St Thomas à Becket church will reopen on Sunday 5 July for a short service of Morning Prayer at 10.30 a.m.
As a result of the ongoing crisis, churches are required to offer shorter services for a greatly reduced number of people so that hygiene and safety regulations can be strictly observed. Full Holy Communion services are not yet possible.
Until our locum arrives, Morning Prayer will be led by members of the congregation. If there are too many people for the 10.30 service, it may be possible to offer a second service at 11.15 a.m.
The Chaplaincy Council met on 6 May (via Zoom) and discussed the reopening in the context of the guidance received from our Bishops and what is permitted in Hamburg. Although churches may open, there are very strict conditions set. The Council therefore decided that the church will stay closed until the beginning of June to allow for proper preparation.
Fr Pete Wright is still our locum until the end of May, however, and will continue until then to film services together with members of the congregation and post them here: see church online.
There is a small group of people working on what we need to do to reopen the church. We will let you know as soon as we can when that will be and how we are going to do it.
We were told already when we were kids: You can pray anywhere. And at the same time people have their favourite spot and also their favourite time to spend some moments in prayer.
When I had a phase where the Daily Office was very important to me I had of course a corner in my bedroom with a candle and an icon. That was my spot for Morning and Evening Prayer. Setting apart a time and a place helped me stay in a healthy rhythm. Now I am rather unstructured. I have suggested reading (or praying or singing) through the psalms. And honestly these days I would just read them lying in bed before sleep. That’s my time and place. And that’s it at the moment.
What about you? Do you have a favourite spot for prayer? Is it at your kitchen table? Is it somewhere in a park? Or do you have a little corner for a candle, or a cross, an icon or some other symbols? Easiest way would be to send in a picture. We’d collect and share them next week!
The Arts Society London are running a series of free lectures – one every two weeks – accessible anytime during the two-week period via this link. The current lecture is by Sarah Dunant on “Venice: Dressed and Undressed” and is available from 21 April. Thanks to Pat Pledger of the Arts Society Hamburg for sharing this news with us.
This morning the Easter Candle was also lit in a short Dawn Service in the church with some parishioners getting together via Zoom while our choirmaster joined from the church.
If you’d like to sing along or listen to some Easter hymns here’s “Jesus Christ is risen today”. Stephen Brown director of music at St Catherine’s in Stuttgart put together a “virtual choir” in which our choirmaster was also able to join.
We have received a new booklet from the Diocese in Europe. It contains the full complement of readings, intercessions and hymns and is meant to support each one of us in our common prayer during Holy Week.
Every day during Holy Week, starting on Monday, BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a 15-minute programme on wild plants and flowers associated in history and folklore with the key moments of Christ’s Passion. Broadcast daily at 10:45 (9:45 in the UK), ‘The Passion in Plants’ can be found on BBC iPlayer Radio.
The latest edition of our parish magazine, Becket News, is fresh off the virtual press. You can download it here or find it on the Becket News page of the website along with back issues. Happy reading!
Our locum chaplain, Fr Pete Wright, and his wife Penny have unfortunately had to return to Los Angeles, since the US State Department ordered the return of all citizens who normally reside in the USA. We hope still to be able to provide some opportunities for the congregation to participate in shared online services with Fr Pete. Please also see the information on this website, particularly the Covid-19 update section.