St Philip and St James’s church, Grafton Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2DD

Letter from the Team Rector w/b 11 May

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ

I hope you are well and able to enjoy some of the beginnings of the easing of the lockdown, as well as the spring sunshine. Below you will find details of a range of news, services and activities, including how to ring-up and be part of services for those who are not able to get online. Do have a read!

This week a zoom meeting is taking place with the Bishops and Archdeacons to consider next steps regarding exiting the lockdown and how best for us to proceed. Once we have been able to reflect on this, we will come back with more information. It does seem clear, however, that we are likely to continue to livestream service and meet remotely for months ahead, so do encourage others to take part and get involved as best they can!

As we gather in these new ways, we can hopefully remind one another of the words from our readings this Sunday that we have not been left as orphaned but rather our God who is the one ‘in whom we live and move and have our being’. Wishing you peace and every blessing…

Interview with Revd. Fadi Diab, Rector of St Andrew’s
You can hear this week’s ‘COVID-19 frontline interview’ with Fadi Diab from St Andrew’s talking about how the virus has affected people there by clicking on the following links:
On Facebook
On Pip and Jim’s website

This Sunday: Eastertide 6
Do tune in this Sunday 10am for our Holy Communion service when we will be reflecting on Jesus’ promise that we will not be left as orphans but will receive the Holy Spirit. Revd. Gary Grady will be presiding and Kay Edwards of Pip and Jims will be preaching. The order of service is attached. You can join the service online here

Sunday Service for those not online:
You can also join in with our Sunday services by phone! At 10am on Sunday morning you can dial 0203 481 5240. When prompted enter the following meeting identity number: 881 4263 6121 and then press the # key. The call will cost the same as any usual call to a UK landline. Do let others know you might have thought they were unable to be part of this.

‘Teatime church’
This Sunday at 4.30pm there will be a half hour service for families with toddlers and key stage one children via Zoom. Our teatime church service will last around 30 minutes. Please email Nick for details, let him know the names and ages of those who will be coming and we will shape it around you! Email Nick direct.

The Long Table
You may well have seen the interview with Tom Herbert regarding the Long Table initiative.  They are now looking for 3-4 volunteers in Cheltenham to help pack meals into cool boxes at The Sober Parrot ready for delivery. 12-4pm as many days a week as possible (ideally 3 or 4, but could be less if more volunteers). Ideally live alone or with someone else self-isolating to limit interaction, or must wear a facemask. Anyone interested should contact Helen Trew directly

Ascension Day
Thursday 21st May is the Feast of the Ascension. There will be a streamed celebration of Holy Communion at 9:00am from Fr. Peter Quinnell’s kitchen. It is part of the Ascension Day Liturgy that the Paschal Candle is extinguished after the Gospel reading to signify that Jesus has ascended into heaven- if you, like many burn a candle during our services as a reminder that Christ is in our midst, you also extinguish your candle.

Praise and Prayer
On Sunday May 24th the online team Praise and Prayer Service will include an opportunity to give thanks for answered prayer in this difficult time. We need four or five people to film themselves talking about a specific way in which God has responded to a prayer they have offered to Him. The video should be no longer than a minute please! We expect there will be quite a variety of experiences to be shared, and believe it could be very encouraging to us all as we continue in our prayers, with praise and thanksgiving. Please let Ken know if you are willing to do this at and then send it to me by Tuesday 19th May.

Online volunteers
We need some adults with DBS checks from the South Cheltenham team to be part of our Youth meetings that are taking place on Zoom. In particular we need volunteers to be part of ‘Next Gen’ (our 14-18yr old programme) which is meeting Sundays 7.00pm-8.30pm. If you think that you can help, please contact Hanna