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 25th October 2020


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


First of all… 

Annual Parochial Church Meetings

Having been postponed since April, St Nicholas Church’s Annual Parish Meeting and APCM took place last Sunday after church.  A very warm welcome to the newly-formed PCC and to Gerry Banks, who joins Fred Crosskey as churchwarden.

The Annual Parish Meeting and Annual Parochial Church Meeting for St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield will take place at 11.00am in church this Sunday, 25th October.

More information, agenda, 2019 minutes and reports are all available on the church websites.

The Diocese of Portsmouth: Living, praying and serving now and in the future

The impact of the ongoing pandemic on the way parish ministry, mission and outreach is sustained now and for the future is immense.   The diocese launched the  live | pray | serve strategy in 2016, as a vision to guide us forward together.  Although many things have changed since then, as this week’s diocesan mailing explains, the intention remains that ‘…we want to live as disciples as Christ; pray as we seek God’s will; and serve the communities around us.’ A reminder of that context can be seen here.

Recent developments as we seek to grow the Church in depth, impact and numbers include the Archdeaconry consultations in September that involved around 350 people, as well as strategic thinking by the diocese’s senior staff and Bishop’s Council. This link, live | pray | serve: the next steps, Oct 2020 takes you to the document detailing the next steps, with deaneries clearly identified as taking a larger role in strategic planning for the future. 

All Souls’, 2nd November 2020


As I explained last week, whilst services will be held at both churches on 2nd November, this year the ministry team and churchwardens have had no option but to limit attendance to invited members of those families for whom we’ve taken funerals this past year. It’s with great regret that I also need to tell you that we’re unable to compile and read the ‘list of names’ in the usual way: the ministry team will, of course, be praying for all those who have been loved and lost as we light the Paschal candles at the All Souls’ services. As well, a short service of prayer and reflection will be available in an easily printable format on both of the church websites for you to use at home.

Remembrance services, 8th November 2020

Several of you have been asking if you’re allowed to come to this year’s morning Remembrance commemorations.  The answer is yes, of course – with the proviso that if we are to meet government and Church of England regulations, the numbers we can accommodate at the morning service in both of our churches are limited and that when capacity has been reached access to church will be closed.  It may be, particularly if you are still uneasy about coming to public worship services, that you would prefer to take up the national RBL’s suggestion that we mark the two minutes’ silence from home:

Remembrance service at Wickham: Please let the Wickham parish administrator, Mrs Jane Goulson, know by phone or email (01329 833 299 / if you intend to come to the morning service at St Nicholas’ Church.

Because seating at the morning service will be limited by social distancing requirements, this year an afternoon Remembrance-themed service will be held in both churches:

  • evensong at 3.30pm at St Nicholas, Wickham at which the WW2 memorial plaque will be re-dedicated
  • a service with music, readings and reflections at 5.00pm at St John the Baptist, Shedfield.

In Wickham, the ‘Tommies’ are already in place at the Field of Remembrance on the Village Green, and the ground has been prepared ready for the planting of poppy crosses and placing of painted pebbles after the Field’s dedication on 31st October.  For more information about the Field of Remembrance please see the church website or the posters around the village.

Please see the November parish magazines and the posters on church and local noticeboards for more details and do look at the church websites for the latest information nearer the time.

Holy communion

All being well, and national government and Church of England regulations and guidelines permitting, the hope is that having tried out what we hope is a manageable and sustainable way of distributing and receiving communion (in ‘one kind’ – the wafer), we’ll soon be able to re-introduce regular communion services into our worshipping life together.  We anticipate being able to have a monthly 10.00am holy communion service, alternating between churches and for all our congregations. We’ve adapted the service so that it lasts no longer than 40 minutes (about as long as most of us can manage with our facemasks).

The first of these 10.00am communion services will be held at St John the Baptist, Shedfield on Sunday 15th November, with future services to be followed – all being well – at St Nicholas, Wickham on 6th December (patronal festival) and in Shedfield on 10th January.  The times of Christmas communion services have yet to be finalised.  The ministry team is so very grateful to the volunteer teams without whom we simply couldn’t maintain the extra stewarding and cleaning needed to enable Sunday worship in these Covid-19 aware times: thank you to you all.

Being Church at home and in church, 25h October

This Sunday is the last after Trinity and the day’s readings are used in today’s online morning prayer service, prepared by Revd Ruth.  The importance of the Bible in and for our faith is the focus for this week’s online Sunday morning service, specially prepared by Jane for Bible Sunday.

It’s very appropriate that our reflection for Bible Sunday is given online and in church by lay minister Stephen Campion.  Lay ministers – perhaps better known as ‘Readers’ – are particularly called to a ministry of teaching and preaching, and we’ve been challenged, comforted and fed by Stephen’s gifted and distinctive ministry for almost 20 years.  Today’s service in church is Stephen’s last with us as a licensed member of the benefice ministry team: Stephen has a major birthday coming up, and at 70 Readers are required to seek the Bishop’s ‘Permission to Officiate’ (PtO), becoming licensed to the whole diocese rather than to a particular parish or benefice. I’m delighted to be able to reassure you that Stephen will be preaching and leading worship from time to time at St John the Baptist, Shedfield and St Nicholas, Wickham, and we give thanks to God for the blessings he has brought to our worship and church family life over so many years.

This Sunday’s church service is at St John the Baptist, Shedfield at 10.00am (church will be open from 9.40am). Members of the church choir will sing two of Stephen’s favourite pieces of church music: Stuart Townend’s version of ‘The Lord’s my shepherd’ and Margaret Rizza’s ‘You are the centre’.  St John the Baptist Church’s APM and APCM will follow the service, beginning at 11.00am. 

And finally…

Who can forget Stephen’s unique pineapple-shaped take on Christingle!

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

This morning’s readings and reflection

with Stephen Campion, retiring today as licensed lay minister in the United Benefice of St John the Baptist, Shedfield and St Nicholas, Wickham

This morning’s readings
(1) Colossians 3.12–17
(2) Matthew 24.30–35

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.