“Trust * Hope * Believe” are the words on a recent bookmark posted out to members of our congregation. As you know, sadly all places of worship nationally have been closed for public worship services in our collective effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest guidance is that church buildings may now be re-opened for public worship from 5 July onwards if it is safe to do so.
The required risk assessment has been carried out. As our building development project is still very much a work in progress, we have decided that regretfully, for the time being, it is not yet practical or safe to open our doors for private prayer nor for public worship.
However, we do encourage you to continue praying at home or out on your daily walks instead, especially following our “10 for 10” scheme together. Thank you for your ongoing patience and faithful support. We will continue to act in line with Government and Diocesan guidelines and will of course review this decision as the summer unfolds.
With love and blessings,
The following letter from Bishop Keith is clear:
A number of queries have been raised following the new government and Church of England guidance about the reopening of church buildings for public worship, in particular how the government and Church guidance is clear that this can only be done when it is safe to do so, and the requirement of the Canons for there to be public worship every Sunday.
My view is that the Canons are like the skeleton in the body; they need to be strong and tough so that the body can thrive, but the skeleton is not the whole body. The Canons remain and are there for our good and the good of the whole church. They were not designed or are able to cover every circumstance of the Church’s life; they are not the muscles, the flesh, or the bloodstream, and without the Holy Spirit they are dead. As the guidelines make clear, the priority is safety, and I want to make it clear that if anyone asks for my direction in relation to longer-term delay in the opening of buildings for public worship my view is that we dishonour the intention of the Canons unless we open safely, and I will be very sympathetic to the incumbent and PCC as I make that call.
I hope this is helpful and enables us all to balance permissive and prescriptive well. Of course, in the Lord’s mercy, so much more has been given to us over these last weeks, especially with those who have joined our worship online. I am praying that as a diocese, we don’t miss what God has been giving to us in the responsibility we now have to reopen safely. Perhaps the time of July and August will help us in this preparing for this next stage and enable us to keep learning from what we have been through.
Can I repeat so many thanks to everyone for the resilience and endurance (even when it may have felt anything but) over these last weeks and reassert the recent message in the pastoral letter about rest, holiday and sabbath.
With love in Christ
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St Oswald’s Church building will remain closed until further notice
There will be NO PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICES at St Oswald’s
and NO REMEMBRANCE SERVICES at the COLUMBARIUM
– until further notice.
Please do let the Vicar or Churchwardens know if you are self-isolating, or if you are aware of someone else who might need us to keep in contact with them by phone for reassurance or to assist with shopping etc.
Alternatively you can contact us using the form below.
More information from the Church of England here.
Bollington Town Council
(volunteers can collect shopping, prescriptions, etc)
Macclesfield Citizens Advice Centre phone numbers: