Being Church at Home

The funeral for the late Frederick Weaver Montague will take place in St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield at 2pm.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, attendance is by invitation only.

From the Revd Jane Isaac

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


9th May 2021


Greetings from the ministry team to everyone. Whether you come to church once a week, once in a while or once in a lifetime – welcome to the weekly eBulletin.


First of all…

Fred’s funeral is to be held at St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield, at 2.00pm on Friday 14th May and will be followed by private cremation at Wessex Vale – sadly, Covid-19 restrictions mean that attendance in church is limited to 30 in by invitation only.  The order of service will be available online on Friday afternoon, in the anticipation that those who will not be able to come to church might read the hymns and prayers at home.

Fred’s body will be received into St John the Baptist Church on Friday morning, and you are invited to join the ministry team in saying the morning office in church at 9.15am.  Please be aware that on Friday the church will not be open for private prayer as usual.  It is anticipated that there will be a service of thanksgiving at a later date, during which Fred’s ashes will be interred in the memorial garden.  Dear Fred – may he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Thy Kingdom Come: Ascension Day to Pentecost, 13th May–23rd May – Light up the world with prayer.  This year’s TKC resources are focussed ‘on encouraging and refreshing Christians weary of the pandemic’ says the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell.  Archbishop Stephen has created a prayer journal for use during TKC, and free copies will be available in church (or for delivery to you at home) on Sunday.  We’ll be trying out one of the reflections as part of Sunday’s church service, and there’s a glorious variety of prayer and other resources for all age groups is available at

For instance… here’s an interactive escape room that you can play with family and friends. You’re invited to join TK the Cat and his cathedral cat friends to solve a mystery before Pentecost Sunday.  The idea is to explore a variety of apps before you find the codes to ring the bells at Catterbury Cathedral, and you can download all the resources you’ll need here.

Easing of Covid-19 restrictions – the next steps

You’ll be aware that Covid restrictions are very likely to be eased on May 17th  and again on June 21st if the figures are heading in the right direction.  This is marvellous news!

  • However, the headlines about there being no limit on the number who can attend funerals after May 17th is somewhat misleading: do please be aware that the size of the congregation will continue to be limited to the number that churches can safely accommodate within social distancing requirements. Here in the benefice, for funerals that safe limit will be 50 at St Nicholas, Wickham and 60 at St John the Baptist, Shedfield.  A list of those attending will still be required in advance of the service.
  • The national Church of England has announced that it anticipates no major changes in the guidance about attendance limits, face-coverings or congregational singing as a result of the next easing of restrictions on May 17th. Any such changes, we are told, are unlikely before June 21st, at the earliest.
  • As the number of Covid cases continue to fall, it’s tempting to pay less attention to the Covid guidelines that have kept us safe so far. The advice from the national CofE is to hold our nerve and stick to the rules, even though most of our congregations have already been vaccinated.
  • As always you’ll also find all the details and the latest updates at: and

Christian Aid Week, 10th–16th May

Christian Aid’s iconic paper envelope won’t be available this year for your donations – instead, why not give via an e-envelope online (it’s very straightforward) to Christian Aid’s Give Thanks campaign, which provides humanitarian support including food, water and healthcare in areas where Covid-19 vaccine programmes aren’t yet widely available.  Our worship next week in church and online will have a Christian Aid focus.

RBL – a century of service

The Royal British Legion will be marking its 100th anniversary on Saturday 15th May.  In the light of the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions the national RBL’s organising committee has asked that local commemorations be kept as short and straightforward as possible.  In Wickham and in Shedfield, wreathes will be laid during a short service at the war memorials at 9.00am that morning, and my intention is to mark the centenary more fully at this year’s Remembrance commemorations in November.  At 9.00am on 15th May, wreaths will be laid at the Cenotaph, marking the occasion 100 years ago on which the then British Legion was formed.

St John the Baptist Primary School’s 160th anniversary

A sticky thank you from the ministry team and pupils of St John the Baptist Primary School, who thoroughly enjoyed icing and eating the 300 fairy cakes baked by members of Shedfield Mothers’ Union for the school’s 160th birthday.

Revd Jane made a video introducing the day, which you can watch here: 160th – YouTube.  Jane wears one of the stoles designed and made in 2018 at school, with the help of the church needleworkers.

Worship in the United Benefice

A reminder that with the continuing decrease in infection rates locally, both of our church buildings are open once again for private prayer and public worship for those who feel comfortable coming inside the buildings.

For the time being, we’ll continue to provide Being Church at Home services online for those of you who would rather not come to church just yet, and for the foreseeable future we’ll be continuing the well-received pattern of the 10.00am Sunday Service, alternating between St Nicholas, Wickham and St John the Baptist, Shedfield.  Please visit the church websites for the most up-to-date information about services and see church noticeboards and also noticeboards around Wickham.

This Sunday’s church service for the United Benefice: 10.00am at St Nicholas Church, Wickham (the door will open at 9.40am).  ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15.12) is the theme – what does it mean to love one another as followers of Jesus, and to be chosen by him as friends?  Please remember your facemask and to make sure to use the designated entrance and exit.  Social distancing remains in place, and for the sake of those who are still very nervous about coming to church, please do maintain that 2-metre rule outside as well as inside.

As always, Being Church at Home is available via this email and the church websites, including Revd Ruth’s specially-prepared service of Morning Prayer.

Next Sunday’s service will be at St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield at 10.00am.  The door will open at 9.40am.

Ascension Day: Thursday 13th May

Perhaps you, as I do, worry too much about the mechanics of the Ascension – how? – rather than on its effect!  Ascension is a reminder of how the disciples’ lives had changed and of how they had come to trust God’s ultimate purpose for them and strange as it seems, it’s the time for us to celebrate Christ’s leaving his disciples.

I know that some of us find mornings difficult and some find evenings impossible and some of us are still uncomfortable coming to church, so hopefully one way or another there’ll be an opportunity for you to share in this special day in our lives as a worshipping community:

10.00am at St Nicholas, Wickham – a short, informal service of Holy Communion

6.00pm at St John the Baptist, Shedfield – Holy Communion with music and reflection

Being Church at Home – a special Ascension Day service will be available on the Being Church at Home pages of the church websites.

Isle of Wight pilgrims visiting the Mount of Olives, 2017

What other services are available this week?

A national Church of England service continues to be available at 9.00am every Sunday: more information, a downloadable order of service and details of the recorded version to be made available during the week can be found at:  This Sunday, Tim Hughes explores what it means to love and follow Jesus in a special service from Gas Street Church, Birmingham.

Tim Hughes of Birmingham’ s Gas Street Church

And finally…

Revd Jane’s ‘Abraham went to the Land of Canine’ prompted Ruth Wiffen to remind us of another of the ministry team’s ‘out-take’ moments – the description of Marian Mort’s induction as an honorary member of Portsmouth Cathedral’s chapter as her ‘canonisation’!

And speaking of canons, a seasonal joke from wannabe-rock star Canon David…

The stone has been rolled away for 38 days and Jesus is celebrating Easter season with his friends.  God calls from the heavens, ‘It’s time!’  But no one hears him over the music.  On Day 39, God tries again: ‘Son, come and sit by my right hand in heaven.’

Still nothing.  On Day 40, the music is especially loud and God realises that he’ll probably be ignored again.  So he grabs a big megaphone and yells, ‘May I have your ascension please! May I have your ascension please!’

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

The Sixth Sunday of Easter

‘Love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15.12)

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.