Posted on the 11th Sep 2020 in the category Announcements
From Monday 14 September in England the Government’s ‘rule of six’ to help limit the transmission of the coronavirus will apply: 'Don’t meet in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors, at home or elsewhere.'
‘People should not see this as a short-term thing’, the chief medical officer has warned: ‘the period between now and spring is going to be difficult’.
But there are a limited number of exemptions. Covid-19 secure venues, such as properly preprared places of worship, can still hold larger numbers in total, though groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups.
Following the announcement, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s recovery group, said, "I welcome confirmation from the Prime Minister that places of worship can still hold more than six people in total, … and the reassurance that public worship can continue.” More information on the Church of England’s response may be found here
I want therefore to encourage all Christians to follow the encouragement of the New Testament writers themselves, and remain faithful to communal worship, especially the Eucharist, to give God our thanks, and to receive the strength for our daily living we can receive nowhere but from the hand of Christ.
To PROTECT THE NHS and SAVE LIVES
HANDS – FACE – SPACE
At all times, wash hands regularly. And beyond your home, wear a face covering indoors, keep 2 metres space from people you do not live with
Appointment of a Healthy Churches Mentor
Posted on the 1st Jun 2020 in the category Announcements
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
‘Whit Monday’ 2020
Appointment of a Healthy Churches Mentor for the parishes of the See of Ebbsfleet
On 5 March 2016 the Ebbsfleet Lay Congress at Coventry Cathedral was addressed by the then Archdeacon Missioner in the Diocese of Coventry, Morris Rodham, who talked about strategies for church growth and evangelization, and especially about the 8 Essential Qualities which underpinned a programme for Growing Healthy Churches that he had introduced, very successfully, across the Diocese of Coventry. That same day was also addressed by Bishop Rowan Williams, on the theme of ‘Growing the Catholic Community’.
Subsequently Archdeacon Morris proposed to make the programme available to parishes across the See of Ebbsfleet too. With Bishop Jonathan’s support the Diocese of Coventry included the See of Ebbsfleet in a funding bid to the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund, which obtained funding for a full-time post to undertake the work of supporting Ebbsfleet parishes in the aspiration to grow the church using the Healthy Churches Programme.
At last the scheme can begin, and Bishop Jonathan is delighted to announce that The Reverend Canon Gary Ecclestone SSC has been appointed to this new role available to the parishes under his oversight.
Fr Gary has been Vicar of Hanslope & Castlethorpe in the Diocese of Oxford since 2003 and is Area Dean of Newport. He is no stranger to the wider Ebbsfleet Area having been born and brought up in Lichfield diocese, came to faith as a student in Exeter diocese, completed a PGCE living in Truro diocese, trained for ordination in Oxford diocese, and served his title in Salisbury diocese: all dioceses in the area served by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.
Fr Gary’s role will include supporting and mentoring incumbents across the Ebbsfleet area, working with PCCs and key lay people to reflect on the wider life and health of their church communities, introducing the 8 Essential Qualities and supporting parishes in surveying their church life, identifying both things to celebrate as well as areas for future development, and helping implement the Society Bishops’ agenda of ‘Forming Missionary Disciples’. He will be part of a network with others in the Catholic movement who are engaged locally in similar roles
Fr Gary says, “I am hugely excited, albeit slightly trepidatious, at being called to this new post which will take me to a hugely diverse set of parishes from the Fal Estuary in Cornwall, to the very north of Derbyshire. I hope I can bring with me a genuine enthusiasm and passion for growing the church and I am really looking forward to working with priest colleagues and committed lay people, as together we look to take stock of where we are, and discern what the Spirit might be saying to the local Church in each context.”
Bishop Jonathan says, “I am delighted that the efforts and creativity of so many colleagues in the dioceses Coventry and Oxford and the Strategic Investment Board have made this role available to those under my oversight; and I encourage parishes and clergy to embrace it with joy. I’m even more pleased that Fr Gary, who is both a faithful and creative parish priest, is to be the colleague who will share this aspect of my own ministry for and with them. This appointment could not have come at a more opportune moment as the future opens up before us in an unexpected way. It is clear now, as we contemplate life beyond the pandemic, that whatever lies ahead in the design of God for his Church, she has to be herself, serving God, living out all the Gospel reveals. For that, Christians, and Christian communities, need to grow in confidence and holiness, as well as in number from every age group. I look forward to making the most of the time we have with Fr Gary in this role, and thank him for taking it on. May the Virgin Mary, ‘mother of the Church’, accompany with her prayers the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel to the people of our time.”
Announcement of the new Bishop of Lewes
Posted on the 29th Apr 2020 in the category Announcements
Announcement of the new Bishop of Lewes
I am delighted at the appointment of Prebendary Will Hazlewood to be Bishop Suffragan of Lewes, and offer my congratulations to him – and to his new colleague, the Revd Ruth Bushyager, the new Bishop Suffragan of Horsham.
I have had the privilege of working closely with Will on many occasions, not least as one of my representatives in the Diocese of Exeter, and I have always been enriched and encouraged by the experience. He brings to the episcopate a wonderful range of skills, and is a person of grace, patience, wisdom, and humour. He will bring to his new ministry, and to his working relationships across the diocese and the wider episcopate, a rich pastoral experience and a deep desire to see the Church open up to its full calling.
Conscious of the challenges which accompany the spiritual and pastoral ministry that he is about to undertake, I have assured Bishop Will of my fraternal affection and personal good wishes, and my prayer that he – together with Sophie and their children – may feel the huge tide of unmerited love and prayer which comes the way of any new bishop. I hope that the Diocese of Chichester and the Church of England will share my pleasure at this appointment and support Will and his family with prayer and love.
St Catherine of Siena, 2020
Renewal of Vows
Posted on the 7th Apr 2020 in the category Announcements
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet will live-stream an Act of Prayer for the Renewal of Ordination Promises before the Blessed Sacrament for the clergy under his oversight at 11.30 on Maundy Thursday morning via his Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/bishopofebbsfleet
To fulfill the law of Christ: prayer for the Church in London.
Posted on the 23rd Mar 2020 in the category Announcements
To fulfill the law of Christ
To the clergy and people of the See of Ebbsfleet
From the Bishop
We hear the word ‘communion’ often in the church’s life. It’s a word with many layers of meaning. First it means the unity that we each have in the Spirit with Christ. Then, as a result, unity with one another in Christ, a life while is mutually recognizable, finally, by unity with the faith, worship and life of the apostles, most especially the Eucharist.
Communion carries with it the obligation, strongly present in the New Testament, that Christians should ‘Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way … fulfill the law of Christ.’ (Gal 6.2). Each one makes himself or herself a servant of the others, ‘washing the feet’ of his or her brothers and sisters in response to the Lord’s ‘new law’, his new commandment of love (cf. John 13:1-35). That mutuality is what is represented in the icon shown here – in which a young monk carries an old monk on his back. I want to ask you to exercise that ‘mutual burden-bearing’ in a particular way: in your prayers for the Church in London, because London is ahead of the rest of the country in seeing a steep rise in the number of those falling sick
Therefore, last evening the Bishops of London, Southwark, Rochester and Chelmsford communicated their regretful but necessary decision to close all Anglican churches across the London boroughs, even for private and personal prayer (though the clergy may continue to enter them to pray and to celebrate the church’s liturgy). See https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/closure-of-church-buildings/ The Dean and Chapter of Westminster has decided likewise.
This decision couldn’t be more serious and was taken because of the need, as the bishops put it, to ‘demonstrate how important physical distancing is in saving lives’. Of course it affects Anglicans, but let us not (ever) forget our fellow Christians. London is an environment in which there is the widest possible range of other Christian communities, which minister collectively to a huge international range of the capital’s poorest and most vulnerable.
This will inevitably be a huge blow to the parishes of The Society under the Bishops of Fulham and Richborough, and their clergy who have been taking comfort and sense of purpose from ministering to those who come in through their church’s doors, and making available a safe and peaceful place, where Christ himself may minister through prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Pray for them; pray for all fellow Anglicans; and – in the same breath – pray for all other Christians in London, and those who have sought shelter, consolation and faith in the capital’s churches.
Yours, in the Lord
Almighty Father, who taught us through your Son Jesus Christ that unless we love one another we cannot fulfil your law: of your goodness and by your grace give us a true concern for the needs of our brothers and sisters in the faith in their witness and service, that in sharing one another’s burdens we may fulfil your law.; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.