Church News

Update on church closures (15th May 2020)

On Thursday last week (7th May), clergy were allowed back into their churches for prayer and to record services. As yet, this applies only to clergy, and I cannot yet make the churches available for private prayer—let alone services—but the opening has begun. I will let you know as soon as we are allowed to open them up for more people.

I am trying to get into each church at least once a week to pray, so you may see me around, or hear the bell rung (this is not possible in all the churches because some of the bells were left “up” and need to be checked by a proper bell-ringer before they are used).

We do not need churches to pray or meet with God, but I hope you are encouraged that the buildings are once again at least partially being used for the purpose for which they were built.



Matthew survey

Coronavirus Update

The parish office in Heddington is closed until further notice

Just to let everyone know that the parish office in Heddington is closed until further notice. The Benefice Administrator is working from home, so can be contacted by email.

As you know Rev'd Matt is in home isolation at the moment but is available today (Thursday), if anything is urgent.

Just in case not everyone is up to date on services please see statement below.

Should anyone have any safeguarding concerns please contact me on the following number: Mobile 07494 391 128

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice.

Wishing Matt, his family and all who are suffering from this virus, every blessing and a speedy recovery.

A Message from The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Archbishop of York

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice.

Churches should be open where possible but with no public worship services taking place. Prayers can be said by clergy and ministers on behalf of everyone and churches should consider ways of sharing this with the wider community. See more below on digital resources that are under development and currently available.

Read more in this press release, published at 13:30 on Tuesday 17 March 2020.

We are aware this is a very difficult time and will prompt a number of further questions. The FAQs below will be regularly updated, so please do keep checking back. When major changes are made we will publish updated through the national Church's social media accounts.

Guidance for churches

What should churches do now?

Please note that 'Washing hands' always refers to washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand-sanitiser with minimum of 60% alcohol content. See NHS guidance and download a poster version to display.

  1. Pause normal meetings for worship until further notice in line with Government Advice as a measure to help protect the most vulnerable.
  2. Consider keeping the church open as a place for prayer and contact, with appropriate signage to remind people of the need to keep at least 2 metres apart.
  3. Explore other means of sharing ministry including live streaming. See more information on this below.
  4. Encourage everyone to continue to maintain good hygiene and observe social distancing if attending necessary meetings. Please provide hand gel at entrances and ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms for hand washing. The best way of protecting us from the spread is for everyone to use universal good hygiene, - this means everyone, all the time, which will effectively disrupt the spread of the virus. Display the public information poster attached, which states:
    • Catch it – sneeze into a tissue.
    • Bin it – bin the tissue.
    • Kill it – wash your hands.
    • Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands.
  5. Pastoral visits
    • In circumstances where people are self-isolating because they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has been symptomatic, no pastoral visits should be undertaken until their isolation ends. However, do offer phone support.
    • In circumstances where someone is self-isolating for their protection and a pastoral visit is thought to be necessary, please make sure you follow rigorous health and hygiene practices and maintain social distancing.
  6. Ensure good regular cleaning of surfaces people touch regularly, including such things as door handles, light switches etc.

Some new initiatives.

We fully appreciate that not everybody in the Village wishes to be actively involved with the Church but we do know that many, who are not regular Churchgoers, have a real interest in keeping this fantastic old building, with all it stands for in the community, in business as a going concern. Regular Churchgoing members are becoming fewer and fewer and those that remain cannot continue to bear the full burden and so, although we are seriously confident that this trend will be reversed in time, we must look to the wider community for help; not just financial and practical help with Church maintenance, but also with the preservation of the Church as a centre for Christian outreach to those of our neighbours who might be in need. To further these aims we are looking at setting up some sort of group of 'Friends of St Swithin' and part of their purpose will be the creation in Compton Bassett of the 'Care in our Community' package being sponsored by the Oldbury Benefice of which we are part.

We would be seeking a number of volunteers to look out for any who might be in need as well as to report on the arrival of newcomers so that they can receive the 'Welcome Packs' which are not, at the moment, being distributed. JR

Money Matters

St Swithin's is a beautiful church and a part of Compton Bassett life; unfortunately it is also expensive for the congregation to support and maintain. In 2014 the average weekly cost was £ this includes repairs and maintenance, heat and light, insurance, and shared costs from the Benefice and the Salisbury Diocese.

The income to cover these costs comes from a variety of sources; the collection at our Church services, fees for weddings and funerals, retiring collections and donations, and fund raising events such as the annual Church fete.

It is always a struggle to match our annual income and expenditure. St Swithin's has been fortunate to have some reserves, but these will be further depleted in the
coming months with the capital expenditure to install a hand rail along the church path, significant repairs to the roof stonework and tiles to keep out the rain, and the installation of a toilet.

We can maximise our income from donations if they are gift-aided. Any UK taxpayer can use the Gift Aid scheme, which increases the value of a donation by 25%. The only requirement is that you must be paying an amount of tax at least equivalent to the amount of money we will be claiming from the taxman in respect of your gift (i.e. the extra 25%). It doesn't cost you a penny - Gift Aid means that the Inland Revenue refunds to St Swithin's the tax you already pay on that part of your income.

So do please use the Gift Aid envelopes if making a donation at a church service, or contact Malcolm Seymour (Treasurer: 01249 814157) for a Gift Aid Declaration Form if you are considering a separate donation. MS

The PCC would like to thank all those who polish the brass and clean our beautiful Church. It has been cared for for nearly a thousand years and it is our privilege to look after it for future generations. If anybody would like to be included in the rota do contact Sally Reis on 01249 760219.

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