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Worship no matter what

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Mar, 2020 11:02 PM

Despite having to close their doors, the 5 churches in Weymouth say they are not deterred, and have turned to a whole range of technology - old and new - to keep renewing hope and spreading a message of hope and God’s love.

All 5 churches are using the access provided by smartphones and laptop computers to beat the present widespread lockdown. But those uncomfortable with the social media are not neglected either.

Both Emmanuel and St Mary’s, under Vicar Jo Haine, have a contact list of people who are called by phone and, where appropriate, receive deliveries of printed material.

Community Chaplain Neil Biles says:

“We are very sensitive to the needs of every member of our congregation so all can continue to experience Christian worship no matter what their circumstances.”

This includes a Sunday mini-service sheet being produced by Lay Minister Carl Whitehouse, encouraging everyone to conduct an in-home service from 10.30am each Sunday, including responses, prayers, hymns, a psalm and short sermon.

He said:

“From the responses, it seems quite a few of us were together at the due time in this new virtual community, and others joined us later in the day, suggesting that many are appreciating this approach.”

The clergy team say the aim is to make it as real as possible:

“For example, retired vicar Paul Selley, who conducts some services and plays the organ at St Mary’s, has chosen the hymns (to be said or sung) for this week and also Palm Sunday.”

At noon each weekday, either Jo Haine or Neil Biles go on Facebook to invite the public to join them in saying the Lord’s Prayer and Neil wants to keep this morning for the rest of the year as a focus for the people of Weymouth and Portland.

At the Radipole churches of St Aldhelm’s and St. Anne’s, Team Rector Nick Clarke and his wife Cherry are producing a regular e-mail bulletin every 2 days, with a reading, a short reflection and prayer. Meanwhile, those with a Facebook account can tune in to a short morning service at 9am, and Compline at 9pm led by Curate Matt Renyard.

At St John’s church, Vicar Tom Coopey is also taking full advantage of both Facebook and YouTube to ensure his congregation has access to a regular worship service even in unusual circumstances, including recorded hymns and Bible readings and prayers by his children.

Meanwhile, the Weymouth branch of the Association of Christian Writers (ACW) is seeking ways it can use the talents of its members to produce words of inspiration and comfort for the community.

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