Switch how you donate at Whitkirk

Dear friend,

These are trying days in the life of our nation. At the beginning of the year, while we might have known of the outbreak of a new illness through the news, we probably pushed it to the back of our minds. Few could have imagined what impact it would have for as we all know, it has changed so many aspects of our life. St. Mary’s, as you know, has not been unaffected and last Sunday morning via the internet I led a service from a church now closed to the public for worship. Next Sunday, I may be broadcasting from the Vicarage! Yet the life of the Church here and around the diocese goes on. We have to find new ways to minister and manage our parish.

One aspect of this management is the impact on our cash flow at this time. As one of our regular givers, I appreciate how much you do to support the Church through our envelope scheme. However, opportunities for giving in this way are now minimal. Therefore I ask if you might consider changing the way you give, at least for the time this pandemic is with us.

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The Church continues to be alive and active, but our buildings must close

We are seeing a huge increase in the number of people falling sick with COVID-19. We must distance ourselves from one another and prevent the spread of infection in order to save lives.

Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk and all church buildings in the Church of England are now closed for all services and prayer.

Our worship of God and our care for each other continue but cannot be done in the church building.

Our website contains details of how to join others online for prayer, worship, study, and community life.

The vicar can be contacted in an emergency by telephoning 0113 264 5790 or emailing [email protected]. Churchwardens may be contacted in an emergency on 07929 127190 or 07554 442788, or by emailing [email protected].

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.

Whitkirk goes live with service during coronavirus pandemic

Since the suspension of public worship by the Church of England earlier in the week, a small group at St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk have worked tirelessly to make sure the sense of community felt on a Sunday morning wasn’t lost. They did this by rolling out a live-streamed service to the entire parish and beyond, overcoming the challenges of broadcasting from an ancient church.

Vicar Matthew Peat prepared a service of the Word which followed many of the beats of the traditional Sunday morning eucharist, and with only five people in the church (all following strict hygiene and physical distancing measures) it provided four hymns, a sermon, two readings and intercessions.

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What we’re doing during the coronavirus outbreak

Download this latest update as a PDF

This week has been both turbulent and challenging, with many fast-changing pieces of advice and with many people suddenly finding themselves doing new things outside of their comfort zone.

The team here at St Mary’s have been busy putting together a clear explanation of what we’re doing over the coming weeks and months, which you can find below.

We hope that this answers most of your questions regarding what is happening at Whitkirk. If you have others then please don’t hesitate to ask us. We can’t promise to have the answer, but we can promise you that we are doing everything we can to continue our work and to support everyone in our congregation and beyond.

With our love and prayers,

— The Coronavirus Management Team

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Update on our response to the coronavirus pandemic

In light of the recent advice from Public Health England around social meetings, we have taken the decision to cancel our planned Wednesday morning Eucharist service this week, on the 18 March.

We are working closely with the Diocese of Leeds and constantly reviewing official advice, and will be posting a further update on all our services and meetings as soon as the immediate situation has been clarified. In the meantime we continue to recommend people follow the advice around avoiding unnecessary travel or contact with others, and to self-isolate if they or others in their household are suffering from the symptoms of coronavirus.

We know that this may be a difficult or worrying time for many, and we want to reassure you that everyone at St Mary’s is dedicated to supporting the whole community in any way that we can. If you or anyone else you know would like to talk to us about anything – even if it’s just to say hello – please get in touch.

You can always find the latest information on our response to coronavirus on our website at whitkirkchurch.org.uk/coronavirus.

Managing Coronavirus (COVID-19) at St. Mary’s Church, Whitkirk

Dear friends,

As you all know the last few days have seen a significant increase in England of those being diagnosed with Coronavirus.

Our Bishop, Nick, wrote to all the clergy of the diocese on Monday both to advise us of the seriousness of the situation and what we might do as churches to limit its impact.

Therefore, having discussed the matter with the Standing Committee of our PCC we have agreed to take the following steps based on the current advice being issued.

  • Place (when available) alcohol hand wash at the entrance to the church, on the credence table and in the sacristy
  • Refrain from sharing ‘a sign of peace’ with a handshake
  • Refrain from intinction (or dipping) the wafer into the wine

At present the common cup has not been suspended therefore it is possible to receive the sacrament in both kinds. However, those who prefer may just receive communion in one kind.

Whilst this may seem an overly cautious response, we need to take seriously the advice we have been given and act accordingly.

I hope that you will understand the need to take this course of action.

With love and prayers,

— Matthew Peat, Vicar

Life-saving AED now available at Whitkirk

St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk is pleased to share the news that they have recently installed an automated external defibrillator at St Mary’s Church Whitkirk Community Centre. This life-saving equipment is now available to the local community 24/7, and in an emergency can be accessed quickly with a 999 call.

Sudden cardiac arrest can strike at any time. Having an AED available within three minutes – when combined with CPR – can buy essential time for the emergency services to arrive and bring the chances of survival from 6% to over 70%.

Members of the public wishing to help cover the cost of the ongoing maintenance of this vital equipment should visit whitkirkchurch.org.uk/donate to find out more.

Anybody suspecting a cardiac arrest should always call 999 before anything else, where the ambulance service can share the code needed to access the AED.

Statement from the Vicar and Churchwardens regarding Leave.EU’s Church Bells campaign

Leave.EU, an influential campaign group in the Brexit debate, has called for churches across the nation to ring bells on 1st February 2020 to mark the UK’s departure from the European Union.(1)https://leave.eu/let-the-bells-ring-for-brexit/

St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk is a vibrant and diverse parish. Many of our congregation are politically active, and within our parish are people who campaigned passionately both to leave the EU and to remain. In the 2016 Referendum the city of Leeds voted to Remain, but only by a very slim majority of 50.3% vs. 49.7% to Leave.(2)EU Referendum: Narrow Remain vote in Leeds’, BBC News 24 June 2016 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36616673)  The UK’s exit from the EU is therefore a very divisive matter within our parish.

Our mission statement is to be a place “where all find a welcome and are nurtured in their journey with Christ”. We seek to ensure that all that we do is for the Glory of God and the benefit of all people. Whilst we are neutral on the matter of Brexit and respect the result of the Referendum, ringing our bells on 1st February would go against our universal welcome and be unnecessarily divisive.

We are also currently in the process of restoring our bells to full working order, and consequently parts of the ringing mechanism have been removed from site. As a result, the bells physically cannot currently be rung.

Therefore, the bells of St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk will remain silent on 1st February 2020.

— Matthew Peat, Vicar

— James Black, Churchwarden

— David Scholey, Churchwarden

References   [ + ]

1. https://leave.eu/let-the-bells-ring-for-brexit/
2. EU Referendum: Narrow Remain vote in Leeds’, BBC News 24 June 2016 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36616673)