Being Church at Home

From the Revd Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley

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

Sunday 20th June 2021


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

Services this Sunday:

We look forward to welcoming you to St Nicholas, Wickham at 10.00am (doors will open at 9.40am) for our Morning Service where Revd Ruth will reflect on the calming of the storm and what this says to us about fear and faith.

Please remember to bring your face-coverings, to use the hand sanitiser and to follow the directions of the stewards so that we can come together to worship safely.

Coronavirus Update

Both our churches continue to be open for services and for private prayer for those of you who feel comfortable coming back to church. However, at present we will continue to provide ‘Being Church at Home’ services for those of you who would rather not come to church just yet, along with this weekly eBulletin (which will contain details of the other services available on diocesan and national CofE online platforms).  Printed copies of the eBulletin and weekly online services can be delivered to those unable to receive them online, just ask anyone who may be interested to get in touch with myself or Revd Jane.

We know that it is frustrating that the restriction on communal singing has yet to be lifted in churches (especially when singing happens in other contexts), and that the date for easing of all restrictions has been delayed. It’s also tempting for us to relax with regard to aspects of the Covid restrictions, especially as we approach July 19. However, it is that important that we continue to stick to the rules until they are lifted to ensure that everyone remains safe.

The Ministry team and the Churchwardens are constantly reviewing the situation so keep an eye on the church website and on and for the latest information.

Next Sunday’s service: 27th June 2021 – Patronal Festival

Next week it is the Patronal Festival of St John the Baptist Church Shedfield. The service will be held at 10am in St John the Baptist, Shedfield (doors open 9.40am) and Stephen Campion will be preaching.

Please keep an eye on the website for any updates as the ministry team, churchwardens and PCCs will continue to monitoring the ongoing covid situation and arrangements may be subject to change.

Other dates for your diary: 


Given the ongoing Covid situation PCCs have been given the option to delay their APCM until June to facilitate the ability to hold in person meetings. The proposed dates for the APCMs in the benefice are:

Sunday 18th July – St Nicholas, Wickham

Tuesday 20th July – St John the Baptist, Shedfield

Summer Lecture Series 

Following the success of the Shedfield Lent Lectures which were delivered as Zoom Webinars it has been decided that the Wickham Summer Lecture series will also be delivered online.

The lectures will be held at 7pm on Fridays from 25th June to 16th July.  Booking for these lectures is open and you will find the links on both church websites. Once you have booked you will be sent a link for each lecture. There is no charge for the lectures but online donations towards the upkeep of St Nicholas Church will be very welcome – perhaps you could donate the price of the glass of wine or cup of coffee you would have had if we were able to meet in church as originally planned!

Four specialists in their field will share they expertise in this unique far-ranging webinar series.

25th June        Tracey Sheppard – Glass and Eye

2nd July           Lt Col (rtd) Jeremy Prescott – The Sinking of the Laconia

9th July           Jane Painter  – St Nicholas Church: the first 900 years

16th July         Prof Dave Goulson – Averting the Insect Apocalypse 

Other News:

What’s going to happen to our church services after lockdown ends?

The ministry team met with the churchwardens on Thursday to put together a new pattern of Sunday services and we will be taking this to PCCs at their next meetings.  We will try out the new pattern of services until the end of the year and will then review and revise it as necessary.

We are aware that some of you are concerned that there have not been many services of Holy Communion – although others of you see this as a positive! In the new pattern of services there will be a communion service in the benefice every Sunday from September- either at 8am or 10am.

In the meantime we are going to introduce 8am Holy Communion services twice a month from July. The first of these will be on 11th July in St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield.

As always, keep an eye on the church websites for further details. If you have any thoughts or ideas about the future services in the benefice please get in touch with Revd Jane.

Over the last few weeks we have been talking about Live | Pray | Serve . The original Live | Pray | Serve vision for Portsmouth Diocese was launched in 2016 but the impact of COVID-19 has highlighted the need for change and work has been underway to renew the vision in 2021 and look afresh at what a ‘thriving diocese’ might look like in five years’ time, and what needs to be done in order to reach that destination. It comes out of a challenging context in which the Covid pandemic has closed our buildings for a time and hit our finances. That experience has also sharpened our focus and prompted an outpouring of creativity, as we’ve found new ways to celebrate and share our faith.

The process aims to equip people to live as disciples of Christ; to pray, individually and together as worshipping communities; and to serve those living in our local neighbourhoods together.

As part of this process, the diocese is seeking growth in depth of discipleship, our impact on society and the numbers of those who are becoming disciples of Christ.

Within Bishop’s Waltham Deanery the Mission and Pastoral Committee has been asked to start developing a plan for the future of our deanery which would enable us to share our resources and harness then to best effect as we seek to be faithful to Christ; working collaboratively and collegially with groups of churches working together with all that God has given them.

Trina Hillier and Sabrina Gwynn are our representatives on the Mission and Pastoral Committee and we are extremely grateful to them for the energy and commitment they have given to this role. Earlier in the week they met with the two PCCs to discuss this but if you have any thoughts on this do get in touch with Trina, Sabrina or one of the ministry team.

It had initially been hoped that a diocesan-wide plan would be presented to Diocesan Synod in July but it has been accepted that more time is needed for consultation and discussion about the best way to achieve the vision – so there is still plenty of time for your views to be heard.

It is now hoped that Diocesan Synod members will consider a diocesan-wide plan at their meeting in November 2021. Between now and then, the diocese hopes to have some get-togethers in September, in deanery or archdeaconry groups, at which we can share ideas about the vision and plans and the ongoing financial context.

Thank You Day

A national ‘Thank You Day’ is being planned on Sunday 4 July to mark the end of this phase of the Covid pandemic and to say thank you to everyone who has helped us through it. It is being organised by Together, a coalition of many organisations, including the Church of England.

If there is anything that you particularly what to give thanks for so let one of the ministry team know.

Ordination and licensing services

At three special services, on Saturday 26th June and Saturday 3rd July Bishop Rob (our commissary bishop) will be ordaining seven new deacons, four new priests and two new readers at Portsmouth Cathedral. These services are invitation-only, due to the current restrictions on capacity in places of worship. Details of those being ordained and also those in our diocese who training, or are due to begin training, for ordination can be found on the Portsmouth diocese website.

Worship in the Benefice – Services this Sunday:

We look forward to welcoming you to St Nicholas, Wickham at 10.00am (doors will open at 9.40am) for our Morning Service where Revd Ruth will reflect on the calming of the storm and what this says to us about fear and faith.

You will also find a traditional Morning Prayer service on the church websites as well as Prayer During the Day for Ordinary Time.

Please be reassured that the Being Church at Home services can be accessed directly via the church websites as well as via the link you receive with this eBulletin.

What else is available this week?

In the Diocese:

Portsmouth Cathedral will be live streaming services as follows:

  • 8:00am – Holy Communion Book of Common Prayer
  • 11:00am – Sung Eucharist (with choir)
  • 5:30pm – Choral Evensong

Details of all these services can be found on the Cathedral website:

National Church:

A national Church of England service continues to be available at 9am every Sunday. This week Cathy Ross and Jonny Baker from the Church Mission Society will lead the service service of prayer, music and reflection as they explore ‘the other side of the lake’. More information, a downloadable order of service and details of the recorded version can be found online at:

Daily Hope – ‘church at the end of the phone’

The Church of England’s Daily Hope line, a free 24-hour national telephone line, offering music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services is  well worth recommending to those without internet access. The phone number is: 0800 804 8044


Songs of Praise (BBC 1 Sunday 1.15pm) To celebrate Father’s Day, Aled Jones meets inspiring fathers, including the rap artist Guvna B.


Sunday Worship (Radio 4; 8.10am) In St Columba’s 1500th anniversary year John Bell reflects on Psalm 23 to trace the growth of Christianity in Scotland.

Choral Evensong (Radio 3; 3pm) will be a repeat of this week’s service from King’s College, Cambridge.

With the assurance of our constant prayers for you all, from Jane, Ruth and Juliet.


If you would like to print the letter above for yourself or somebody else who does not have access to the internet, please click on the button.

The Third Sunday After Trinity

Spiritual Communion

A service of Spiritual Communion for use during the coronavirus pandemic

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.