Larkfield and East Malling
Called to Love and Praise
Welcome to visitors from around the world! This month includes visitors from Lagos, Nigeria and Hillsborough, North Carolina - Welcome.
Letter from our Minister, Naomi Oates
This Sunday, we enter the season of Advent, as we watch and wait for the birth of the Christ-child at Christmas. Some of us will be exploring the theme of 'waiting' through our Advent Bible study course, based on Paula Gooder's book The Meaning is in the Waiting. Paula talks about Advent as requiring us to have 'double vision,' as we simultaneously look back to events that happened 2000 years ago, and forward to the coming of the kingdom of God in all its fullness.
Many of us have had a great deal of practice 'waiting' this year. Following Monday's announcements, many are now eagerly awaiting 2 December, when the current restrictions will change, and Christmas, when families and friends will be able to gather in limited ways over five days.
As many of you will have seen, it has been confirmed that Kent and Medway will be placed within 'Tier 3' ('Very High Alert') when the current lockdown ends on Wednesday 2 December. This is due to be reviewed on Wednesday 16 December.
In light of this, and the need to keep one another safe, churches in the North Kent Methodist Circuit will not be reopening their doors for in-person services and groups in the immediate future. Thank you to those who responded to my email yesterday, many of whom agreed that, under Tier 3, the wisest and kindest course of action would be to meet online and by phone, rather than in our church buildings.
This decision does not affect those services that use our buildings and have been permitted to continue during the current lockdown, such as preschools. It also does not affect external users whose activities are permitted under Tier 3. The full Government guidance as to the activities permitted in each tier can be found here.
Opportunities for worship and fellowship from home will continue (see this morning's weekly email for details). I will be in touch again soon with further details about those services and events that will definitely be taking place online as we celebrate Advent and Christmas together - and what might be able to take place if the restrictions ease before Christmas!
I recognise that the continuing restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty are, for many of us, a cause of anxiety and distress. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if we can offer you practical or pastoral support.
For details of services, and other opportunities to worship, check out our Services page.
For latest news of events, check out our Notices page.
Some of you have asked recently for a reminder of when my maternity leave is due to begin. Assuming that all goes to plan (famous last words!) my maternity leave will begin on 7 January. While I am away, the Revd Dr Bonni-Belle Pickard will have pastoral oversight of the church, and will be the key point of contact between the church and the circuit staff. However, over the next six weeks, I'd love to hear from you, if you'd like to talk or pray together, over the phone, in person, or via Zoom! Please don't hesitate to be in touch.