West Dereham Sign Gary Trouton

St Andrew’s West Dereham Newsletter Winter 2020

January 2021

Dear Friends, We hope that you are all keeping safe and well during these prolonged difficulties with the Coronavirus: If you have any concerns, for yourself, your family or your neighbours, please let us know so that we can bring or find the help needed. Even the simplest things are sometimes difficult when you are feeling unwell or fearful. We have so far been unable to hold any services in church since March. Most of the other churches in our group have started again, but we have workmen in, replacing the stonework and medieval glass of the East Window. This is a dusty job, with scaffolding and ladders in the Chancel so that we do not feel we can have services. The church will reopen for private prayer once the works are complete. To keep everyone ‘Covid safe’ please follow the directions in church and use the handsanitiser. Surfaces will be wiped down every night. Many of you have responded by bringing suitable food items to the church porch during the recent invitation to provide “free school meals” during the half-term break. Your generosity was such that we were able to take the surplus food to the Downham Market Food Bank where it will be able to supply the needy families of the wider community: So a very big thank-you to all who responded! If you have been into church in the last few years you may have noticed the changes we have gradually been introducing so that those who visit or attend services can be more comfortable. Particularly, you may be glad that our team has installed a spacious toilet – and we would like to acknowledge Nick Drew for his help in getting the various trenches for pipework and outfall dug and filled in and for helping us with re-instating the church floor after installation of the necessary pipework. Similarly we had very generous help from Clive Clarke in laying the floor screed and in installing all the fittings and pipework. The whole of the old church wiring has been replaced and some new lighting installed. Alongside this, a new sound system has been installed (partly funded by a generous donation from one of our villagers) so that it is much easier both to see and hear. This is a great improvement, particularly when we have large gatherings, such as the carol service, funerals and weddings. We also hope to install a lovely pipe-organ above the toilet, with the console opposite, so that you will hear beautiful accompaniments to your singing. This will wait until we have sufficient finances. Since March life has changed for everyone and that includes the folk who worship at St Andrew’s. We have sadly not been able to use the church for worship since then but we have discovered a new and surprising way of doing church. We tried out Zoom and it worked. Even some of our congregation who might call themselves novices when it comes to computers have managed to get online and join us. Every Sunday there is a service at 9.30 am (6.00pm on the 4th Sunday). We have an average around 24 people ‘attending’ from local churches, together with some from Lincolnshire and Warwickshire.

There are many advantages with Online Church

• no travelling - you can stay in the warm and even finish off your breakfast at the same time • people who are housebound can now attend • the talks can be made more interesting as we can display pictures on the screen to illustrate different points • people can join from different locations all around the world • you can meet with people you don’t normally meet with and make new friends • no limitations on numbers • we can still have hymns and sing along in our own homes • a different person takes the service each week so there is variety!

Our Monday prayer group is also online and we have doubled our numbers. Do let us know if you would like us to pray for any situation.

Janet is arranging an Advent study and discussion series, ‘Journey to Christmas’ on Wednesday evenings, by Zoom, beginning on November 25th. These explore four characters who eventually came to witness the birth of Jesus. We hope you will enjoy this interesting opportunity to prepare for Christmas. This year we will also have the Carol Service on Zoom and this will give the opportunity for you to join in singing the carols with us, at home, and some of you may be asked to read one of the Christmas Story lessons from the comfort of your own armchairs. That will be on Sunday 20th Dec at 6.30pm on Zoom - link available on Wissey Valley Benefice Facebook page or via email from Janet. We will also have a Zoom Christmas Day service at 10.00am. St Andrews is West Dereham’s church. If your family has lived around here for generations it is the church of many of your ancestors. We welcome you all to feel very much part of all that is going on. Contact : Janet Tanton (Licensed Lay Minister) janet.tanton@gmail.com 01366 500031 Details of our activities and services are also available on https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/14001

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