Rev Jo’s Letter – Feb 2021

Have you lost track of what we can or can’t do during Lockdown or whatever tier we are/were in? It’s hard to know what day it is sometimes. 

As I write this, our churches are now closed for worship for everyone’s safety. On Christmas Eve Essendine suffered flooding again and is drying out prior to deep cleaning, sanitising and possibly repairs. We will be Zooming a service each week- see page 16 for details. Email for a link if you, or friends and family far away would like to join us. It’s a good way of keeping in touch and feeling that God is in the midst of us. 

Our Facebook page, run so expertly by Sandra Chapman is another good way of staying in touch. If you haven’t seen it, search for St John’s Church Ryhall. Our website should be ready very shortly too. 

Thanks to a grant we shall soon have new gutters and downpipes at Ryhall to take rainwater away from the walls and roof, which will be a good start. 

But now, the subject I dread mentioning: Money. I know that people think the Church of England is awash with money, and can’t understand why ‘they’ ( Historic England? The C of E? The diocese? The Bishop?) don’t pay for the upkeep of churches. The short answer is that they have financial problems of their own and can’t support churches, which should, in any case, support themselves. 

Our fundraising for the roof is going very well; what we lack to a worrying degree is regular income to pay day to day expenses such as Parish Share, paid to the diocese to cover Ministry ( currently £10,246 at Ryhall), training, diocesan support, insurance, lighting, heating and so on. At present our weekly income comes nowhere near a week’s running costs. Inevitably it has declined since last March and lockdown. 

What we need is regular giving, ideally by Direct Debit. Gift Aid can be reclaimed if you are a tax payer. If you would consider this, no matter how much or how little you can afford, it would help us greatly. And if you haven’t been to church because you have been shielding, could you still give the amount you would have put in the collection over the last 11 months? 

The work of the church goes on; we marry, baptise and bury. We are here in the good times and the bad. If you value your parish church, even just as a historic building, please consider helping us financially (and see the ad on p.14!) 

Rachel and Leo Shead, plus Sandra Chapman, are offering an online Alpha course—details on pages 3 & 19. If you are interested in learning about the the Christian faith and exploring the big questions about life this might be for you. It is unthreatening, unpressured, interesting and open-ended. I recommend it to anyone. 

Enough moaning. Here’s a Vicar joke:

A 100 yr old man is given a lottery ticket which wins £2 million. His friends fear to tell the old man of his win in case the shock gives him a heart attack and kills him, so they ask the vicar to break the news gently. The vicar agrees, and broaches the subject carefully. 

“Tell me my friend,” he says, “life can be unpredictable at times. What would you do for instance if you were to win £2 million on the lottery?”. 

The old man thinks for a while and says: “Well vicar, I’ve had a long and happy life. At my age I don’t need millions of pounds. If I won that much on the lottery I’d give it all to you”. 

The shock of hearing this gives the vicar a heart attack and he dies. 

With all good wishes Jo