raising for live streaming equipment. The Vicar, Wardens and PCC have committed to providing this equipment, which will allow live streaming of our services when we return to the building and going forward will allow streaming of our “normal” services (whenever that is!) to a congregation online which has been growing over this difficult period. This includes being able to live stream concerts, recording of weddings and baptisms and other new and innovative uses to really enhance the experience people have when engaging with the church and its community. This is an exciting development and we already have sought, and been granted a Faculty, for the equipment to be put in place and a company engaged to source and fit the equipment. If members of the community would like to contribute to the project, then there are opportunities to “sponsor” or donate in memory, items of equipment such as cameras, microphones and other items which need to be purchased. The best way to donate to this project would be to contact the Vicar, Wardens or office to discuss the possibilities.

If you are able to help the church financially, we thank you in anticipation, but we realise that people are finding it hard themselves to make ends meet and they may not be able to help, we understand that as well.

Other news includes the completion of the restoration of the Baldachino. Cynthia Haywood and her husband Donald have facilitated this work, which has been done in memory of Cynthia’s parents. Cynthia and Donald were married in St Peter’s in 1953, and at that time the Baldachino pillars were painted white. Three men within the church, at around that time (including Cynthia’s father), donated money to have the pillars gilded, which occurred then. Some 60+ years later the connection has been made again through Cynthia. We are hoping that the Baldachino will be re-dedicated early in the new year.

As our planning permission has now come through Alan and I are getting to grips with grant applications for the work planned, and we have also had a useful meeting with a person from the council whose role it is to look at the development of the gardens in line with the town blueprint. We are hoping this is a fruitful collaboration and the work in the gardens will be of huge benefit to the church and the town centre community.

It seems very gratifying that, even in these difficult times, we are continuing to develop the work of the church. As Rachel mentioned in her sermon last week the master gave his servants talents and one turned 5 into 10 by shrewd investment. We hope that we can turn our investment of talents (and money) into something more for God’s work as we move into the church’s New Year, Advent and Christmas.

Finally, on a personal note, may I say “thank you” to all for their prayers for my Mum after her passing a week ago, also for their prayers for my Dad and the family as we go through a sad time. We appreciate the care shown to us by the St Peter’s community.

Prayers for growth and transformation

Almighty God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

O God, who alone brings growth to your church,
Send your Holy Spirit to give Vision to our planning,
Wisdom to our actions, and power to our witness.
Help our church to grow in numbers, commitment to you,
and in service to our local community,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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