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

Worship this Sunday & Pastoral News

Dear All

Following the government announcements yesterday and our move to tier four across the county, I and the Churchwardens have been reviewing the situation regarding worship.

Whilst the legal position is that we may gather for worship, we are very mindful of the government’s ‘Stay at home’ message and the rising rates of infections and hospitalisation. Our sense is that these figures are likely to worsen over coming weeks with the effects of the Christmas gatherings and the new school term. We also feel that our overriding priority is to keep everyone safe, particularly in these stringent tier four conditions, as we await the roll out of the vaccination programme. We have decided therefore that we will NOT be gathering for worship this Sunday at St Stephens. Instead we would encourage everybody to join online in the service being broadcast from St Peters. This can be viewed in the usual way on Sunday at 10am on Facebook: Next week I will be meeting via zoom with clergy colleagues and churchwardens, as we keep this situation under review.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to let you know the sad news that following a short illness Bishop Patrick died on Boxing Day. As many of you will know, Patrick suffered from cancer some years ago and in recent weeks his condition deteriorated rapidly. Val and family have, however, been able to spend some good time with him over his last few weeks and I was able to visit and pray with him on a number of occasions. Patrick has been a wonderful, graceful presence in our congregation for many years and will be sorely missed. In the last few years he has been very active as a Fellow of the University, in our ministry to international students and in the wise counsel and prayer ministry which he has quietly exercised on a daily basis. Before his time with us, Patrick had a distinguished vocation as Bishop of Southwell and as a missionary Bishop in northern Argentina. Formal obituaries will be published in the new year and we will forward these on to you. We are currently planning for a small family funeral to take place early in the new year, followed by a larger memorial service at Southwell Minster later in the year. In the meantime, can I ask that you hold Val, Rachel, Johnny and Davey in your prayers as we give thanks for a life well lived and for the grace we have witnessed amongst us.

Wishing you peace and every blessing as we look forward to a new and better 2021!

Rev. Nick Davies