The Parish of Green Street Green and Pratts Bottom

To Follow and Worship Jesus, Sharing His Love

Latest News From The Parish


Lent Course
Our Lent Course this year was again on Zoom and used the York Course ‘Caring for Creation’. This was very appropriate when the world is facing a climate emergency and we as Christians are challenged to care for God’s Creation. The first session centred on our responsibility for the environment, looking at the damage humankind has done, loss of habitat and biodiversity, deforestation, increased human population, intensive farming, pollution of air and water and the huge problem posed by single use plastics. We were encouraged to re-connect with the natural world as this is essential to our development as human beings as God intended.

The second session looked at Global Warming and Climate Change with major weather events in all parts of the globe bringing home to us how real this is. Worldwide we use far too much fossil fuel, resulting in excessive carbon dioxide, whilst intensive agriculture produces too much methane and nitrous oxide, contributing to global warming and further exacerbated by the burning of tropical forests. We considered whether Christians should become vegetarians and concluded that people should try and cut down on meat consumption. ‘As Christians we are called to live lives of love and compassion for all creatures.’

Session 3 looked at the increasing impact humans have had on the planet stemming from the start of the Industrial Revolution. We are commanded to love our neighbour. This translates to Global Empathy: the way we live affects the lives of people on the other side of the world who we will never meet. We looked at steps we can take to reduce global heating: using less fossil fuel to reduce CO
2 emissions, changing to renewable energy, insulating our homes, using electric vehicles, walking or using public transport, using less ‘stuff’ and less packaging. An analogy was made with ‘serving other gods’ by ‘worshipping’ 
the idols of materialism, efficiency, profit and greed to the detriment of poorer people and countries and of the environment.

The fourth session was about coming out of denial and facing the crisis. Is it fear that causes apathy? Our faith should strengthen us to face this crisis. ‘If God is on our side, who is against us? Then what can separate us from the love of Christ?’ Romans 8.31-39. With God’s help, we can work together to reduce the damage we are doing to our planet. Margaret Mead, anthropologist, said: ’Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’. Greta Thunberg was the catalyst encouraging school strikes to draw attention to the climate emergency and becoming a prominent spokesperson and ambassador for change.

The final session focussed on Faith, Hope and Love, concentrating on positive action and making lifestyle changes. We can and must act before it’s too late. Jesus challenges us to change, to renounce our selfish, self-centred was, to love our neighbour and care for all of creation. God is with us and the Holy Spirit saves us from despair, giving us inner strength for living in true Christian hope. One suggestion is to encourage our church to become an Eco-Church


Benefice Administration by Reverend Michael


Administration can be a divisive subject. Some people enjoy it and others hate it. Some people are naturally good at it and others don’t have a clue. It is though vital for any organisation to function effectively and that includes the church. It is even listed as a specific gift in St Paul’s letter to the Romans in chapter 12. 7-8 where Paul exhorts those who have that gift to ‘exercise a sound judgement in their duties’.


The creation of the new benefice has brought with it administrative challenges and in order to bring things together, the benefice has adopted a new church management software package called iKnowChurch. This package has many applications and will enable the leaders of the church to have access to all the information they need regarding services, rotas, contact information for church members and details of Life Events (Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals). The system has contact details of every member of the church and individual church members will have access to the system in a basic form enabling them to find out information they need too. Individuals will be able to see what rotas they are on and the most up to date version of that rota. They will also be able to put in dates they are unavailable, so they are not rostered when they are away.


The system will also send them a reminder email a few days before their rota duty. In addition, they will be able to see a list of upcoming services in their primary church and post prayer requests which will be seen by everyone encouraging our prayer ministry for the needs of the world. We intend to launch the system to everyone who has an email address beginning in February and in order to do this we will be sending a joining email to you all which needs to be replied to. This will provide you with a login name and password (which you create). If you do not have access to a computer, your details can still be held on the system, and this is needed to add you to rotas for example. We will be contacting you a different way to collect your details. This initial stage is vital to ensure we have up to date contact details for you and to ensure we comply with General Data protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements to store your data.


You each have a profile with information about you on it and also some tick boxes asking you to agree that you may be contacted by different means (Home Phone, Post, Email and Mobile) and also giving permission for your data to be stored. Members of the church do not have to do this but for the system to work it is important that you agree to these requests, in particular for your data to be stored and to be contacted by email as this is the way most communication will take place.


The information is stored securely and will only be accessed by a limited number of people (Clergy, Benefice Administrator, Church Officers and those administering duty rotas). The system has the capacity to store more personal information than we really need so you do not need to complete every box but we would ask that you give Full Name, Address, Telephone Number(s), Email Address and if possible a head and shoulders hotograph. Other information can be added but is not essential. If you have any difficulties in registering or any other questions about the system lease contact Rev Michael and he should be able to help. We hope to start sending out the registration emails at the beginning of February. lease keep a look out! It may appear in your spam box if it is not in your regular inbox.


We hope this software will streamline benefice administration and there are other applications that we may use in the future including administration of home groups and ticketing events and services.


Rev Michael



Church Centre Halls

The Church Centre halls are now open for events once again, so if you’d
like more information or to book a venue for birthday parties, anniversary
celebrations, or any other events, please contact the new Assistant Benefice Administrator, Philippa Rooke, on hallbookings@smasch.org.uk or
01689 852905

Afghanistan
We know many within the Diocese and beyond are concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and are seeking ways they can help. The organisation Welcome Churches has set up an emergency fund to help support Afghan families who are being relocated from Afghanistan to the UK for their safety. Find out more at https://welcomechurches.org/updates/emergency-afghan-fund/

Superdrug recycles empty medicine blister packs
Superdrug are now recycling empty tablet blister packs. You can take
these to any of their branches with a Pharmacy, which Orpington has. This is in partnership with TerraCycle.

Amazon Smile - Fundraising Opportunity

If you are an Amazon Prime customer you may already know about
Amazon Smile. This is a part of the Amazon website where
Amazon will
donate to a chosen charity, 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases.
St Mary’s is now registered with Amazon so if you are a Prime customer you may wish to nominate us for donations. You can find out more at:
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/chpf/about
During the pandemic many of us have bought more on line than we might
otherwise have so the overall amount could be significant.
We are registered as:
The Parochial Church Council Of The Ecclesiastical Parish Of Green Street
Green And Pratts Bottom (St. Mary's With All Souls)
.


Other churches have similar names so make sure you have the right one.
It might be helpful to put St Mary’s with All Souls into your search bar as
our name then comes up straight away.


Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Latest COVID Measures for the Parish of Green Street Green and Pratts Bottom

On Tuesday 25th January we received renewed guidance from the House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group. The emphasis is in line with the approach taken by the Government to remove most coronavirus legislation but to promote local guidance that emphasises the personal and corporate responsibility of individuals and organisations to protect others and themselves.


“Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27).”


With this the responsibility for making decisions on how to proceed remains with the incumbent. This applies to acts of worship, to events run by the PCC or church community, and to decisions on whether to hire out spaces or allow other events to proceed.


Therefore, taking into account the ongoing high incidence of the virus and following a conversation with the churchwardens in advance of consulting the PCC on 9 February these are our conclusions.


• Our current procedures will continue regarding Holy Communion, the Peace and keeping a record of those attending services in order to aid contract tracing should the need arise.


• Although now not a legal requirement face coverings for all apart from the medically exempt is requested and strongly recommended in line with the Church of England’s statement about crowded/enclosed settings, particularly where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.


• Singing will continue by choir and the congregation but the choir may remove their face coverings to do so.


• The serving of refreshments after services will recommence but please consider wearing your face covering if you are just talking and not eating & drinking.


We hope to be able to move forward in a considered manner as the incidence of the virus decreases. Let us pray that our position will be more like ‘normality’ by Easter.


Please also continue to pray for those working in the NHS and all suffering as a result of the virus.

Rev Susan


The Church of England has issued some guidance on how churches should deal with the threat of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The situation is evolving so it is worth checking frequently. 

Y

ou can read the latest advice here:


 Preschool advert


Toddler Group - St Martin’s (CURRENTLY SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID RESTRICTIONS) 

As some of you will be aware, we sadly said farewell to our Toddler Group in July at St Mary’s. Thank you very much to Sue Bridger and Helen Spence for organising and running our Sparks Toddler Club.

There is  a Toddler Club at St Martin’s of Tours Church, Chelsfield. The group runs every Tuesday morning during
term time, 10.30am-12 noon, £2 per baby/child. They welcome expectant mums, new parents, grandparents, carers, child-minders, everyone is welcome! The group is run by a team of friendly volunteers from the Church and Chelsfield village. The session offers an hour of free play, with refreshments, followed by singing with action songs and percussion instruments. Each week there is a different craft activity and playdough available, plus the usual toys. Carers should support their little ones in sharing, taking turns and making new friends.
No need to book a place, just turn up.