We seem to be in a state of constant change ; so many instructions have been issued at very short notice, like the com- pulsory wearing of masks in church or the sudden lockdown in places where there had been a rise in the numbers of Covid-19 cases. It makes planning very difficult and as I write this on August 10th I have no idea whether we shall be able to hold services for Harvest, Remembrance or Christmas.
But the life of the churches goes on, if with slightly fewer services. We continue to Zoom a service whenever possible for those at home (if you’d like to join these, or know someone else who would, just let me know.) We currently have one Zoomer in France!) We’re not allowed to sing at present, but we have recorded hymns courtesy of YouTube.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the leaking roof at Ryhall, but thanks to the tireless efforts of Sandra Chapman, we have now been awarded three grants. (See p.5 for detailed information.) Two of these are dependent upon our the diocese and Historic England agreeing to our replacing the lead with terne steel, which would not attract thieves as lead does. We hope that both organisations will see the merit of this proposal as we pursue further funding.
A huge thank you to all those who have made personal donations; to the JAM club members who are walking from Carlby to Ryhall via Essendine to raise money, the shop and the pubs for hosting collection boxes and to Tom Nottidge who has offered to project manage the roof work, churchyard tidying
and—eventually—the installation of a new heating system and restoration of the Parvis Room above the porch. Thank you too to Big Blue Partner for a very generous donation of hand sanitiser and financial support.
Jon Breckon, diocesan Historic Churches Support Officer, hopes to have the church placed on Historic England’s At Risk list. If he is successful, it will enable us to access several other sources of funding.
The churchyard at Ryhall is very over- grown and untidy, but this should shortly be improved when our large band of volunteers descends on the first two Saturdays in September to cut back vegetation, remove ivy and brambles, re-plant borders, establish a wildlife area and plant more bulbs. Thank you, flag-pole ladies for these.
Our churches were built by mediaeval craftsmen and we must ensure that they stand for many more centuries to the glory of God.
And finally, do take a look at Ryhall’s Facebook page (St. John’s Church Ryhall) and look out for our brand new benefice website to be launched shortly gwashandglenchurches.org.uk.
Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided:
Lord for the years, we bring our thanks today.