Last Updated 12/6/2020 – The Government has released guidelines re the opening of churches as of June 15th. Given the very stringent health and safety measures and fact that English Heritage still have the site closed, St. Mary’s will continue to remain inaccessible to the general public. This includes access for private prayer and visiting the Churchyard. We will be assessing the situation again in July. If you have any questions or concerns about the closure, please contact the Parish Office (M-F 9:30am-2:30pm) on 02392 321380 or email stmaryoffice@btconnect.com

LATEST STATEMENT FROM THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

LATEST INFORMATION REGARDING PORTCHESTER CASTLE

What has been happening at St. Mary’s……

SERVICES:

Following the announcement from the Archbishop of Canterbury, all services in the Church of England are to be suspended immediately, and for the foreseeable future.This will also include all smaller mid-week groups like house groups, youth, courses, wedding preparation, PCC etc.

We will be posting content each week on our new YouTube channel. This will include a weekly Eucharist, worship songs, junior church at home videos and more.

They will also be added to our Facebook page and here on the website. Please like and share our posts on Facebook so more people get to see what we are doing.

Each day we will be posting a blog with prayers and any updates we might have received. You can find the daily blog here.

Each week we will be producing a scaled back Keeping in Touch called St. Mary’s News. It will have weekly updates and any special prayer requests. You can find the most current one on our homepage and previous ones here.

FUNERALS

Funerals at the graveside or in crematoriums can still take place, but only in line with the Prime minister’s Statement. Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way.

WEDDINGS

Weddings are currently on hold. Weddings may be re-booked for later in the year or next year. Please contact Emma at the office with any questions.

BAPTISMS 

Baptisms at St. Mary’s are also on hold, we will be in touch to reschedule. Emergency baptisms can take place in a hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygiene precautions and physical distancing as far as this is possible.

ST MARY’S, THE TEA ROOMS AND PARISH OFFICE:

The church building is now closed, we will re-open as soon as we are able to. English Heritage has also informed us that the castle gates will be locked. This will have an impact on access to our churchyard, we are awaiting information on this currently.

We have made the difficult decision to close the Tea Rooms for the foreseeable future. With the current guidelines around social distancing we feel that this would be best.

Thank you to everyone that frequents the Tea Rooms and we hope to see you all again soon.

The Parish Office (Tel 02392 321380) will be closed, but phone calls will be re-directed to the Parish Administrator’s home phone and regular office hours (M-F 9:30-2:30) will still be held, although remotely.

St Mary’s is not going to sleep, and will continue to minister as best we can, but with a different way of doing church. We will try and maintain pastoral contact through Facebook, Website, Mail Chimp and telephone.

We are meeting with other community leaders to see how we can best care for those elderly and vulnerable in the community and provide for practical needs.

DONATIONS

Our life together at St Mary’s is funded by donations from regular worshippers, friends of the Church and visitors.  We know that during the outbreak it is going to be difficult financially for many, including us here at St. Mary’s. We will be making reductions to our outgoings, as many will be and we understand if you need to reduce your giving.

As there will not be a regular collection each week and our tearoom will not be producing income, please consider if you are able to give a one time gift or increase your regular giving. Do you usually put your gift into the offering bag on Sundays? Maybe you could give online instead. To set up regular giving please click here for more information or to make a one-off online gift please click here.

Your donation will go into our ‘General Fund’ and will be used to support a whole host of important aspects of Church life.  Perhaps it may end up helping to fund repairs to the fabric of the ancient building, providing resources for the assemblies we lead in local schools, or financing the essential work we do with the bereaved or the housebound.  Either way, we promise to put your donation to good use – we are very grateful for your support and generosity.

CONCERTS AND EVENTS

Royal Marine Band Concert 2020

The Royal Marine Band concert has been postponed until the Autumn. Please get your money back from where you paid, if it was from the office, please call 02392 321380 to discuss options. Those who booked for this concert will obviously get priority for the next RM Concert

Summer Lunchtime Concert Series 2020

In the light of the current situation the Summer Lunchtime concerts are under review. Please check back here for more information as it becomes available.

 

Coronavirus Scams – How to spot and avoid

Latest Covid-19 Advice from Fareham Borough Council
Scams can take many forms, and some can be very sophisticated and seem trustworthy, so we ask our residents to be extra cautious.

Coronavirus phishing scams
Phishing is a type of online scam in which an email or text message is sent in an attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, and financial information. They usually disguise themselves to look like they have come from a legitimate organisation.

Free school meals
Parents have been sent an email that reads: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’. The Department of Education have confirmed this is a scam email and not official.

Fake lockdown fines
This scam takes the form of a text message that claims your movements have been monitored through your phone, and that you must pay a fine by going online via a link they have sent you. Do not click or tap any links these messages ask you to, it is a way to steal the payment details of users.

Fake and counterfeit products
Bogus websites and fake products
Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. Products can also be sold online and door-to-door, but never appear once the money has been taken.

Doorstep coronavirus scams
Charity help
While there are genuine groups of volunteers providing help to Fareham residents during self-isolation, there have been reports of criminals cold calling at homes and offering to go to the shops for them, taking their money, or in some cases their bank cards, and not returning.

The groups associated with Fareham Borough Council are: Acts of Kindness, Community First, One Community and Waypoint Church. You should be extra vigilant and ask for ID from anyone claiming to represent one of these groups.

Coronavirus doorstop test
Criminals may be calling at people’s homes offering to test them for COVID-19. This is a scam by people who are trying to gain access to your home – do not let them in, and then contact the police. There is no testing being carried out in people’s homes.

How to avoid being a scam victim
Protect your PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone with strong passwords and security programs such as antivirus software.
Consider all emails requesting your personal information as suspicious
Only download files or software from trusted sources
Do not let anyone into your home that you do not know or are not expecting
Do not click on links or attachments in suspicious emails or text messages
Look at the style of email or text message, does it have spelling or grammar mistakes or a messy layout? If yes, then it may be a scam
Before buying anything online, do some research and check reviews to ensure the seller is genuine. Or ask a friend or family member for advice on the purchase.

 

 

 

For updates from the Church of England please visit their site here.

For update from the NHS please visit their site here.