weekly service

Church services

Hello Farlam folk. Happy Ascensiontide!

Just thought I'd drop you all a line.

Now the clergy are allowed back into our churches 'to say the office' I've made Friday mornings at 9am my time for saying Morning Prayer at Farlam. I've attached some photos. Since it's Ascensiontide, one is the Ascension window behind the altar. There's also a close-up of the phoenix at the bottom - a sign of how the life of the church and the community will rise up from the ashes after this testing time is over - we hope and pray! The church was a bit stuffy, I opened one of the small windows for 45 minutes I was there. Some debris had fallen in places, and I cleared up the small amount that had fallen in the chancel. Otherwise it all seems ok.

I didn't change Lynne's beautiful purple altar frontal, but will wait until we're past Trinity Sunday and then put out the green. However the churchyard is nevertheless dressed for the season with the white 'Ascension Candles' in full bloom on the horse chestnut - see the last photo.

Ross has given the grass a timely cut. Our thanks to Lynne for speaking with Probation about the possibility of them returning to cut the grass in the future. Looks like they will be back - hopefully later this summer. In the meantime I think we'll have to proceed with paying Ross, and getting the cuts done as and when he's available and it's needed... I can have a look at the state of play every Friday. 

Tim - thought you might like to see a photo of how the roses are doing! See attached.

I also had a chat with Paul Skeates at the churchyard gates. He and Claire have a lot of plants and they will go on sale at the Hub, with half the money made coming to church. I think they'll flag it up in the village news. NB this Village News is coming out online this time ie no deliveries. We'll get posters up round the parish telling people how to get hold of them - there maybe some hard copies available at the Hub. Otherwise anyone who is on email but doesn't get one sent (you'll all get one) can contact the hub by email to get one. Of course people can print one or two off for neighbours...

As time goes on we will need to consider what we do about our finances, which will suffer as a result of this situation. A key thing will be whether the Craft Fair will be allowed to happen or not. Lynne and myself will be looking at some of the ideas the diocese are suggesting as ways to do giving and fund-raising differently under current restrictions.

Finally - huge thanks to Janice for her daily reflections and prayers, which I know are so appreciated. And to Ann for maintaining the website, which is so important at this time.

God bless,

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Loving God,
as your Son healed the sick
and brought good news to the needy,
be with us this day.

Loving Jesus, as you taught us
to ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you’,
be with all the medical staff this day.

Loving Spirit,
your gift is healing.
Bring you healing into our homes, our hospitals and our county.
But most of all, be with us this day. AMEN

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Most of our churches will be open during the day for people to go in for prayer or reflection.

Next week I will be praying morning and evening prayer each day, and while the Bishops have instructed us not to invite anyone to join us for that, they want us to make it known that prayer is being said for the parishes and the wider world in this way. I will pray at Hayton each morning at 9am, and then at 4pm each day at one of the other parish churches, so that in the course of the week the office is said at some point in each parish. It would be nice to think some of you, when able, would also pray at the same time, perhaps using the Lord's Prayer.

Letter from Edward Johnsen to the Parish

Dear All,

I'm just making sure everyone is aware that as of now all public worship in our parish churches is suspended until further notice - because of the coronavirus situation. The instruction was given by the Church of England yesterday.

We are also being encouraged not to hold meetings unless they are absolutely necessary. We should receive advice soon from the diocese about the procedures involved in suspending the legal requirements to hold APCMs, if we are going to postpone these. As soon as I have more information of this I will be in touch again. 

Weddings and funerals can still take place, but only with a limit on numbers in the congregation to ensure social distancing rules are not breached. I don't know yet what the extent of that limit is to be. Advice on christenings and the reading of banns is yet to be given.

Those churches which are open daily we would like to keep open if at all possible, so they can be used as places for private prayer - providing 2 metre distancing rules are observed alongside those around general public hygiene and handwashing. I will commit to be in each of the six village churches at least once each week for the offices of evening or morning prayer. When I have worked out a weekly pattern I will let you know, and any who would like to join me - sitting at a distance! - will be most welcome. 

I am in touch with various people in our communities who are exploring ways to support those who are in isolation. There is a meeting at Brampton Community Centre this evening, which I will attend and report back from. This networking and support will be a major focus for us during coming weeks (months?). When I know more I will email round again and ask people to let me know who among us is self-isolating, and who is willing to offer support by phoning, or collecting prescriptions, or helping with shopping. It's hard to know how great the need for this will be at the moment. In some parishes it may be a case of church members getting involved by joining in with schemes led by other groups, but in some it may be that we take more of a lead. The meeting this evening will probably partly be about ensuring that volunteers are somehow registered / authorised. There's a danger is this kind of situation that vulnerable people could be taken advantage of.

There are various options for getting worship and prayer resources out to people by the internet. Good place to look for links to live-streamed services and other devotional resources are the Church of England website and the Carlisle Diocese website. I and my colleagues will be considering what we might be able to offer locally via email, social media etc I would anticipate news bulletins, prayer needs and prayers, and spiritual food for thought will all be on the agenda.

Well that's probably enough for now! Please look after yourselves and each other, and hold this situation in your prayers. For our parishes and networks and families there may be hard times ahead. It is also an opportunity for the renewal of our faith and our service. 

'Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord'.

Take care and God bless,




Unfortunately some radical changes have had to be made to the way we minister as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
All public worship has been suspended until further notice.
Funerals, weddings and christening are to be scaled back considerably:
We are sorry that it will be particularly distressing for families to have funerals for their loved ones held under certain restrictions, but the instructions we have been given are radical. Numbers attending are to be minimised. Services that would have been held in church will be replaced by graveside services.
It is suggested that families consider arranging events or memorial services celebrating the lives of the deceased which can be held later, when government restrictions have been lifted.
Again, we are sorry that weddings can only take place with extremely limited numbers: the couple, two witnesses and the priest. No organist or vergers will be in attendance.
Banns cannot be read as public worship is suspended, but a couple can instead apply for a Common License from the Diocesan Surrogate, and the fee for this will be waived.
Unfortunately it is impossible at this stage to tell when these restrictions will be lifted.
Attendance is to be limited to the candidate, parents, godparents and priest. When the candidate is an infant they will be held at the font by a parent, and the water poured with a shell.

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The joint letter from the Archbishops can be down loaded here