Being Church at Home

From the Revd Jane Isaac


Being Church Together in the United Benefice of St John the Baptist, Shedfield and St Nicholas, Wickham

Sunday 29th November 2020


Greetings from the ministry team to everyone. Whether you’re joining us from home or you come to church once a week, once in a while or once in a lifetime – welcome to Being Church Together. 


First of all…

The Ven Gavin Collins, Archdeacon of the Meon, has been appointed as the new Bishop of Dorchester. He’ll be consecrated as a bishop in January and will start his new role as an area bishop in the Diocese of Oxford in March 2021. You can see the first photos of Gavin as Bishop-elect of Dorchester here. And you can watch a video conversation between Gavin and the Bishop of Oxford immediately after his announcement here.

He was ordained in 1997 and served his curacy in Cambridge, then was vicar of Christ Church, Chorleywood from 2002 and was also rural dean of Rickmansworth from 2006, before becoming Archdeacon of the Meon nine years ago.

Two years ago I invited Archdeacon Gavin to preach at the service marking the end of St Nicholas Church’s 900th anniversary and the church’s patronal festival in December 2020 – the longest advance booking he’s ever had, he told me the other day!  I’m delighted that with the return of public worship Gavin will be with us in Wickham on Sunday 6th December for our 10.00am joint service, and all being well a recorded version of his sermon will be available on the website for those of you worshipping at home.

What does being in Tier 2 mean for our churches?

As you’ll be aware, our part of Hampshire will be in Tier 2 (High) when the country comes out of lockdown on December 2nd.

  • Churches may open for public worship, so long as the Covid-secure number is not exceeded (70 in St John the Baptist, Shedfield/60 in St Nicholas, Wickham), social distancing is practised and face-coverings worn.
  • Please be aware that those attending cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
  • There is a maximum of 15 guests for weddings and a maximum of 30 for funerals.
  • The revised government guidelines on Places of Worship can be found here, and the national C of E guidelines are available here: National C of E advice about lockdown arrangements  As always, the most up-to-date local church information can be found at: and
  • Our churches are open every day for individual private prayer – 10.00am until dusk.  Specially-designated seating is always available, and there’s the opportunity to be still, to pray and to light a candle.  Please remember to wear a facemask in church and to use the designated entrance and exit.

This Sunday’s online services

This week’s Being Church at Home services for Advent Sunday (Advent 1) are traditional morning prayer prepared by Revd Ruth and a celebration of Advent created by Revd Jane.  You can also watch the first candle being lit on the Advent wreath at St John the Baptist Church.  Next week, the lighting of the second candle on St Nicholas Church’s wreath will be part of the Being Church at Home service. Thank you, Carol and Jane B, for creating the wreaths for us.

Livestream from Portsmouth Cathedral on Sunday at 5.30pm: Advent Carol Service

Sung by the Cathedral Consort, this special service includes sequences of music and readings to mark the start of the season of Advent: livestream on the cathedral’s Facebook Live  To find out more about the traditional Advent Prose see this week’s Being Church at Home service.

Next Sunday, 6th December: Patronal festival communion service in church

Bishop Christopher and friends at Patronal Festival 2019

Our two church families can be together in church again in Wickham at 10.00am for St Nicholas Church’s patronal festivalSadly, we won’t be able to welcome our usual band of bishops from Wickham CofE Primary School, but we’re delighted that Ven Gavin Collins, Archdeacon of the Meon and Bishop-Elect of Dorchester, is to be our preacher.

The Big Christmas Carol Service – hosted by the Royal School of Church Music on 12th December at 6.00pm

The Royal School of Church Music will be hosting a free carol service on Saturday 12th December from 6.00pm on its YouTube channel.  The service will include readings and contributions from guests including The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Alexander Armstrong and Timothy Bentinck, and there’ll be a wide variety of music including John Rutter conducting one of his own carols. The RSCM will be providing downloadable music packs (including rehearsal tracks to help singers around the world to practice in their own time) alongside the order of service. Find out more here.


Celebrate with stars!  You’ll know by now about the marvellous star-making projects underway in both parishes.  St John the Baptist Church and St Nicholas Church are hoping to have whole galaxies of home-made stars leading the way to Christmas – and that’s a lot of stars!







Stars cut out of a cereal packet and painted                                                                                                                                                         Now that’s a good idea…!

We’re well on the way already!  Large, small, knitted, knotted, stitched, painted, origami-ed, patterned, plain… as simple or complicated as you’d like, and please encourage your friends, neighbours, grandchildren and colleagues to contribute too.  There are collecting points in both church porches, so just drop off your star/s and then look forward to seeing them on display in the run-up to Christmas.  If inspiration, craft materials or templates would encourage you to have a go, then please do get in touch with Rosemary Yeoman or Sue Pittam via the parish offices.

16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence

With 4 million members in 84 countries around the world, the Mothers’ Union is uniquely able to campaign for an end to gender-based violence – violence most often carried out against women and girls because of their gender. 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign which takes place each year from 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December (International Human Rights Day).  Throughout the campaign, MU members raise awareness of gender-based violence in all forms and in all societies: the resource pack for 16 Days of Activism 2020 is available to download here   St John the Baptist Church’s MU members are marking each of the 16 Days with activities and prayers – contact Deborah Casper via to find out more.

Living Faith: Ethics – new course starting in January

I know that several of you are making the most of having just that little bit more time available for reading to spend some time talking and thinking about the ‘big questions’ that challenge or affirm your faith.  How about trying the free ten-week Living Faith: Ethics module offered by the Diocese in January?  Covering economic and environmental ethics, issues around the beginning and end of life, and sexual ethics, the course will be run via Zoom, and reading material will be provided in electronic form.  Living Faith: Ethics starts on Thursday 14th January, 7pm to 9pm. Click here for details.

Collect used Christmas stamps and help the RNIB

The RNIB fundraising department writes: ‘By collecting used Christmas stamps you’re helping to break down the barriers that stop people with sight loss living life to the full.  We accept all used stamps, first or second class.  Please leave at least a centimetre of paper around each stamp. Stamps are sold by weight and we raise £20 per kilogramme of stamps, so it’s a brilliant way to raise money. We will recycle them into much-needed funds for our services, such as our Letter from Santa in accessible formats for children with vision impairment to help them feel included at Christmas.’ Find out more at: Save your stamps for RNIB  Chris Cannadine is happy to collect your used stamps if you live locally (please don’t bring them to church this year) – contact her via the Wickham parish office: 01329 833 299.

Winter fuel allowance donations

Thanks to your overwhelmingly generous donations to St John the Baptist CofE Primary School or Wickham CofE Primary School, I’ve been able to give our headteachers over £1,000 for them to provide supermarket vouchers to school families who would otherwise have a difficult time over Christmas.  I’m aware that not everyone who’s eligible has yet received their letter from the DWP, but don’t worry – there’s still time to donate some of your winter fuel payment!  Do contact me on 01329 835 295.

And finally…

Advent is a time for watching and waiting (see Being Church at Home)… !

With the assurance of our constant prayers for you all, from Jane on behalf of the benefice ministry team.

The lighting of the first candle on the Advent wreath: The Patriarchs

Daily Prayer for Advent

Spiritual Communion

A service of Spiritual Communion for use during the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has made it necessary for the Church of England to suspend all public acts of worship. Using the national Church of England’s recommended liturgy as its guide, the ministry team has prepared this short act of Spiritual Communion for you to use at home.