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COVID vicars message archive

Dear Christian Friends

St Mary’s church is now closed for public worship.

The PCC have decided that in view of Lockdown 3 circumstances public worship will be suspended until further notice. 

An internet service using Zoom will be available each Sunday at 11am please email 


for more details.

Services will also continue to be available on the Cross Country Parishes WhatsApp Group (please contact Chris Pope on 07771 684000 to be added to the group).

For those who do not feel able to join an internet service


Worship resource materials will continue to be put on the website at www.stmarysacton.com and to be e-mailed out.  Radio 4 will continue to broadcast Sunday Worship at 8.10 am as they have done for many years, although other broadcast and live-streamed services may begin to come to an end, although the C of E is encouraging churches to continue this where possible. 

With every blessing,

Yours very sincerely,  

Revd S Anne Lawson

Vicar of the Cross Country Parishes

of Acton Church Minshull, Worleston and Wettenhall and
Chaplain to the Cheshire Agricultural Society

30th November 2020

Returning to Public Worship

You will be aware by now that the Government has given the go-ahead for ‘Places of Worship’ to be open for public worship from 2nd December.  

The services in the Cross Country Benefice are and will be shown in the Acton Monthly Newsheet please click on this link  Acton Newssheet or use the tab above.

Appropriate social distancing will be necessary. Please remember that face coverings will be mandatory in places of worship.  If you are exempt from wearing a face covering for medical reasons, that is, of course, understood.

Every effort has been made to ensure that all Government and Church of England advice has been followed to ensure that church buildings are ‘COVID-secure’.  However, I am required to remind those who are ‘vulnerable’ or ‘shielded’ of government advice in relation to these groups.

Those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ or ‘shielded’

The advice to those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ by reason of age or underlying health conditions continues to be to stay at home when at all possible. For those who are ‘shielded’, please follow the advice received in the letter telling you that you are in this category.  The decision about whether to attend public worship is the decision of the individual.  Those who decide to continue to self-isolate for the time-being have my full support.  If it helps to make that decision, I have decide that in order to make public worship possible for those who wish to come, I will take services as I have taken funerals throughout lockdown, but I continue to self-isolate for all other purposes.

What can I expect when I come to church?

COVID-19 has not gone away.  This means that, whilst every effort has been made to ensure that our church building is COVID-secure, a number of measures need to be taken to make sure we are all as safe as possible as we begin to gather together again.  All measures have been taken in line with advice issued by the government and the Church of England.

Social Distancing

Everything has been done to ensure that those from different households remain 2 meters apart from each other at all times.  Please do everything you can to keep others safe by observing the measures which have been taken to ensure this happens by following any visual markings or spoken instructions given to you.  Please enter by the west door and exit by the south porch make your way straight to one of the pews.  You will find that some of the pews are roped off to help maintain social distancing and keep us all safe. 

Hand Sanitising, Face Masks etc
Touch-free hand sanitisers are positioned by the entrance and exit to the building.  Please sanitise your hands on the way into the building and on the way out.

Because we are able to maintain 2 meter social distancing, the wearing of face masks and gloves is voluntary, and entirely the decision of individuals.

Track and Trace

Your names will be recorded for Track and Trace purposes, as required by government legislation.  This information will be kept for 21 days, and in line with GDPR (data protection) this will be destroyed after that time.

Hymn Singing

I know that for many, hymn singing is an essential part of worship.  At the moment singing of any kind in public worship is not possible.  It will be possible to listen to music, and where appropriate music to be listened too will be included as part of the service. 


Communion services are possible.  For now, as you might expect, it is not possible to share the common cup.  Please be assured that receiving the bread only is a valid Communion. The Communion will be celebrated at the main altar, but will be distributed from the platform in front of the chancel.  I will wear both gloves and a mask to do this and will drop the bread into your hand to avoid contact.


It probably goes without saying that it won’t be possible to pass a collection plate round, or to bring the plate up to be offered.  A plate will be left at the back of church for offerings.  There are obvious challenges with cash, although it won’t be turned down.  If you would like to make either a one-off donation, or a standing order to be paid through your bank account, the bank details for St Mary’s Acton are:

Bank a/c no: 11758808; Sort Code: 16-26-14.  


Initially refreshments will not be served.  However, this is possible.  This largely depends on sufficient people being willing to do all that is necessary to ensure that social distancing is kept during preparations and the willingness of those partaking refreshments to remain in the pews to be served and remain seated whilst they consume drinks.  Cups etc would need to be disposed of by the person who has used them after use.

END 30/11/20

Dear All

I am contacting you about a number of important matters in relation to the current coronavirus epidemic.

First and most importantly, please know that I am concerned for everyone within the parishes and continue to pray for all of you.  I will do my best to keep you up to date as and when appropriate, and I know that you will do all you can to support each other at this difficult and challenging time.  Advice has been flowing faster than it is possible to keep up with recently, and I need to digest all the information and work out how to apply it.  For now:

1. It is with regret that St Mary’s Acton is closed for the foreseeable future.  It will re-open in due course when Government advice suggests that it is safe to do so.

2. The Archbishops announced that all public worship is suspended until further notice.  You can read more about this at:  https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/archbishops-call-church-england-become-radically-different-public-worship                

3.  On Thursday 7th May Bishop Keith and Archdeacons Ian and Mike wrote to clergy giving permission for clergy to return to the church buildings for private prayer.  The advice doesn't consider the implications of clergy having more than one church, and so for now, until restrictions on non-essential travel are lifted, I will be based in Acton, but will be able to go into church to celebrate Communion on your behalf at 9.30 am on Sunday on behalf of everyone, (private prayer WILL NOT be possible in the church at the same time) and to say Morning Prayer Monday - Thursday and Saturday mornings at 8.45 am.  The churches remain closed to the public except for the designated person in each parish checking the buildings periodically for insurance purposes.  Please continue to respect this.  If anyone does need to enter a building for emergencies only, please put your name, the date and time you entered the building on the sheet immediately inside the church building. This is essential for contact tracing.

Another way of keeping in touch is to pray at the same time as others are praying.  John Malbon has provided some daily prayers (see Worship Resources page) which he and those in the Thursday Bible Study Group, are using at 10.00 each day.  Please feel free to join in at any of these times.  

4. I am working hard to ensure that appropriate worship resources appear on the websites as soon as possible.  

For now, 

there is a prayer for the coronavirus epidemic at:  https://www.churchofengland.org/ 
There are also various apps to download to help us to worship at:  https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps

5. Supporting those who are self-isolating is crucial.  A neighbourhood contact card is available on request which you may wish to use in your own localities.

6. I would like to set up telephone circles so that we can keep in touch.

7. There are various community Facebook pages being set up to support people through this difficult time.  At the moment I'm aware of a Community Facebook Page in Worleston and there is also a Facebook page which covers all the parishes at: COVID-10 Rural Support Group-South Cheshire.

8. Finally, but still important if you've managed to read this far, please respect the fact that I am in the vulnerable category.  It is important that I stay as well as possible in order to be available when I am really needed.  I am therefore restricting contact with people as much as is reasonable, but not entirely self-isolating.  I will continue to work, but it will be in different ways.  I continue to be available to you on the phone (01270 628864) and by e-mail    revanne@uwclub.net. I will continue to enable appropriate forms of worship and appropriate forms of pastoral care.   If I cannot meet your need because I am keeping myself to myself wherever possible, I can contact those who can.  I would be grateful of your understanding in this.  Please do not interpret it as an unwillingness to engage with the situation or as laziness on my part

Please do all you can to keep yourselves safe and to care for each other in new and different ways, and above all, please stay in touch.

In Christian love and with my prayers,


Revd S Anne Lawson
Vicar of the Cross Country Parishes of
St Mary's Acton, St Bartholomew's Church Minshull, St David's Wettenhall, St Oswald's Worleston