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 28th February 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.

First of all…

Meet the Bishop who’ll be looking after the Diocese temporarily until a new Bishop of Portsmouth is appointed
The Rt Revd Rob Wickham, Area Bishop of Edmonton, our Commissary Bishop 

Portsmouth Diocese doesn’t have a suffragan bishop, so it’s necessary to appoint a ‘commissary bishop’ from another place to look after us in the gap between Bishop Christopher leaving us and the appointment of a new Bishop of Portsmouth. It was announced yesterday that the Rt Revd Rob Wickham, Area Bishop of Edmonton, is to be our Commissary Bishop during the vacancy-in-see.  His principal responsibilities will relate to governance, such as chairing Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council meetings, issuing licences and offering episcopal liturgical ministry with the support of the honorary assistant bishops. The day-to-day life of the diocese will be overseen by the archdeacons, working closely with the diocesan secretary and other lay and ordained colleagues.

Bishop Christopher said: ‘I am personally delighted that Bishop Rob, whom I have known since he was a curate, has generously accepted these responsibilities in addition to his own. He will bring to this part-time role his substantial experience of parish ministry and church growth across a range of different contexts and styles of worship.’  And Bishop Rob said: ‘I am delighted to accept this interim role of Commissary Bishop for Portsmouth, alongside the privilege of being the Bishop of Edmonton. Having served in the Diocese of London since ordination as a deacon, I am now looking forward to spending some time, listening, loving and learning in a different part of God’s kingdom.’

To read more about Bishop Rob, click here.  Every Wednesday at 8am, one of our clergy or lay people will share a video prayer for our new bishop and the appointment process. You can find it on the diocese’s Youtube, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram channels.

The Vacancy-in-See committee are keen to hear from as wide a range of people as possible as they work together to identify the needs and the skills we’d like to see in the next Bishop of Portsmouth. They’d really appreciate your filling in the short survey available here by March 10. The responses will be collated to help the committee’s work.

Last week, Bishop Christopher chaired a series of meetings at which the area deans from each of the diocese’s six deaneries presented ideas as to what mission and ministry could like locally within the next five years.  You can watch the video in which Bishop Christopher introduces the Vision for the diocese here or read the main points of the Vision here. Those tasked with the responsibility of exploring the deaneries’ ideas and beginning to form them into a diocesan-wide strategy are already hard at work

A really helpful FAQ feature is available on the Live Pray Serve pages of the diocesan website: some of the questions that you might have can be found here.  Key to our own input to the discussions have been Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee members Sabrina Gwynn (St Nicholas, Wickham) and Trina Hillier (St John the Baptist, Shedfield).

Shedfield Lent Lecture Series 2021

The Zoom webinar format worked wonderfully well as the platform for this year’s Shedfield Lent Lectures series, with well over 100 viewers. The Rt Revd Dr Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford, drew on his experience as one of the lead epidemiologists involved in the Ebola crisis in sharing his perspective on the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the overwhelming response from participants was ‘I hadn’t realised how lucky we are in the UK to have such straightforward access to health care and the vaccine: how can I help?’  A good start is to visit to find out more about the international COVAX programme and how to support it. UNICEF, along with other aid agencies including Christian Aid, is working to ensure that countries worldwide have equitable access to 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.

The second lecture in the series will be on Monday at 7.30pm, when Canon Will Hughes, acting Archdeacon of the Meon, explores a perspective on the pandemic that’s closer to home:

‘Pandemic and parish’. Details and booking here.

Canon Will Hughes, Acting Archdeacon of the Meon, Rector of Petersfield and Vicar of Buriton – Monday’s speaker in the Lent Lecture series

For further details, click here or email the Rev Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley here.  Future lectures are:

  • Mon 8 March, 7:30pm: Professor Maggie Rae, UK Faculty of Public Health: ‘Covid 19: – an unfair virus’. Details and booking here.
  • Mon 15 March, 7.30pm: The Very Rev Nick Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury: ‘Crisis in the city: a cathedral’s response’. Details and booking here.
  • Mon 22 March, 7:30pm: Dawn Champion, British Pilgrimage Trust: ‘Moving on: pilgrimage through the pandemic’. Details and booking here.

Please be reassured that the booking process and the webinars themselves are very straightforward to access – and you don’t appear on screen yourself: only the main speakers will be seen!

Also available for Lent 2021…


United Benefice of Shedfield and Wickham: Lent Course 2021

‘Who do you say I am?’

The Easter story through the eyes of those who were there

Each session of this six-week course features a selection of Bible readings, reflections, poetry and art, inviting us to think and talk about one of the characters in the story.  Each has a different way of answering the question, ‘Who do you say I am?’ and the first session was spent in the company of Peter, asking ourselves another question: ‘What’s in a name?’

Revd Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley, creator of the course, says, ‘I’m conscious that the idea of a Lent course will generate very different feelings in people; some of you will relish the idea of getting together (even if it can only be on Zoom) to discuss the material, but I am aware that others will prefer just to think about this on their own.  This course will work for everyone.’

The second session will be hosted by Stephen Campion and Jane, be hosting an via Zoom on Wednesday 3rd March at 2.30pm–3.30pm.  For the Zoom link please get in touch with Revd Ruth.

Other sessions to look forward to:

10th March “I’m scared of him” : Caiaphas
17th March “Why should I know him?” : Pilate
24th March “I don’t know how to love him” : Mary Magdalene
31st March “I know this man!” : Judas

Of course, you might prefer to arrange your own Zoom Lent Group at a time that is more suitable time for you, or you might take the opportunity to study the material on your own.  Do let Revd Ruth know if you would like to receive a copy of the course by email or a printed version.

Revd Dr Ruth Howlett-Shipley

01329 280 905

Covid-19 and church opening: an update









Crocuses in Shedfield churchyard and snowdrops in Wickham: thank you to Deborah Casper and John Farrow for sharing these Spring-is-on-the-way photos!

For the time being, St Nicholas, Wickham and St John the Baptist, Shedfield remain closed for private prayer during the week and for public worship on Sundays.  The roadmap out of lockdown, announced by the Prime Minister on Monday, doesn’t seem to involve any immediate change to the guidance about church activities. The full government document is here, including the dates on which it’s hoped to ease restrictions. Please note: these are ‘aspirational’ dates, so the loosening of restrictions will not happen earlier and might be delayed further if need be.

The national C of E is considering its guidance in the light of this roadmap. Until it is revised, the current lockdown guidance still applies, including:

The ministry team and churchwardens are continuing to review the situation in the light of national Church of England, diocesan and Government guidance.  At the moment, it’s our anticipation (but please note, anticipation!) that our churches will be open for services on Mothering Sunday, after which we hope to resume the well-received pattern of 10.00am Sunday worship alternating between churches.  For the time being, social distancing and Covid-aware protocols must remain in place.

Being Church at Home services continue every week, accessible online or in easy-to-print-out  format, along with this weekly eBulletin (which will include details of some of the many 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 suggest to those who might be interested that they get in touch with Jane, Ruth or Adrian.

This Sunday’s services

This week’s Being Church at Home To share in worship for the Second Sunday of Lent, go to Revd Ruth’s traditional morning prayer service.   BCAH Sunday service, prepared by Jane, features St David, Dewi Sant, and has a Celtic feel running through it, along with some favourite Welsh hymns. And a passing reference to rugby, needless to say!

Also available via the Being Church at Home pages on the church websites is Ruth’s Prayer During the Day.  Please do 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 Sunday?

Portsmouth Cathedral livestreams three services every Sunday: Book of Common Prayer communion at 8.00am; sung eucharist (with choir) at 11.00am; choral evensong at 5.30pm. Join Portsmouth Cathedral’s live-streamed Sunday services at

A national Church of England service continues to be available at 9.00am every Sunday.  This week’s live-streamed service for the Second Sunday of Lent is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, with contributions from the Revd Dr Hannah Steele (Tutor and lecturer in Theology at St Mellitus College, London, and the Very Revd Stephen Hance, Dean of Derby and the Church of England’s National Lead for Evangelism and Witness.
More information, a downloadable order of service and details of the recorded version to be made available during the week can be found at:

The Church of England’s General Synod meets this week online. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury leads this Sunday’s national CofE worship

This week’s TV and radio highlights

Songs of Praise for St David’s Day, from Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire, (Sunday at 1.15pm, BBC2 and also on iPlayer)

Lent Talks: in the second of this Radio 4 series, Sir John Timpson reflects on what he has learned through his work with former prisoners and as a foster carer (Wednesday at 8.45pm and on BBC Sounds)

Ask for ANI

The Government has announced the Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) codeword scheme to enable those affected by domestic abuse to access immediate help from the police and other support services from the safety of their Boots’ pharmacy.  The ANI scheme has been launched in response to the huge surge in domestic abuse throughout the coronavirus crisis.  All of the 66 Boots stores across Hampshire are on board. Anyone in need of help can now go into a participating store and ask for ‘Ani’ (pronounced ‘Annie’), where they will be taken into a private room and put in touch with the appropriate support services.

And finally… with St David’s day on Monday:

All together now…

Make a crochet daffodil!  You’ll have a whole bunch-ful by Monday!

Free Crochet Daffodil Pattern – Gathered









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

Third Sunday of Lent

Prayer During the Day

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.