Suspension of Services 18th December 2020:
For more information on how worship is going ahead, visit this page: http://staplehursturc.org.uk/sunday-services
Letter from the Church Secretary:
Greetings Members and Friends,
With some sadness, we have decided that our duty of care as Elders in the light of the Maidstone Borough Covid-19 infection rates means that we have to suspend physical services at the URC with immediate effect. There will be no morning service this coming Sunday (20th December) or for the rest of December and January. At present we plan to recommence at 9.15 a.m. Sunday 7th February 2021.
I realise that this may come as a shock to some or may be upsetting news, however it is the responsible thing to do as current figures show an infection rate about 610 per 100,000 in the Borough, well above the national average and the third highest in Kent. For instance, this is about double the current rate for Lambeth in London. Infection rates in Maidstone are rising very sharply among the under 60s and still growing but not as fast in the over 60s.
To put this in perspective, when the planning for resumption of services for 6th December was underway, the Maidstone infection rate was in the 80 per 100,000 zone. So, we have to say, we have given physical services a good try, but have to pause again for a while. Perhaps this might be the last pause necessary in this up and down 2020/2021 – we shall have to see. Adaptability is an essential tool in pandemic circumstances. We look forward to improvements in the quality of life later in 2021.
Meanwhile our spiritual life is not dead – we continue worship Zooms (Thursday and Sunday evenings and Tuesday mornings), Maidstone URC hope to be able to live-stream services as a broadcast without a congregation (to be found on their YouTube channel) and there are the URC Daily Devotions Sunday morning services too. I encourage those of you with online access, and the time available, to find supplemental opportunities from other churches and Christian charities .
For those without online access, please continue your private prayer and Bible reading; remember you can telephone dial to join Zoom without a picture; and be aware of the DailyHope Prayer line.
DailyHope phone line
DailyHope, a free national telephone line, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of the phone.
A Church of England initiative in partnership with CONNECTIONS at Holy Trinity Claygate, and Faith in Later Life
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind; to provide comfort and spiritual nourishment to the most isolated in our society.
Forthcoming Services for December:
20th Maidstone URC livestream YouTube 10.45 a.m.
20th Christingle on Zoom 4 p.m.
20th Carols on Zoom 7.30 p.m.
24th Carols by Candlelight Maidstone URC livestream YouTube 6 p.m.
24th Midnight Communion on Zoom 11.30 p.m.
25th Christmas Day Worship and “hello” on Zoom 10.30 a.m. plus a pre-recorded service on Maidstone URC YouTube which you can access at a time that suits you
27th Maidstone URC livestream YouTube 10.45 a.m.
27th Evening Prayers on Zoom 7.30 p.m.
31st Evening Prayer New Year’s Eve “Watchnight” on Zoom 8.15 p.m.
Please continue your care for your fellow congregation by keeping in touch by phone and email whilst we can’t gather physically. If you feel particularly lonely or isolated, please don’t suffer in silence – phone your pastoral carer or one of the Elders.
I hope that you will all be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus in some form on Christmas Day and enjoy the warmth of contact with family and friends, either physically or by phone or video messaging.
God Bless, Hazel