Today, 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk
Come join us on Yorkshire Day to learn more about our three bells and the art of bell ringing, and even have the opportunity to climb our tower and give it a go yourself!
Today, 6.00 pm St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk
A service of Choral Evensong to end the day, featuring music written by composers born in Yorkshire.
After-service refreshments are back!
We’re delighted to once again invite you to join us after the service for refreshments in our Community Centre.
For the time being we ask you to wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) whilst moving around the building, and to please stay seated whilst enjoying your drinks.
Worshipping in person
You no longer need to book in advance to attend any of our services, although we are keeping some other restrictions in place. We ask that you wear a face covering (unless exempt) whilst worshipping with us, and be mindful of people who may wish to keep some extra space between themselves and others.
As always, we are keeping a close eye on things such as infection rates, and may make other changes to our rules in the future.
We hope to see you again in person soon, but if you can’t make it or if you don’t feel comfortable we will continue to stream all our services live on our website and YouTube channel, as well as making them available to listen to later by phone or podcast.
A pretty quiet week, perhaps surprisingly given that this week saw a huge change in Coronavirus regulations.
Moving microphones. Again.
We shifted our choir microphones forwards, to pick up our newly expanded cohort of singers. Picking up and distinguishing the many sources of sound in our building can be tricky, so we’re constantly reviewing how all our microphone arrangements work.
We’ve got a couple of Raspberry Pi miniature computers which are perfect for this kind of thing, so we installed some software called VLC on one, which can connect to the video streams from the cameras.
On the day this will be on a much larger screen, but everything in testing worked exactly as planned.
As you know, the government lifted pandemic restrictions from 19 July. Whilst welcomed by many, this has also caused apprehension for many others. Emergence was always going to prove challenging as responsibility would shift from edict to local choice.
It is evident from communication I and my colleagues are getting that there is anxiety around about our current uncertainties and where responsibility lies for elements of responding to the relaxation of these pandemic restrictions. This focuses particularly where there is a dispute between those who wish to “go back to normal now” and those who are more cautious amid the ongoing risks and uncertainties ahead.
Responsibility for decisions about local arrangements will fall on the incumbent and PCC. We urge you to move slowly, step by step, being careful to love your neighbour and seek to protect the vulnerable. In particular, we urge that you continue to receive Communion as we have done for the last eighteen months while we monitor change and public health risk. It is not clear that we are on an ever-rising trajectory to ‘freedom’; people on all sides of the political divides are worried about further restrictions or lockdowns in the autumn and winter, and that will be harder to manage than taking it slowly now.
In his letter to the church in Philippi Paul urges his readers to “look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others” (2:4). This means possibly sacrificing our own ‘rights’ on the altar of other people’s needs.
Please consider also the particular pressures upon clergy and lay leaders at this time as they seek to do what is right and (pastorally) best for all. Uncertainty is always difficult to navigate; we need to hold together as we do it.
Your bishops and their colleagues pray for you. Your archdeacons and area deans are ready to support you in your decision making. But, in all things be patient, kind and generous as we seek to be faithful to Christ and to one another in the months ahead.
In Christ who set our pattern.
The bishops of Leeds, Kirkstall, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Ripon and Bradford
This week we’ve mostly been up in the tower. As we mentioned last week, we’ve been getting things in shape for the YACR Open Day on 1 August. Buckle up, this is a long weeknote.
Let’s talk about the tower
Most people have never seen the inside of our tower. From the outside, it’s quite difficult to imagine what’s up there. Even when you’re inside, from the staircase it can be difficult to figure out exactly which floor you’re on. Fortunately, in one of our history booklets, there’s a lovely line drawing that can help people picture things.
The ground floor is pretty boring, full of cupboards with things like gas meters and electrical distribution panels. On the first floor, our organ. The second floor is what’s known as the “ringing room”, and this is one of the two places we’ve been busy. The third floor is known as the “clock room”, and holds the mechanism which drives our church clock. Up on the fourth floor is the belfry, holding our three bells. Finally, the roof.
Getting between all these floors involves a pretty narrow staircase and in some cases an unexpectedly large step. As you get higher these steps are also very uneven, and occasionally not lit as well as they could be, so climbing past the first couple of floors without a reason is generally discouraged.
Fortunately – or perhaps, unfortunately depending on your point of view – the tech team have been tasked with making sure people can see what’s up the tower without making the climb themselves. So, without further ado, here’s what we’ve been up to.
This week has mostly been spent up the church’s tower, moving equipment and planning for upcoming events.
In readiness for the YACR Open Day, we’ve been up the tower to plan ways to get video from our belfry and ringing room to other places in the building. We’ll have a full write-up of this when we’ve installed it, but we’re having to install some temporary power, lighting, networking and screens in various places, with plenty of climbing up and down a narrow spiral staircase.
Moving the wireless bridge. Again.
Although we moved our wireless bridge in April, we were never quite happy with its positioning. The signal was great, but it was potentially in the way for people climbing to our belfry. With an open day coming up where more people would be using this space, and with plants to regularly ring the bells, we decided to move it again.
The new location keeps the improved signal quality (and even improves it very slightly), but means that both the wireless bridge and the cabling are now well out of the way. The only downside is that if you know where to look you can now see the bridge from the outside of the building.
Offsetting our carbon
Our Energy Footprint Report highlighted that we could do better with offsetting our emissions, so along with the Church as a whole looking at offsetting our day-to-day usage the Tech Team are trying to offset all our equipment purchases. Because we’ve bought some new equipment for the YACR Open Day, we’ve offset our emissions and planted some more trees.
Because we also like clever uses of technology, our Green Whitkirk page also automatically updates the number of trees we’ve planted and the amount of carbon we’ve offset.
Debugging some software problems
We’re currently experiencing a problem with the software controller for our video mixer, which means we can’t easily access some of the features we normally use. We’re still in the process of getting to the bottom of this.