St. Stephen's Church

Bideford Way, Cannock, Staffs. WS11 1QD

Saturday 1st August

Church Buildings – thinking about re-opening...

Local Churches may be starting to think about planning to re-open Church buildings. Do please consult together with your minister and with me as Superintendent as I am required to sign-off your completed risk assessments.

In the interlude between The Revd Edward Sakwe leaving us and The Revd Chris Ambler starting work (1st September) the Superintendent will assist with the re-opening if requested for Bethel, Chadsmoor, Florence Street, Mill Street, St Stephen's and Trinity Hednesford LEP; and Deacon Sue Culver will assist with re-openong if requested for Featherstone, Great Wyrley, Penkridge, Salme and Upper Landywood.

There will be no Circuit Plan until the December 2020 Quarter when interim informal arrangements (including Zoom Services) will start to be brought together and co-ordinated as a whole.

Safety is paramount and Church and HM Government guidance must be followed assiduously. The latest protocols and resources to help us as Church Councils work through these decisions are to be found as follows:

Methodist Church COVID-19 Guidance

Please note the Guidance for Property page on the Methodist Church website.

This page is being updated regularly. There are guidance documents for just about every aspect of church life including
Other community users of the church building;
Pastoral visits;
Children's worship;
Holy Communion;
Open air worship;
Face covering;
House groups and small gatherings;
Weddings;
Guide for shops;
Guide for cafes;
Cleaning churches during Covid-19.

It is also worth noting that there is a dedicated page on the CPO website for those who wish to purchase PPE with a 15% discount.

Saturday 25th July

Church Buildings – thinking about re-opening...

Local Churches may be starting to think about planning to re-open Church buildings. Do please consult together with your minister and with me as Superintendent as I am required to sign-off your completed risk assessments.

Safety is paramount and Church and HM Government guidance must be followed assiduously. The latest protocols and resources to help us as Church Councils work through these decisions are to be found as follows:

Saturday 18th July

Next Sunday afternoon - 26th July - we will bid farewell to Edward.
Plans have been made so that members of the churches under Edward’s care can meet him. If you need to know more about this contact your church stewards. The service on Sunday will be hosted on Zoom at 4pm. The Zoom meeting ID is 853 2207 7440 and you can get on through an internet browser using this link. You can also phone by dialling 0203 051 2874. There will be an automated answer service provided by Zoom and be prepared to tap in the meeting ID. The phone call will not be free and the whole service will take about 90 minutes, so beware if you don’t have a weekend call plan.

There is a national initiative to pray for 20 minutes at 20:20 on the 20th of each month throughout 2020. This is called Prayer 2020 and more information can be found here.. Anyone is welcome to join in with this. It is July 20th on Monday so this is happening on Monday evening. This is being promoted by Melody Jones and you can her at layworkerMelody@hotmail.com.

One of the things requested by churches in recent circuit meetings is time-limited bible study groups, so you might look at a particular book or subject for a few weeks and then move on to the next, like a Lent or Advent course. This suits many people as they can sign up for a specific length of time, rather than feeling committed forever. I guess it is like signing up at college for a night school course. Graham and Karen Lowther are going to run The Bible Course which has been prepared by The Bible Society. This will run for 8 weeks starting on Thursday 23rd July at 7pm. Each week will last between 60 and 90 mins and comprise of a couple of videos and some discussion questions. This is a fantastic course which has already been run in Penkridge. It covers the whole Bible (in 8 weeks!) and teaches you how everything points to Jesus, so you will take collection of books each week, starting at Genesis, and look at the points to Jesus. It is a fabulous course and will be ideal for long committed Christians who know their bible as well as folk trying to fathom Christianity.
So contact Graham Lowther on g59lowther@gmail.com for more details.
The Bible Society have a promotional video for the course here and has links for reviews and more information. Indeed the videos for week 1 can be found at here so you can have a sneak preview.

Happy 165th Birthday Salem
Salem was 165 years old last week (Happy Birthday to you!) and Keith Rothery and Mark Timothy had a short conversation about Salem’s history which we recorded and posted on YouTube here. It is only about 10 minutes long and worth a look.

Saturday 11th July

HOLIDAY CLUB with a difference (27-31 July).

Some weeks ago we had to acknowledge that it would not be possible to hold our traditional Holiday Club at St Stephen's this year. However, Berkswich Church in Stafford have come up with an online version of Holiday Club and they have kindly invited us to join them. We will be sending out invitations to all our previous Holiday Clubbers in the next week. If you know of any other children who might like to join in, please let Roger know and we will add them to the list. On the plus side you can now invite children who might live further afield and they can still be part of it via the magic of the internet. Of course it will not be the same as welcoming a hall full of excited children (and adults) into our Church, but this year we have to be dare to be different.
It should be great fun and if you want a quick taster, click here.

CHURCH COUNCIL.
There will be an online Zoom meeting of Church Council on 30th July at 7pm.

You can view the full circuit newsletter for this week in this pdf file .

News from Revd Nigel 5th July

I’m on holiday 6th – 22nd July so the next ‘Lock-down Letter’ from me will be for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 26th July. Please do access other worship and devotional resources featured on the Methodist Church - and various Local Church – websites, Facebook pages and YouTube channels. Thanks to all who have contributed to the planning, making and distribution of worship services in our Circuit.

The Government has already announced that Places of Worship may re-open from 4th July 2020 for services. The Connexional Property Team is working on what Managing Trustees will need to consider if they may be asking to re-opening buildings and the Methodist Church website will be updated accordingly.

Given that COVID-19 is a continuing threat to our safety - especially for gatherings in enclosed spaces - I am personally very wary of re-opening Church buildings too swiftly following the relaxation of Government restrictions. If Local Churches are thinking of requesting to open for private prayer or services under controlled conditions, they would need to give thought to who is going to be responsible for opening & closing up and who is going to do all the cleaning (all Churches have had the property checklist / cleaning things to do) and putting into place a system that means there are not too many people in the Church building at one time. Of course, these will need to be people who are under seventy years of age and those who are not categorised as "vulnerable"

In the meantime you can see the updates on what steps Managing Trustees (Church Councils) will need to take when considering whether to open church buildings here.

Safeguarding considerations during the pandemic can be viewed here.

News from Cannock Chase Circuit 5th July

Once again just as a reminder, keep Sunday afternoon 26th July free as we will bid farewell to Edward. The plans are pretty loose at the moment, but it seems possible that Edward will socially-meet members of his churches in the various car parks in the early afternoon. This will obviously be a challenge but one we can rise to. There will be a service at 4pm using Zoom that we can all logon to where hopefully we can all come together.

Don’t forget that there is Messy Church on Zoom each Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 for about an hour. A couple of questions. Do you want your children and grand-children to have some Christian input? And are they looking for something to do on a Wednesday afternoon? Melody Jones leads a Messy Church on a Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 for about an hour. Contact Melody Jones at layworkerMelody@hotmail.com to get more information. I think that this is a really good thing and worthwhile getting involved … and it’s fun.

The Stafford Methodist Circuit are doing a holiday club this year for children 5-11 starting on Monday 27th July and going through to Friday 31st July. Now this is going to be on YouTube and it may be that children younger and older will enjoy it. It will comprise about an hour’s “show” each day with crafts, stories, drama, jokes all aligned along a biblical and jungle theme. The team doing this are very experienced and everyone has a fab time. For more information contact Hilary Reynolds at hilaryr54@hotmail.com. It should be great fun and if you want a quick taster, click here.

We have finally got our own circuit website where you can go to quickly find information. You can find it at https://www.cannockchasemethodists.org.uk
Drop Mark Timothy an email at mark.timothy1@virginmedia.com with thoughts and comments.

You might have seen Penkridge Methodist Church in the news this week as it worked with the Round Table in Penkridge, to gather food for their foodbank. I visited on Wednesday and the organisation, range and amount of food is magnificent. They are working closely with other foodbanks in the area to ensure that no one who needs help goes without. Big Thank You to Sue and the volunteers at Penkridge for making this happen. As economic recession hits and health concerns still remain, such foodbanks are essential and give us an opportunity to serve our communities.

We notice that the government are to allow churches to open in a very restricted format, and we are all too aware that many of our congregations are in the 70+ age bracket. No decision will be made nationally by the Methodist Church on re-opening the churches before the end of the conference on July 2nd. In Cannock Chase, there is some casual chatter about how this might happen but nothing official and we have made no firm plans yet on opening the churches in the foreseeable future. Therefore, just at the moment we will remain closed. You will receive a lot of notice before we open the churches and we will do that only when it is safe to do so. This is obviously changing by the day as we write this but we will keep you in touch with developments as and when we know them.

So lots of things going on and sorry that this is so long. If you have any news that you think I should circulate then let me know as it is really great to know what is happening across our circuit. mark.timothy1@virginmedia.com

You can view the full circuit newsletter for this week in this pdf file .

News from Cannock Chase Circuit 28th June.

There is a new circuit website where you can find out about all the churches in the Cannock Chase Circuit.

Circuit Website

Please also see our special Lockdown page.
and Revd Nigel is sharing thoughts and prayers .

This week we have a news sheet from the circuit.

Please note that the links in the following notices will not be "clickable". If you open

On Sunday 8th December we made Christingles to celebrate Jesus as Light to the World. (Thanks to Martin for the pictures.).On Sunday afternoon about 60 people gathered together to say "Thank you, Mr Taylor" and to mark the end of Junior Guild after 60 years. Many memories were shared and a good time was had by all. (Thanks to Karyn for the pictures.)

What a busy start to Advent! On Saturday the Gospel Choir hosted a Candlelit Christmas Afternoon Tea. On Sunday morning the Junior Gospel Choir decorated our Christmas tree. (Thanks to Sue and Martin for pictures)

On Sunday 10th November we held a Parade Service for Remembrance Day.

On Sunday 20th October we celebrated Val's 25 years of service to the Day Centre.

Over the weekend 21/22 September we celebrated all that God provides for us with Harvest services and the Gospel Choir's Harvest Afternoon Tea.

Last Week's Notices