We have been holding our Sunday services on-line during this Covid-19 lock-down. It has been encouraging to see so many people coming together via Zoom; last Sunday 37 devices were signed in, many with two people on board, and guests are joining us from as far away as Spain and Australia. If you would like to join us please do get in touch with your email address so that we can add you to the weekly invitation list.
There was good news from Downing Street this week! The names of the new bishops of Horsham and Lewes to serve as suffragan bishops in the Diocese of Chichester were announced. The Revd Ruth Bushyager, currently Vicar of St Paul’s, Dorking in the Diocese of Guildford will serve as Bishop of Horsham. And The Revd William Hazlewood, currently Vicar of the United Benefice of Dartmouth and Dittisham in the Diocese of Exeter will be the next Bishop of Lewes. We do not at present know when these appointments will begin but please uphold Ruth and William in prayer as they prepare to embark on a new phase in their respective ministries. The Bishop of Chichester has recorded an interview with them both, which you can see here: https://www.facebook.com/DioceseofChichester/videos/243897083481345/
Closer to home; our church finances are a bit worrying. We had a (virtual) meeting of our Benefice Council this week where we learned from our treasurers that each of our four churches is likely to be down on income by around £4,500 this year as we are not able to hold our usual fundraising events and, of course there are no weekly collections or gifts from visitors to our churches. Unfortunately the savings we make as a result of our churches being closed are very small as most of our outgoings continue regardless – such as our insurance premiums and Parish Share to the diocese.
If you would like to make a contribution by bank transfer, it would be very much appreciated. Please email for bank details
This Sunday is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Were we to be meeting in church we would almost certainly have been singing The Lord’s my shepherd. In these strange times it might be good to reflect on the words of the 23rd Psalm. Here, surrounded as we are by the beauty of the South Downs it is relatively easy to relate to tranquillity of lying in green pastures. But perhaps right now we might also relate to the valley of the shadow of death that we are daily reminded of in the news and draw comfort that God walks with us through that valley, that goodness and love will follow us all the days of our life, and that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
With every blessing
Revd Tim Harford
Rector of the Downland churches