COVID - 19

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Coronavirus Task Group Update 03/06/2020

Dear Friends,

Today's briefing is a more practically orientated one. But as Christians, we see the whole of our lives in the context of the work of the Holy Spirit who sustains all creation and who is ever breathing new life into his Church. In this week's video Archdeacon David reflects on the Holy Spirit. You can see it here.

The Local Context

One of the issues faced by Government is the regional variations in the impact the pandemic is having on communities and we felt it would be useful for you to have an update on the Lancashire picture, drawing mostly on information from the Lancashire Resilience Forum.

The all-important R rate in Lancashire is very close to 1 and worryingly it has been increasing in recent days. The levels of infection are especially high in Lancaster and in Blackpool. Of particular concern is the care home sector and 529 homes in the county are affected. As most of you will know the County Council strongly advised schools not to re-open this week, based in part on the fact that two of the five tests have not yet been satisfied in the region.

It must be very tempting for a Westminster-based government to set policy based on the situation in London. But the infection peaked later in the North-west (indeed some areas of Lancashire may not be clearly past the peak) and there must be concerns that some of the messaging means that people are tempted to relax restrictions and disciplines when we are still in a difficult situation. We would urge people and parishes not to push the boundaries, even given the frustrations of so many weeks in lockdown.

Ecclesiastical Fundraising Hub

Ecclesiastical Insurance have produced a fundraising hub here . This offers advice on keeping fundraising going during COVID-19 and guidance on applying for grants to meet immediate day-to-day running costs, or generate new funding for proposed or ongoing activities and projects.

Government Job Retention Scheme

For Parishes who have furloughed staff, HMRC provided an update on the job retention scheme on 29th May and it can be found here.

Volunteers' Week

National Volunteering Week runs from 1st - 7th June. This may be a good opportunity to pray for and thank our many church volunteers. Some may be feeling frustrated that they're not able to do what they used to do. However others have been even more active during the lockdown, especially those who are meeting practical human needs. And it has been good to hear how many have been volunteering for the first time in recent weeks. It is good news that God continues to offer us new leaders even from the midst of crisis.

Parish Buying

The Parish Buying scheme is offering both cleaning products and Personal Protective Equipment (masks, gloves etc). More details here.

To access the deals, you need to have registered with Parish Buying. Other suppliers are, of course, available.

The Coronavirus Email Address

Any problems or questions, please contact: Please email if you are off work or self-isolating.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Coronavirus Task Group

Coronavirus Task Group Update 02/06/2020

Dear Friends,

There is much speculation about when and how we will be able to re-open church buildings for private prayer, resume occasional offices and re-start worship and there has been some very inaccurate reporting in the press. At the moment there is no change in government regulations and no firm timetable in place.

For some of you this will be increasingly frustrating and it has been good to see how many parishes have been thinking though the implications of unlocking and coming up with some imaginative solutions. Others we know are more anxious about moving out of lockdown in a way that is safe. As we have said before, trust your judgement because only you understand your local context. At the same time we need to make it clear that we are confidently and joyfully available to our communities to meet needs, offer prayer and proclaim the Gospel.

We are constantly alert to new announcements and will bring you any news via this update as soon as possible.

Thy Kingdom Come

Thanks so much to all who brought such imagination to the way we kept Thy Kingdom Come in the Diocese and especially those who hosted services. This briefing is going to focus on the ministry of evangelism as we look for the ways in which God is answering our prayers.

'Leading your Church into Growth' Webinar for Blackburn Diocese

Canon Robin Gamble, who leads the Leading your Church into Growth team, is going to lead a Webinar for our Diocese called Evangelism in a Time of Lockdown. This will be on Thursday 18th June from 2pm to 4pm. It's free and to book a place please email Judith Henderson:

Robin is peerless is his ability to teach and inspire in this area so this is not to be missed!

Webinars This Week and Next Week

  • This Wednesday at 3pm Bishop Julian will host a zoom webinar on the following Sunday's Gospel Reading. This is for Trinity Sunday so there will be much to discuss and opportunity to both receive and share. To book a place and obtain the log-in please email Jennie Bentham on:
  • This Friday at 3.30pm Bishop Philip and Matt Allen will co-lead a webinar on 'Preaching and the Fourth Wall' with a couple of sparky ideas on how to sharpen up your preaching online or face to face. To book a place please email
  • Next Tuesday (June 9th) Bishop Jill and the Revd Carol Backhouse will lead a Webinar on Bereavement in the Covid-19 Crisis from 1.30pm to 2.30pm. Bookings taken by Judith Henderson:
  • Next Wednesday (June 10th) Archdeacon Mark will lead a webinar on Returning from Exile - Reflecting on Ministry in this Strange Land at 3pm. Bookings taken by Kelly Quinn:

Re-thinking Church Life

The Bishop's Chaplain, the Revd Sam Cheesman, has produced an incredibly helpful discussion document for the Parish of St Peter's Salesbury but which may be of benefit to other parishes. It uses the shape of Vision 2026 to encourage people to reflect on church life into the future. What are we learning from this pandemic? What will we stop? What might we do differently? What new leaders have emerged? With whom have we established new contacts etc? Please do have a look - it can be found here.

Nationally - Multiply 2020: Church Multiplication Conference

The Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication are offering leaders and planters and their teams the opportunity to explore the big picture and the detail of the church planting journey and make it as practical as possible. Speakers include: John Tyson, Jo Saxton, Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of York designate Stephen Cottrell, Alan Hirsch, Ness Wilson and Fr James Mallon.

Ticket prices: individual - £25; group ticket for team of 10 - £75; ordinand/student - £10.

More details from: @gregorycentreCX on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or email at:

Briefings This Week

This week there will be three briefings: today, tomorrow and Thursday, as we keep track of fast-changing events. Don't forget that the email address is monitored constantly:

Please email if you are off work or self-isolating.

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Coronavirus Task Group

Coronavirus Task Group Update 28/05/20

Dear Friends,

This is the last briefing you will receive before the Easter season concludes with the mighty feast of Pentecost. It is an irony that as we continue to live with lockdown we will be praying for the gift of the Spirit who blows doors off their hinges and throws his people outside to proclaim the Good News. So many of you have found new ways to proclaim in this time of lockdown, and with the Spirit's power we will be able to learn to use to the full these new opportunities.

At the same time we will continue to need the Spirit's comfort as we live with continuing uncertainty. There is endless change and constant speculation about what will be allowed when and still no clear news on places of worship. It is possible that we will hear more tonight. But meanwhile we pray as ever in confidence and trust, Come Holy Spirit.


There are some very important changes to the buildings checklist that was circulated last week to incorporate new advice from the Church of England Recovery Group. This includes a simplification of advice in one or two areas and greater detail in others.

The updated guidance checklist document can be found here.

Changes from the first version are highlighted in the document.

In addition, the national Church of England have produced a helpful set of questions and answers covering a broad range of topics about access to churches here.

Thy Kingdom Come and This Sunday's Worship

Pentecost is the final day of Thy Kingdom Come. Don't miss the following over the next few days:

  • For worship tonight from Preston Minster and St George's click here.
  • For worship on Friday night from St Thomas Lancaster click here.
  • For worship on Saturday night from St John's Blackpool click here.
  • We will conclude Thy Kingdom Come with a special Service for Pentecost led by all three Bishops which will be shown on the Diocesan Youtube Channel from 9am on Sunday.

For more details go to:


Some of you will have seen new advice from Lancashire County Council that schools should not re-open on June 1st as was expected. This will make for additional complexities for those of you who have children and will add greatly to the pressures on Headteachers and governors. Please continue to offer local schools support and pray for their leaders.

Some of you have asked about the use of church buildings by local schools. There is much to consider so in the meantime, if that request is made of you as a member of clergy, please get in touch on the Coronavirus email address so that advice and support can be offered.

Funeral Fees

Clergy should have received a letter today from Bishop Julian and David Barlow regarding funeral fees. This announces that we will cease to waive the funeral fee from the point when we are once again allowed to host funerals in churches.


There are two webinars scheduled for next week:

  • Wednesday June 3rd at 3pm Bishop Julian will host a zoom webinar on the following Sunday's Gospel Reading. This is for Trinity Sunday so there will be much to discuss and opportunity to both receive and share. To book a place and obtain the log-in please email Jennie Bentham on:
  • On Friday June 5th at 3.30pm Bishop Philip and Matt Allen will co-lead a webinar on 'Preaching and the Fourth Wall' with a couple of sparky ideas on how to sharpen up your preaching online or face to face. To book a place please email

Close-Contact Tracing

The Governments test and trace strategy may have implications for clergy as lockdown relaxes because of the large numbers of people they deal with. We are seeking clarification on what precise criteria will be used before people are asked to self-isolate. In the meantime should that request be made to you, please tell us at once via the Coronavirus email address.

A Reflection from Ian Dewar

Tonight will be the final Clap for Carers, Our hospital chaplains have found themselves in the very thick of the crisis in recent weeks, so it is good to have this reflection on hope from the Revd Ian Dewar, Chaplain to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay.

'Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.'

These are the words of Viktor Frankl, a Jewish, Austrian Psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz. In the midst of a crisis, a pandemic, it is good to look at the lives of others who have suffered and come through.

Survival seems to dominate. How will we get through this? What will be left? For the sake of social distancing, how can I avoid my neighbour? We are a nation in lockdown, in fear of death. Yet death has always been around. It has never been a question of if, but when. What then should our response be?

It should not simply be one of: 'How can I or we survive? Yes, we should follow the guidelines, limit the effects of the virus, consider the consequences of further spread. But what if one of the worst things it does is bully our minds, force us to live in perpetual anxiety of what might be?

We need to come out of this pandemic, but not as survivors. Frankl came out of Auschwitz not as a survivor but as a man with purpose, becoming a writer and developing a theory of psychiatry. In his own words: 'It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future.' We need what I would call an Ethics of Hope, or what St. Paul might describe as; 'suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope.'

The world is in fear and it is not going to get better anytime soon. It needs to have hope and hope is a choice.

Briefings This Week

Have a lovely weekend and a Spirit-filled Pentecost. Don't forget that the email address is monitored constantly:

Please email if you are off work or self-isolating.

God, who as at this time

taught the hearts of your faithful people

by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:

grant us by the same Spirit

to have a right judgement in all things

and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;

through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people.

And kindle in us the fire of your love.


The Coronavirus Task Group

June Parish Magazine

We are grateful to our printer who, working without staff has offered to print the May magazine for us. It will arrive through your door sometime during the month.

Do you know anyone who doesn't subscribe but might like a mag? Let me know.

When the mag is ready, I'll contact distributors to discuss deliveries.


Try to send your item(s) to me by Sunday 24th May please.

Email - Post - Ring or Dictate

Let me know if you're not quite ready to send & I'll try to save you a space.

I will always reply fairly soon to tell you of safe arrival by email.

01772 683827 - 31, Oak Lane, Newton, Preston PR4 3RR

Please spread the word around and encourage folk to join in making a mag to cheer and link us all.

  • I bet there are lots of 'Good News Stories' out there as people in the community help each other.
  • Windows. . . . Pictures of what you have displayed or other people's
  • How Your Goup is keeping in touch - memories: best, this time last yr. etc
  • Belatedly sharing this Easter . . . Have you pictures of Holy Week crosses, indoors or out - rainbows and candles in windows? How did folk you know celebrate Easter? Did you make an Easter drawing of the Events in the Bible? Did you decorate eggs? Maybe had an egg hunt, made cards or an Easter garden? (I've some great pics of all of these already - 'Thank You' to the people who sent them.)
  • Have you a picture of the Thursday evening 'Clapping for Carers ' (banging pans) in your street?
  • How have you been filling your enforced 'down-time'? Have you turned out a cupboard and discovered any family treasures from the past? Maybe send a picture of craft work / children gardening etc ? Family games (My cousin sent me one of him and his wife trying 'Couple's Yoga', a hilarious heap of giggles!
  • How about useful 'home-schooling tips, now that the novelty has worn off! - or even a picture?
  • Are you into writing poetry? Have an inspirational/ cheering / inspiring short story?

We're quite likely to be short of space, (want lots of variety)so maybe just a verse or two - or a haiku?

  • We need PLENTY of HUMOUR too - perhaps children might send in some jokes

(It could be called 'home-schooling IT Practice'!)

  • 'Take the Contents of one Fridge' Recipes ?

Below is a link to Bishop Jill's latest words of encouragement on YouTube.

Words from Bishop Jill to Families and Information from the Board of Education

Many parents are juggling work, child care, solving maths problems and setting new boundaries and routines. Some parents have suddenly found themselves out of work; some parents have found themselves with incredible demands at work.

Please give yourself plenty of slack in this time. I'm conscious that as Christians we are often super-dedicated to the cause. Mother Teresa once said: "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family". My best child-care advice as a new mum was from a nun(!) who observed how our children often reflect back our own moods to us. And anyone who has been couped up with a toddler for too long can totally understand why tantrums break out at the worst possible times. And that's just the parent! I finished a Zoom meeting with the North West bishops yesterday then went out to play football in the garden. I enjoyed both: though sometimes virtual kids and football with colleagues is tempting.

It can be hard thinking of new ideas to engage and enthuse our children. Can I recommend our marvellous Board of Education Website and Social Media pages. There you'll find lots of resources for children, teenagers, RE and collective and family worship. Take a look at Lisa Horobin's films "Off the Shelf". You might even meet her dog.

The Children's and Youth teams in the diocese have produced some fantastic resources, click on the links below:

The team have been working hard to adapt many of the church focused resource to being home focused and for parents to use with their children and young people. The best way of keeping up with the new resources and those being adapted is through their Social Media pages, the links for which are below.

Jesus Himself faced cataclysmic threats. Herod was always out to kill him. I love his advice when living under that threat: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough evil of its own" (Matt 6.34). May our Good Father give His peace and wisdom to parents and children at this time."

Live streaming weekday morning prayer - Ex parishioner, Anne Beverley, now priest at Christ Church, Wesham is providing this on alternate weekdays at 10am. Take part by joining their Facebook group, or by looking at their You tube channel:-

 The videos will be stored there for you to use at any convenient time.

The Church of England is streaming daily services enabling people to link up - just google C of E

They are provided in contemporary and traditional forms. You can do this without an I-pad or computer if you've a Smart speaker such as Alexa or Google home. Just say, "Alexa open the Church of England" OR "Hey Google, talk to the Church of England" and then ask for the daily service.

Television, Radio Schedules will inform of services and programmes offering religious encouragement and Smart-phone Apps will be useful too.

Remember also to use this website.

We are aiming to provide links to many of the items above.

Also the Vicar of our benefice, Rev Philip Chew, intends as far as possible

to post a fresh 'Thought for the day' and a regularly updated prayer.

This page replaces the magazine's usual list of services at St Nicholas and St Matthew's. and underneath is an explanation of plans made to assist our church and community in coping with the restrictions caused by the current emergencies.

"Do not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9


St Nicholas Wrea Green Parish Continuity Plan 

Use of Church

  • Our Churches will remain open as normal for prayer and reflection

Hand Sanitizers to be obtained and placed near to the inner doors

  • There are prayer stations within church with prayers written by specific groups: - Jam, LCF, Men's Breakfast and the weekly prayer rota
  • We will support Fylde Foodbank with donations and possibly offer assistance with the manning
  • Funerals, Baptisms, and Weddings can go ahead but with only immediate family or the minimum required by law. This is subject to review


  • The Web site is updated on a regular basis with news and prayers and words of comfort and encouragement. Links to COE web site and those churches who stream services will be made available
  • Poster/Notices in porch and on the notice board
  • Church bells will be rung each day at 12.00 noon
  • Everyone is invited to place a candle in a window in the home to be lit each Sunday at 7:00pm to show the light of Christ never goes out.
  • A letter will be distributed informing each house what we are doing and how to contact people will be delivered
  • The Easter Cross to be erected on the Green near to church subject to permission from Parish Council
  • The April Parish Magazine will have articles of support for the foodbank and services added or modified.

Pastoral Care

the Church will offer support to Wrea Green Coronovirus Helpers,.

  • As a Church we will continue to offer wherever possible Pastoral care by phone but not necessarily with house visits
  • We will contact all the vulnerable we know and offer help or put them in touch with Wrea Green Coronovirus Helpers. A list has been produced by Stanley Parkinson
  • If possible this same group to offer support in Weeton and Ballam
  • Soundings to be taken to see if we can put the Helpers group in touch with appropriately trained counsellors
  • To encourage people to ask for help if they need it

Social Activities and Use of the Centre

  • Nicholas Bear Club, Wednesday Get Together and Tea and Tea Cakes and other social gatherings have been cancelled.