Chaplain Writes

Anglican Church Twente

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St.Mary's of Weldam


Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Europe

The next limited public service will be Sunday at 10:30 hrs . . . . . be aware that limited space is available, currently 30 persons . . . . If you want to attend a service please pre-book with Jeanet Luiten (see contact page) . . . . Sunday Services in the English Language - Weldam Chapel - 10:30 hrs are also available as a video / audo recording later on the day . . . . Information regarding our upcoming Chaplain vacancy you may find on the News Events Page . . . . . . . . .

The Chaplain writes

Dear Friends,


It hardly seems possible that the summer is almost over and we are tumbling
headlong into autumn, with the spectre of winter hard on it’s heels. The fact is,
however, that each season brings its natural challenges and joys, and, perhaps, how
we view them is of greatest primary importance. Our hopes and dreams, too, and our
response to seasonal circumstance, are shaped and coloured by our previous
experiences and optimism. This is true of life in all its aspects, for all of us, I
suspect.


There is a time for wringing our hands and shaking our heads as we despair at what
we, not unnaturally, perceive as the “Change and decay,” which, “in all around I see,”
yet, we do find our comfort in that He, “who changeth not”, continues to “abide with
me”. There is a time, then, for confidence and optimism.


In my Chaplain’s Report for the AGM, delayed because of Covid 19 and to be held this
month, I noted the widespread consensus that we are beset by challenges our
generation has never faced, and our material world is threatened as never before.
There is political turmoil and national and international friction and distrust on what
seems a new scale. There is, however, a satisfying and affirmative response, already
ours, requiring that we simply press the ‘refresh’ button!


As Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing motivated by selfish ambition or
conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves”. In a
nutshell, he suggests we embrace the mind of Christ, who left his heavenly comfort
to die and to liberate even those who refuse his friendship.


So how is such love possible since, for humanity at large, there is pretty substantial
evidence that we are by nature selfish? Who, by nature, accepts others as more
significant than self, and welcomes the costs of love? Our addiction to the hunger
for praise and riches and personal comfort and safety, is hard to break.


Finding our ultimate purpose in life is how we free ourselves from these things, and
we believe we have the answer to our search. In what we learn through Jesus and his
profound Gospel of radical inclusive loving, we come to know the actuality and
authenticity of all pervading contentment. Our freedom from self-exultation makes
us glad to welcome the costs of love and reveals the wonder of our ultimate purpose.


This ‘purpose’ is enjoying these treasures we have and that we recognise in our faith,
without losing sight of it in the greedy battle to have more than we will ever need, at
the expense of others.


God bless you all.


Love, as always, Brian


 

INFECTIOUS ILLNESS AND THE CHALICE (February 2020).

 

6 March 2020

 

To the Clergy of the Diocese

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers 


We wrote to you at the beginning of February regarding good practice concerning coronavirus and control of infectious diseases in general. We want now to update our advice in the light of changing circumstances over the past month.

The Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:


https://www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus

 

We have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of our congregations and in the light of medical advice we have received. We preface this advice by re-iterating that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Our advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies. 

  1. We encourage individuals and congregations to follow good hygiene practices, including:
    a.Carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tiss
    b. Washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser to kill germs.

  2. If possible provide hand gel at entrances and ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms and kitchens. In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based sanitiser. Sidespeople/welcomers and those serving refreshments should take similar precautions.

  3. Try to clean hard surfaces such as door handles and communion rails regularly.

  4. The exchange of a gesture of peace prior to sharing Communion is for many, a much-loved moment in the service. However, we recommend that, for the time being, this gesture is restricted to a smile and words of peace to those in closest proximity rather than physical contact (kiss or handshake) with everyone in the church.

  5.  We recommend that communion is distributed in the form of bread/wafer only. Both elements will be consecrated but the wine should not be distributed. Congregations can be reassured that this does not diminish the nature of the Eucharist. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements. (We are aware that distribution of the elements in one kind only has already been adopted by some chaplaincies.)

  6. We recommend that the use of holy water stoups is discontinued for the time being.

  7. a) In some regions, most notably parts of Italy, the authorities have disallowed religious gatherings. These rulings have to be obeyed. However, in these circumstances we encourage congregations to stay in touch with each other, to look out for older and vulnerable parishioners and to find imaginative ways of sustaining worship. (See, for example, the ‘Virtual Eucharist in Genoa’ https://europe.anglican.org/main/latest-news/post/1548-virtual-eucharist-in-genoa.)

  1. b) The Swiss authorities have introduced a regulation requiring members of congregations to ‘sign in’, so that possible spread of the disease can be traced. It is possible that other countries may follow suit, and these regulations must be respected.

 

Infectious diseases seem to cause higher levels of public anxiety than other threats, perhaps because we can’t see them or sense them. And although social media can satisfy our desire for information they have the capacity to fuel anxiety. Avoiding panic is a key part of responding to coronavirus for all of us in positions of leadership.

This guidance is intended as a prudent response to an unusual challenge. It represents a set of sensible precautions to promote health and wellbeing in the conditions of our diocese.

We will keep in touch with you as the situation develops and plan to write again in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions do contact us or your Archdeacon or our Chief Operating Officer.  We will continue to monitor the situation and guidance closely.  At the same time, our Diocesan website will continue to carry the latest updates from official sources – national governments, WHO and EU – so please keep an eye on this also.

Meanwhile, we pray that our chaplaincies and congregations can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope in times of anxiety. We continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for those who care for them, and for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.


Yours in Christ   


Was signed Robert and David