Re-opening our Church –
An up-date 3rd June 2020
The Standing Committee held a Zoom meeting on Monday to talk about the practicalities of opening Los Boliches for a service for Council members during his week. We thought it would be prudent to have a sort of ‘trial run’ to see how things would work, as we followed the rules and regs for opening - but more importantly, it would give us the opportunity to meet and worship together and to pray for our Chaplaincy. I personally thought this would have been a very special moment for everyone, especially those of us who value the gift of the Eucharist, after so many weeks of being denied that opportunity.
While we believe we can meet the rules and regs about cleaning and social distancing, but between the five of us, who make up the Standing Committee, there was a general feeling of un-ease about it all, followed by a feeling of great relief, as we came to our decision.
Which is a rather long way of saying that as a Standing Committee we believe this is the wrong time to re-open any of our churches for worship.
Our return will be emotional enough for most of us as it is, but seeing Church set out with rows of chairs missing to allow for social distancing, as I did on Monday, and then thinking about wearing gloves and masks, not being able to sing, not being able to give anyone a hug or even warm hand-shake (remembering that we are C/E and mostly from the UK!!) - this will be a very different church to what we are used to.
So, there will be no Sunday Services on the 7 June and re-opening is postponed until further notice.
The is all very disappointing and sad news indeed - but just before I started writing this, I read an email from one of our members of the Benalmadena email group, who said: "I’ve been out for coffee most days. Some bars are less careful about hygiene, so have been careful where we go.” I do not want anyone coming into one of our churches in the next few months to have to think - ‘is this safe’ - we have a duty of care to all - including ourselves.
As a Standing Committee, we are aware that this decision will disappoint some, but our decision does seem to have support from the majority of those who replied to the request for thoughts about re-opening, a couple of week’s back - which was to delay any form of re-opening. We are not alone in this decision. From conversations with colleagues, the majority of Chaplaincies along the Costas are also delaying re-opening of their churches at this time.
We will look to new ways of staying in touch with our congregations and continue to send out the Orders of Service, which from the number of emails and calls that we have received, have clearly been much appreciated.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding. Fr Nigel
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10th May 2020
A Zoom ‘Afternoon-tea’ gathering…
We are trying to organise a virtual afternoon tea gathering, using Zoom on Thursday 21 May. Details of the time and links will be available soon. If you are interested in joining us, please drop Fr Nigel an email by Tuesday 19 May at the latest, so the ‘invitation’ to join the gathering - which has all the necessary information from Zoom can be sent out. Look forward to seeing you then – email@example.com
6th May 2020
A small dedicated team who will pray for you or those you may be concerned about. It is done in complete confidence, and you will never be approached by a member of the Prayer Chain about your requests. Only first names are used and details are kept to a minimum. For information about the Prayer Chain please contact Mike or Wendy Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or have a word with Caroline or Fr Nigel.
To keep you posted….
2nd May 2020
I am sure that all of us have been keenly awaiting news about how we will be released from the lockdown restrictions. A simple reading of recent Government and Regional guidelines, plus the guidelines on good practice from our Bishops, makes it very clear that sadly we cannot resume our normal pattern of worship, probably for some time to come. I am sure this is not the news we would like to be hearing - but we have to stay safe.
Behind the scenes, members of the Standing Committee of the Chaplaincy Council have been meeting on Zoom to plan a sensible way forward to ensure pastoral care and liturgical material in various forms for our spiritual growth and well-being continues, in what is proving to be a really challenging time for all of us.
At our most recent meeting (Fri 1 May), we all felt that as we have a clear duty of care towards everyone who comes to our churches, things should not be rushed. There needs to be further consultation and advice, and we need to wait for instructions from FEREDE (the Government Agency that regulates non-Catholic Churches), before we can agree on a date for our first service.
It is also very clear that we will need your full support and co-operation when we do meet, so that we can comply to the law in order for our services to take place. I am confident that you will all gladly play your part when the time comes – but it will not be easy! The requirement of two-metre social distancing, for example, will be a real problem in some of our centres, let alone arranging for suitable cleaning of the churches before and after we meet. You would rightly expect nothing less from those who have the responsibility for these things!
We will let you know as soon as possible about what services we will be able to offer, which I am sure will be a great joy and blessing for us all. Fr Nigel
Supporting your Chaplaincy during this difficult time:
As the period of lock-down continues and looks set to be extended for a further period, there is now some concern about our Chaplaincy finances. Jen & John, our Churchwardens, would encourage those who are able, to consider making a bank transfer for their stewardship giving.
We are so grateful to all who have made recent offerings by bank transfers - these will help us enormously. They fully support Billy Dawson’s (our Stewardship Officer) suggestion that all who use the Stewardship envelopes can continue to put their stewardship in them and bring them along when we are next able to gather together. But as the period of lock-down is now far longer than anyone expected, whether we meet together or not, there are still monthly bills to meet and as time goes on, the chaplaincy’s finances will be more and more challenged, therefore, they suggest that perhaps now is time to consider supporting our ministry by using a bank transfer instead, either to our Spanish or UK accounts:
Account Name: Iglesias Anglicana De La Costa Del Sol Este
IBAN: ES39 2103 0194 6500 3001 0341
Please note these important changes to our UK account details:
Bank: Barclays Bank plc
Account name: Diocese in Europe Fund
Account number: 40317039
Sort code: 20-06-13
IBAN: GB16 BUKB 2006 1340 3170 39
Please include the reference: CdSEast
It is very important that you include the reference CdSEast – otherwise any offering may get lost in this account, which serves every Chaplaincy in the Diocese!
Thank you for your continued practical support. Fr Nigel
Pastoral Care in the Chaplaincy continues
Saturday 21st March 2020
Please be assured that while we may be unable to meet for worship or socially, pastoral care and concern is still very much part of our life together. Please make contact should you simply need a chat, prayerful support or just quiet reassurance at this difficult time. Our Reader, Caroline, and Churchwardens, John and Jen are also available:
Fr Nigel - 608 403 024 – email@example.com
Caroline - 697 867 377 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen - 622 252 074 - email@example.com
John – 655 342 874 - Jrbafc@aol.com
National Day of Prayer and Action
Sunday 22nd March 2020
This Mothering Sunday Churches Together in England are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer and Action.
At 7pm, light a candle as a symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.
Find out more and join us: www.cte.org.uk/calltoprayer
On Friday 21st February we were entertained by the superb local guitarist Matt McGurk. Matt played a selection of modern and traditional Spanish pieces to which he added his own inspired interpretation. Linda and Peter Hammond hosted the evening and Linda prepared a wonderful spread of tapas which was really delicious! Billy was in charge of the raffle. Proceeds from the raffle, tickets and part of the CD sales all went towards Chaplaincy funds raising 713€. All in all, a very successful evening.
The Calahonda church fellowship Chinese lunch on Thursday 6th February at the Golden Sun, Riviera was enjoyed by all. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us in great food and fellowship with the added bonus of 100€ in donations to the Chaplaincy
The annual Gibraltar Archdeaconry Synod was held during the last week of January 2020. It took place at Torrevieja where it has been held for the past 10 years. It is a level of governance of the Church of England and involves churches from across Spain and Portugal.
Our Chaplaincy was represented by Father Nigel and Caroline Macfarlane. There were approximately 130 elected delegates and clergy from 28 Chaplaincies along with Bishop David, staff from the Diocesan Office, and various visitors.
The synod allows for presentations and discussion on current issues affecting the church, there are bible studies and worship each day along with speakers relating to the theme, which this year was 'Caring for God's Creation'.
It provided a great opportunity for sharing of areas of good practice, and discussing any problems affecting our Chaplaincies. It is also a good opportunity to meet up with friends old and new.
Fr Nigel appointed as an Area Dean
This year was very special as it was announced that the Bishop has appointed Fr Nigel as an Area Dean in the Archdeaconry, with responsibility for Southern Spain and Gibraltar.
In collaboration with the Archdeacon this post essentially provides pastoral care of clergy in the area, and support when necessary, for the chaplaincies, especially in time of a vacancy.
This sort of pastoral care hasn’t been on offer for our area of Spain for quite a while. Fr Nigel says; “It is a real privilege to have been appointed and also a good reflection on our Chaplaincy in being considered able to give the necessary support for this important work to happen. Fear not - this work doesn’t involve missing Sundays or a large time commitment!!”
Fr Nigel appointed Area Dean
Many thanks indeed to everyone who has helped and supported recent social & fund raising events - the Christmas Fair, A Touch Of Class Christmas Show, Wednesday Coffee Mornings, Iceland bag-backers and Carollers and also everyone who helped with the Carol Services and refreshments afterwards. Plus the extra lesson readers & Welcomers!
You may be interested to know that Prayer Cards from the Candle Appeal were sent locally, the UK, France, USA & even Wales! With 309€ raised for Chaplaincy funds. There have been some lovely comments from recipients ~ it’s always good to know that we are remembered…
Christmas Fair 2019
We all got in the Christmas spirit early when we held our Christmas Fair at Los Boliches on 23rd November. The fair was a great success and enjoyed by all. It was organised by Sheila with the help of members of the Church from all four locations. It is always a joy to have some of us from each centres together, and so many others who contributed to the event to make it such a success.
Thankfully the rains had cleared, but as it was too cold to have chairs and tables outside it was quite hectic inside. A big cheer and thank you to all who worked so hard and gave so generously raising 1438 euros for the Church.