At Trinity the building was reopened for church services six weeks ago, after ensuring a Covid-19 risk assessment was in place.
People are socially distanced, and sanitise their hands on the way in, and mostly pre-book. Everybody registers. People wear face covering, and do not sing the hymns but listen and watch videos of hymns, or listen to the piano.
The service is only 45 minutes rather than an hour. The sermon, prayers, and readings are not very different. But because people are wearing face coverings the preacher does not get the same feedback.
Before the lockdown people would stay around chatting for up to another hour after the service, but now leave within minutes.
This week was harvest. There were displays of flowers, and a few fruit and vegetables. Normally there is a procession during the first hymn as people bring up tins and packets of rice and pasta to be given to a homeless shelter or Asylum Welcome. This year people donated money so that produce could be brought on their behalf for Asylum Welcome.
At Trinity, service sheets with sermons are sent out beforehand to people who are not able to attend. Other churches stream their services.
Thankyou to the Abingdon-on-Thames Parish team who have recorded a Thought for Today from Monday to Friday since the 13th April. The last recording was for June 30th with Revd Paul Smith on becoming friends of time. The recordings are all still available at https://www.abingdon-st-helens.org.uk/Parish/P_TFTD.html.
They have ended for now. Normal life is resuming. That may be a new normal.
The churches of St Helen’s and St Nicolas have been open for personal prayer.
Wednesday 11 am – 1pm
Saturday 11 am – 1pm
St Nicolas (in the Market Square):
Monday 10 am – 1pm
Churches are allowed to open from July 4th if they have measures to stop Covid-19 transmission. That will include distancing, hygiene, and information.
On the first Easter Sunday Jesus appeared to some women first …
Luke 24:1-5 New Revised Standard Version
1. But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
At this morning’s virtual service at Trinity Church Revd Ian Griffiths said “On that first Easter morning, it was as if the whole world were sleeping when the most amazing thing happened.”
This Easter morning I am looking out of the window, and see new leaves on the trees. There is a house in East St Helen Street in Abingdon where there is a display of blossoms and flowers and palm crosses, that many people can enjoy walking past.
The lockdown is a strange return to almost forgotten days of family life. Our grown up children are back with us because of the lockdown. We decorated Pace Eggs with flowers, and then wrapped them in onion skins and string, and boiled them – as is the custom in my wife’s home town Ulverston. The picture above shows a Pace Egg in the Pitts Rivers Museum in Oxford – a few miles from Abingdon.
Abingdon has a historic connection to The Cross.
The symbol of the Borough of Abingdon was a cross surrounded by four small crosses.
The Fraternity of the Holy Cross was instrumental in building Abingdon Bridge (around 1416) and the Long Alley Almshouse (around 1446) and works in St Helen’s Church. Ancient tradition held that St Helen found the original cross in Jerusalem – the cross that held Jesus. According to Francis Little, The Fraternity set up a stately cross in St Helen’s Church (before 1388).
Christians remember with solemnity the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. They believe that Jesus was crucified by the Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem and died on a cross. It was a cruel and humiliating way to die.
The gravestone with the metal cross is in St Helen’s Churchyard.