To Members and Friends of St Faith’s Havant – 20 March 2020

Dear Friends,

“Our churches remain open; our faith in God is undiminished; public worship may be suspended; but the life of God’s kingdom is inextinguishable”  So said the Bishops of London a few days ago, in words which I wholeheartedly endorse.  St Faith’s does indeed remain open, and we aim to do so for as long as Government guidance permits it.  I’m delighted to attach a copy of our updated ‘Fortnightly News’, which contains a view more articles than normal.  I hope you find them pleasantly diverting at this time.  Paper copies are available from today to collect from the church itself.  Please do pop into the church (being careful to stay two metres from anyone else) and pray for our parish and our community during this time of crisis.

Here are a few other tips to keep us all going:

Look after each other:  If you know the telephone number of another church member (or their email address), why not get in touch, just to check they are ok, and see if they need a chat?  Some of you (who we judge might be especially glad of it) will be hearing from Sandra, myself, or one of our pastoral team in the coming days (if you haven’t already!).  However, if you don’t receive a personal call or email from us, and would like one, please do get in touch.  We’d be delighted to offer you a listening ear, or just a chat about the weather!  And if you have a practical need we can fulfill (like getting you some shopping) we’ll gladly arrange for that too.  Just click reply to this email, if you’d like such contact or help.  Or phone the parish office on 023 9249 2129 (Tuesday to Friday 10am to midday).

Another important service you could do for your neighbours and friends, is to check whether they have received this email from me.  If they haven’t, perhaps you’d be able to print them a copy, and pop it through their door (if they don’t have email, for example).  Or if they do have email, why not encourage them to send me a quick message, asking to be put on the mailing list?

Join us, remotely, for worship

Although the church will be open during the days for private worship and prayer, we are not currently able to hold any public services.  We are, however, livestreaming our Sunday and Thursday Eucharists, live from St Faith’s.  If you would like to worship with us, via your computer, tablet or modern phone, then please check out our ‘Live-streaming’ page at: https://stfaith.com/livestreamed-services/   Copies of the service sheets we’ll use throughout the period are available on the web-page…and paper copies are available in church, from today, for you to collect.  It would be great to have many more people keeping up the discipline of regular communal worship, even if we’re only connected to each other by a spiritual (and fibre-optic!) connection!

Ask not what your church can do for you…

There are, of course, many ways in which St Faith’s will be continuing to provide glue to this community (spiritually and practically) over the coming weeks.  We’re very glad to be able to do so, including spiritual, practical and emotional support to so many.  But we also need your help.  The simple fact is that the closure of all public gatherings has, quite literally, decimated our normal income streams.  (All our Pallant Centre activities have ceased, and without public worship, there will be no donations to receive from worshippers.  Businesses to whom we hire space are also being drastically affected, and can’t afford to pay us any rent).  You might think that the Church of England is wealthy enough to ‘weather the storm’ – but nothing could be further form the truth.  Each church is an independent charity.  We, infact, are required to give money to the central church (which then pays the stipends and housing costs of our priests and Diocesan staff).

We’ve already had to cut the hours of some of our incredibly valued parish staff – and some of them have even offered voluntary cuts in their wages, just to help us get through the next months financially.  Tragically, one staff member’s post has been entirely redundant because of the crisis.  We are saving pennies wherever we can.  We’ve turned off the heating in the church and Pallant Centre, and we’re holding back on every non-essential expense.

Some recipients of this email will no doubt be similarly worried…especially if they receive wages from an employer who is struggling like us.  If that’s you – get in touch, and we’ll advise and help where we can through the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.  

But some of you won’t be especially worried about finances.  If you are in that latter category, can I please encourage you to think about whether you could give a little extra to the church at this time?  I promise that every penny will be carefully used, to continue providing support to entire parish and community.  Here are some ways to donate:

  1. Cash or cheque donations (payable to ‘PCC of St Faiths’) can be made at the parish office (which remains open from Tuesday to Friday – 10am to midday).  Preferably, fill out a gift aid envelope (available in church) and enclose it with your donation.
  2. Cheques (payable to PCC of St Faith’s) can sent to me at 5 Meadowlands, Havant, PO9 2RP.  Preferably, fill out a gift aid envelope (available in church) and enclose it with your donation.
  3. Donations can also be made ‘direct to bank’ by paying into our Lloyds bank account number 50907160 (Sort Code 30-90-89).  Preferably, fill out a gift aid envelope (available in church) and enclose drop it into the Parish Office at your convenience.
  4. Gift aid your electronic donation by sending your gift through this PayPal Giving website:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/2765291.  
  5. Smaller contactless donations can be made at any time (between £3 and £30) by popping into the church and using the contactless donation point.  

I know that many who receive this email will want to help, but are unable to do so.  Please don’t feel bad about that – and please DON’T give if you can’t afford to.  Pray for us, as we will pray for you.  

But for those who have been blessed with abundant financial resources, there will not likely be another time when your generosity is so desperately needed.

With best wishes and prayers for you all,

Tom

Canon Tom Kennar

Rector of Havant – St Faith with St Nicholas, Langstone

Hon. Canon of Cape Coast & Ho Cathedrals, Ghana, and Portsmouth Cathedral, UK

Tel: 07881 025592

22 Mar 2020 – Updated

 

To Members and Friends of St Faith’s Church – 17 March 2020

Dear Friends,

With a heavy heart, today’s guidance from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York leaves me with no alternative but to announce that all social gatherings – including for public worship – are hereby suspended until further notice.  You can read the Archbishops’ letter to all Anglicans at this link

Regretfully, this suspension will apply to all church gatherings, including services, soup lunches, lunchtime concerts, Little Seeds, TAT, bell-ringing and choir events (including this week’s planned ‘Come and Sing Choral Evensong).  The church will, however, remain open for private prayer, and the seeking of help or counsel from our staff and volunteers.  St Faith’s Shop will also continue to trade, as far as possible, as a low-risk activity (similar to other shops in the town).  The parish office will continue to open at the normal times, though we ask that all visitors maintain the recommended 2 metres of safe-distance from our staff, when calling to make enquiries.

As the Archbishops have wisely said, these precautions are taken because of our responsibility to our neighbours (not to contribute in an way to the spreading of the COVID-19 corona virus).  It does not mean, however, that we stop being ‘the church’.  Rather, we are invited to experiment with praying, worshipping and serving differently.  Some excellent online resources for daily prayer can be found at this link.  I anticipate that the church building will remain open as normal, for private prayers throughout the period, but (to discourage any social gathering) it will be closed at times of normal services.

I will be updating the details of our own parish response to the crisis later today. You will be able to read it at this link.  I will also be publishing a special edition of the Fortnightly News in the coming days.  Our overall aim will be to offer support to those who need it, and the opportunity to still connect with God through the ministry of the church throughout the coming crisis.  I will send further details via email and on our Facebook page as they emerge.

Please join me in praying for all who may feel anxious at this time.  Please do contact me, or our Lay Pastor, Sandra (sandrahaggan54@gmail.com), if we can offer you any practical or spiritual support.

With best wishes

Tom

Canon Tom Kennar

Rector of Havant – St Faith with St Nicholas, Langstone

Hon. Canon of Cape Coast & Ho Cathedrals, Ghana, and Portsmouth Cathedral, UK

Tel: 07881 025592

Parish website:  stfaith.com 

Personal website:  tomkennar.com