St Mary’s Church, Portchester
Closure of church for the next two weeks
31st December 2020.
From the Vicar
It is with much reluctance and after a great deal of discussion that we have decided to close the church for the next two weeks (at least) with immediate effect. The reasons for this:
1. Coronavirus is on the increase in Portchester. Things are getting to a critical stage and by closing the building and services we are doing our part to help beat the virus; and we believe it is our Christian response to “love our neighbour as ourselves” and try and safeguard the health of others.
Three people who were at services over Sunday 20th and Christmas Eve have been tested positive for covid. We have contacted Track and Trace who will no doubt be contacting people if they feel there is concern. Please let me know if you test positive and were at a service so that we can monitor the extent to which the virus has hit St Mary’s.
2. Over this cold spell we have had a burst pipe. It is the pipe leading to the outside tap on the wall near the lych gate. If we keep the water on, we are creating a flood on the road outside with its potential for accidents in this frozen weather; but if we turn it off, we have no water in the church. We’ve been in touch with a local builder/plumber, but we also need English Heritage permission as part of the road will have to be dug up.
I would like to give special thanks to Kay, Keith and Sally who spent the greater part of Thursday out in the freezing cold, meeting with builders, plumbers, and English Heritage staff and making several phone calls. The Standing Committee does not just meet to talk, but takes on many tasks behind the scenes on our behalf.
This means that there will be no Sunday services this Sunday, 3rd or the Sunday after, 10th. It is our hope to recommence services on Sunday 17th. We hope to provide some sort of recorded service for these two weeks via Facebook and YouTube.
Ron will be opening the Tea Room on a limited basis and for take-away only, but we are asking all volunteers not to come in until further notice. We have had a special arrangement with Tescos who have been most helpful, in continuing to provide free school means for kids during the holidays. This has been made possible by some amazingly generous donations.
Ian Meredith (Vicar)
Kay Walker (Churchwarden)
Keith Phillips (Churchwarden)