A very different Harvest Festival, with no hymns being sung and what we are now sadly getting used to as our weekly act of of worship – a low Mass with the congregation remaining seated through most of the service. However it was still, although muted, a celebration of our expression of thanks for the good things on God’s earth and a time for showing how we wish to share those good things with those less fortunate.
All the donations were passed on to help those in desperate straits who rely on the Porch Box Charity to keep body and soul together.
Wonderful news! Fr Croft has returned to the Vicarage. All traces of the fire have been eliminated and he is now installed in to what appears to be a new home. We are delighted to have him back amongst us and are looking forward to helping him celebrate his 90th birthday at the end of the month
Report presented to the Deanery Synod on Sept 15th of the effects of the Pandemic on the St Hilda’s Community
In early March, as the Pandemic spread so life changed at St Hilda’s – use of hand sanitisers, no shaking hands at the “Peace”, Communion under one kind.
After March 15th all services were suspended.
From April 19th onwards Sunday Mass was celebrated via Zoom, set up and hosted by Canon Denby. Members of the congregation assisted as Readers of the Word and in preparing and reading Intercessions.
Fr Croft does not have a computer or internet but through the kind offices of his neighbour in the flats where he is in temporary lodgings he was able to participate in a number of the services.
On July 26th the church was reopened for Sunday worship, strictly following Diocesan guidelines in their Risk Assessment regarding social distancing and conduct of the service. Fr Croft has thus been able to participate fully in all the Sunday services.
After the first service it was decided to move an altar from the north aisle to the dais to provide a Nave altar for use at Mass. This enables the celebrant to have everything close to hand to whilst celebrating hence reducing the risk of transmission of the virus.
The customary Solemn High Mass with organ, hymn singing and incense has been replaced by a “said” Low Mass.
All of this has enabled our traditional community spirit and cohesion to continue despite the problems. Between 25 and 41 persons (averaging around 38) were able to take part each week in the Zoom services and we are delighted to see that since reopening a similar number are participating in the services in church. (Prior to Lock-Down around 35/40 would regularly attend the Sunday service). Since reopening however, not all members of the community have felt able to return to participate in the services in church but they are keeping in touch and we hope that once this crisis is over, they will feel able to rejoin.
A major difference is that prior to lock-down a Mass was celebrated at St Hilda’s on six days every week whereas now we are able to celebrate a Mass on Sundays only as the church must remain closed for 72 hours after each service. A churchwarden comes in to church each Wednesday to check the building.
Throughout the pandemic and since reopening, the church weekly Newsletter has continued to be produced and this is circulated by email to members of the church community and friends and is displayed on the Church notice board.
Also, during the Lock-Down members of the church have been making weekly telephone calls to individuals who because of the situation were isolated and in need of social contact.
It is a shame that we have been unable to hold Requiem Masses for those members of our community who have passed away during this time. It is intended that Requiem Masses will be held as soon as it becomes possible.
As with all churches we rely heavily on money generated from fund-raising activities. As this source of income has dried up we have been asking for donations and people have been very generous. There is still however a deficit in comparison to previous years which is a cause for concern.
We managed to hold a PCC meeting to discuss the arrangements for the re-opening of church. This took place in rather challenging circumstances as two members were shielding which resulted in the majority of the participants being socially distanced in the church hall and the two “shielders” being obliged to participate via Zoom. Not easy!
Monday 22nd March – Following the Prime Minister’s announcement the church is now closed until further notice
A very different kind of Mothering Sunday Celebration today at St Hilda’s. No Mass, no candles and no flowers for our mothers; no music and a small band of the faithful sitting quietly. But the atmosphere was beautiful, prayerful as the people who came to pray did so in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. There were only six people but one walked the Stations of the Cross, others used their Rosary or prayer books or sat quietly praying for the people from our parish, the children from our school and of course for those who are ill, particularly those who are suffering the effects of Coronavirus.
Please pray for those whose lives have ended through this dreadful disease and give thanks that our Lord is with them.
God bless you and keep you safe.
17th March 2020
All church services at St Hilda’s have been suspended until further notice.
23rd Feb The Christening of Sophie Martha McCaffrey
Around forty friends and family from both ends of the country came together at St Hilda’s to celebrate Sophie’s special day. It was obvious that Sophie was enjoying all the attention as the smiles never stopped! Is it a record, how often are there FOUR great-grandmothers at a Christening? The church was packed as Canon Denby and Father Croft conducted a beautiful service.
We then all adjourned to Bury Golf Club to “wet the baby’s head”.