St Thomas News 15th April 2021
Dear Church Family,
I hope you've been enjoying the Easter season! We'll be continuing with our hybrid in-person/online services this Sunday at 10,30am. If you would like to come and haven't let me know, please get in touch so we can ensure we have space for everyone. From home, you can continue to join by
Facebook or YouTube or on the Zoom call (631 970 6882).
There are a few things to say about our communal worship at this point:
- First, I would really encourage you to aim to come in person at least every few weeks if at all possible. Some of us have got into the habit of worshipping via a screen while that's been all we can do; others may have dropped out of engaging with corporate worship over the past months. Either way, being with fellow Christians for encouragement is perhaps more important than we realize. So please do consider carefully if you can return soon.
- Second, as we do begin to gather together, we need to be diligent in trying to obey the law and in looking to one another's needs. I'm quite sure there are very different views, opinions and emotions across the church at the moment; this is a time for patience, kindness and forbearance! As far as the current rules are concerned I need to remind you that inside the building different households should not 'mingle'. I would encourage you to go straight to your seats as you arrive at church, and then to take care to leave plenty of space from others when leaving the building.
We are allowed to sing on the church grounds remaining socially distanced. Following the service, outside the church, the current rules for outdoor gatherings apply: ie people may gather in socially distanced groups of up to six, or two households. We need to try and keep these groups well spaced out from each other, and we need to stick to our particular group, rather than moving between lots of different groups.
Of course, much of this feels very abnormal and takes getting used to - we need to consider how we can be gracious to others around us who may feel quite differently (both by being considerate and by being forgiving!).
We have a change to our midweek schedules: A new Tiny Tots group for pre-schoolers and parents will be starting next Thursday morning (please contact Charlotte for more details). We are therefore trialling moving our midweek communion to Wednesdays at 1pm, and following this with an outdoor cafe (groups of six round tables) until 3pm.
We are also going to try a family service at 4pm on May 2nd as an opportunity for families to get together in church.
We're continuing to have our Zoom prayer meetings on Tuesdays at 9am.
Finally, to reiterate the news I announced on Easter Day about St Wulstan's. I'm going to be licensed as the Priest-in-Charge there, as well as continuing in that role at St Thomas', on Wednesday May 12th. Unfortunately there can't be an open invitation to come to the service because of Covid, but we hope it will be online. I want to assure you that I and the PCCs of the two churches do believe this is what God wants for us at this time, and is a positive move with real opportunities for the Gospel. Of course there will be lots of working out to do over the coming months, and it's inevitable that I'll be at St Thomas' a little less frequently, but what a blessing that we have such a great team of people to work together as the body of Christ! It's also really good news that this appointment (so long as I understand!) is not time-limited, so there is a real sense of security for the future for both churches.
Please be praying through this time of change! God bless,
Rev. Alistair Rycroft
St Thomas' Church, York
"You will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on You, who trusts in You." (Isaiah 26.3)