We are pleased to share an update with our followers that has been given to us today by Jayne Robb from the GRACE PROJECT.
Under current Government COVID-19 guidelines, GRACE can open to the public as people are able to legally access support and voluntary activities. There are increased safety measures in place to protect the volunteers and attendees. These include drop offs of donations in the foyer of the Church building. Volunteer bubbles have been created and there is reduced capacity within the church to a maximum of 8 people.
All of the above means the great and valuable work of GRACE can continue.
Three weeks ago a digital bank was set up and so far 140 laptops have been donated to the project and have been distributed to families who are struggling to home school their children. Referrals have been received from social services and local schools.
A few basic stats ..... in the 12 weeks of running CHRISTMAS GRACE over 1000 people accessed the project, nearly 700 families and individuals supported and in excess of 3000 food bank vouchers, food parcels, gifts, clothing and household items were distributed.
We are aware that Funerals bring to the fore some difficult and often cruel tensions between human need and the need to keep everyone safe from COVID-19. Of course, when a loved one dies it is natural for us to want to be surrounded by those we love. However, at this time, we need to be aware of the direct risk to health that large gatherings present.
The current Government guidelines do provide guidance to ensure that a fitting and dignified service can be held for our loved ones. Please note the following which is a brief summary:
A maximum of 30 people can attend. This includes the Minister and the Verger but does not include the Funeral Director's personnel.
Face coverings must be worn unless individuals are exempt for reasons of health or equality.
Social distancing has to be maintained so the attendees must not mingle unless they are from the same household or support bubble.
It is possible at our Church to arrange for the Service to be videoed or streamed live for those people who cannot attend.
There will be a sanitation station at the entrance to the Church
Toilets will only be available in emergencies only
You will need to check in at the Church with the NHS COVID-19 track and trace app
There may be other changes in place which we will discuss with you and the Funeral Director when making the arrangements. We are still able to provide support to families and loved ones during this time and we continue to work closely with the Funeral Directors in our area to ensure that we provide the best possible service at this time.
If you have questions or concerns please contact us at email@example.com for further advice and information.
Weddings can still go ahead if necessary during this time but the COVID-19 Regulations in relation to weddings are very stringent and weddings will only be carried out during this time if the following applies to you:
The Government guidelines state that: "Where possible, weddings should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life changing surgery".
If there is an exceptional circumstance that you need to discuss, please contact us for further information and advice on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also be aware of the following:
The number of people attending the wedding is limited to only 6 people. This includes the minister and the couple who are to be married. It is possible to stream the service for anyone who cannot attend.
The sacrament of Baptism is one of those wonderful rite of passage moments and a great privilege for us, the Church, to be part of. It is a great sadness to us that at the moment we must place restrictions on the way we conduct this service in order to keep everyone as safe as possible in this current COVID-19 climate. The main changes that affect families are these:
Numbers of people who can attend are to be decided locally in accordance with the ability to maintain social distancing. At the moment we are limiting the numbers who can attend to 30 people. This includes the minister, parents, god parents and the person being baptised.
If you have vulnerable family members who may be put at risk by attending or wish to include more guests that can currently attend in person, then consider streaming or videoing the occasion.
Face coverings must be worn by all attending.
You will see that there will be a hand sanitation station at the entrance to the Church.
Toilets will only be available for use in emergencies only.
You will be required to check in to the Church using the NHS COVID-19 track and trace app.
Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
Please note that the Church Council have taken the decision that only St Anne's Church on Harrowby Road is available under the Covid-19 Regulations for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals at the present time. These are being carried out under stringent current regulations as outlined at www.churchofengland.org
Christmas GRACE have an urgent need for gifts suitable for teenagers, especially (but not only) for boys. GRACE, a distribution centre for foodbank vouchers, furniture and household goods, operates from St John's Church on Station Road East. In the run up to Christmas it will also host a toy bank to make sure that children from struggling families have presents to open on Christmas Day. They have a particular need for presents that would be suitable for older children and teenagers.
There are a number of ways to help.
Financial assistance can be offered via contribute via PayPal to email@example.com.
Physical Gifts can be taken to the church between 1-3 pm. All physical donations will be left untouched at the church for 72 hours to adhere to coronavirus guidelines before they are wiped clean and distributed to the local community.
Morrisons Supermarket have also kindly offered to help with a donations trolley at their Grantham Store!
For up to date information on what gifts are needed and ways to give please contact Grantham Covid Support Group.
We are very please to have offered St John's Church as a base for the Grantham & Rural Areas Community Effort (GRACE) Christmas toy scheme, Christmas GRACE.
GRACE has come out of the Grantham Area Covid Support Page. This huge support network, backed by Churches Together, was founded by one of our church members, Jayne Robb, with members of the local community and other churches wishing to respond creatively and compassionately to the Covid Crisis.
The Grantham Journal recently ran a good article about the initiative which can be read here.
Gifts and items can be collected from St John's every afternoon between 1pm and 3pm from Monday, November 2 until Friday, December 18, as an extra layer of support to the existing help that the group have provided to families and individuals, which will still remain. For directions to St John the Evangelist in Spitalgate see here.
We are very excited to announce that the dates for the Metanoia Climate Festival have now been confirmed. The festival will run run from Friday the 1st to Sunday the 3rd of October 2021. It will be hosted by St Wulfram's Church, Grantham. The star attraction of the festival will be the stunning art work Gaia by renowned artist Luke Jerram.
"Measuring seven metres in diameter and created from 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface the artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet, floating in three dimensions.
The installation aims to create a sense of the Overview Effect, which was first described by author Frank White in 1987. Common features of the experience for astronauts are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment." https://my-earth.org/about/
There will engaging and educational exhibits, music, a market place, a repair workshop and practical ideas and guidance both for those wanting to make changes in their own lifestyles, and those campaigning for changes in public policy. The festival will be both celebratory and challenging, rejoicing in the rich diversity of life on our planet and provoking better care of it.
Prior to the Festival we will be launching a series of educational resources to tie in with the UN Climate Change Conference COP26.
We are working on a website and social media for the festival, and will post links when available.
Please do contact Jonnie if you want to be involved.
Revd Jonnie Parkin MA
Chair, Metanoia Festival Planning Group
The earth's climate is in crisis as a result of human activity. This is the overwhelming consensus of scientists across the world.
Metanoia is a process of rethinking our values, our beliefs, our practices, our behaviours. It results in radical transformation of heart, mind and actions. It is the word used by both John the Baptist and Jesus that we translate as repent.
We need to radically reappraise our relationship with the planet. The planet cannot sustain our lifestyles. We need to change. We need climate metanoia.
This month was due to see the Metanoia Climate Festival at St Wulfram's church in Grantham. Due to Covid regulations we had to postpone. In an uncertain world we do not know when we will be able to go ahead. But we do know that the planet is running out of time. So in the meantime the Metanoia planning group will be working together to create and curate resources for schools, churches, businesses and other groups who want to be challenged and inspired.
If you want to get involved, contact Jonnie here.
Your planet needs you!