Photograph (c) The Press Association, used with permission.
The online condolence books for HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are now closed, but we continue to pray for HM The Queen and the Royal Family
Most merciful God,
whose wisdom is beyond our understanding,
surround Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family with your love,
that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss,
but have confidence in your goodness,
and strength to meet the days to come.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Quick Covid-19 Update
We are pleased to say that we were able to have a 2pm Good Friday service and a 10.30am Easter Day service this year! We now hope to have a service every Sunday at 10.30am.Sadly, social distancing must be maintained, no congregational singing is allowed, and masks must be worn (unless individuals have exemptions). Also, there is always something available each week on Facebook - the village pages, eg click on Chalk people and opinions(scroll down to find it) - and an audio recording is also on our dedicated phone line (01474) 626 090.
For a poster about vaccine fraud, click on the Events/Services tab in the left-hand column.
It is vital that all remain socially distant. If in church, you must wear masks (unless exempt), sit as directed, keep your distance both on arrival and on exit, and
you must notshake hands or 'meet' or 'mingle' outside your household/bubble.
Remember that a new simple service, lasting about 15 minutes, will be updated on the village Facebook sites at some point each Sunday morning. Eg click on Chalk people and opinions and scroll down to find it. This service essentially consists of a reading, reflection and hymn.
For those less keen on the internet, an audio recording of the latest Vicar's talk should be available via the telephone on (01474) 626 090 - please tell your friends.
(Weddings and funerals have different restrictions on attendance. In all cases, social distancing is essential and sadly, there can be no singing of hymns or refreshments served at any of our current events.)
A few more details...
Vicar’s Video Service/Sermon– weekly on the village Facebook sites:
Occasional emails with verse and hymns – run by Michael Munson, email email@example.com if you would like to receive these emails.
Prayer Circle: If you would like prayer on any topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call.
Text Alerts – run by Martin Lake; don’t miss any important event or issue – sign up for text messages to your mobile phone - email email@example.com or call if you would like to receive these texts.
Loaves & Fishes – run by Julie Garrod essentially for pre-schoolers and their carers. Currently free and run weekly via Facebook, live Tuesday at 9.30am - nursery rhymes, singing, story time and multi-sensory play. Contact Julie for details 07786 616 537.
Currently, apart from the Village Pre-School, The Parish Hall is Closed until further notice, although we are working on how we may reopen.
We are endeavouring to comply with Government advice re coronavirus COVID-19 but scroll down for the Vicar's Message with more information about what we are doing in that context.
Our ministry includes financial support for charities locally and further afield; for information ondonations click on the button in the left hand column oppositeor clickhere.
Things may have to change rapidly due to Govt advice etc.
Watch this space & the Chalk Facebook pages(you could click on the link below, even if you don't normally use facebook - you may well have to scroll down a fair bit to see one of the church 'posts'.)
We will always try to help, if you want to be in contact for any reason please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Message from the Vicar
in the context of living through the Covid-19 Lockdown
which began just before Mothering Sunday in 2020.
The national decision to suspend church services happened just before Mothering Sunday. This was a great shame as so many people normally come to church here on that day and are touched by the occasion in various ways. Nevertheless, the flowers that we had bought were distributed all around the village to many households by a small delivery team and I received many notes of thanks for this imaginative but simple act of kindness. At this strange time for us all, the vast majority of us can gain strength and inspiration as we remember the many simple acts of kindness and the love we received from our mothers. The image to the left is a portrayal of Mary the mother of Jesus from the central lancet window of our own parish church here in Chalk. It was a gift to the church just over 100 years ago by the then vicar in memory of his own mother.
Our church building here is very special to us, partly for all its historical connections and partly because it is where so many come either very regularly or for those special times of the year or the special moments of our family lives. Yet, special as it is, the Church, primarily and Biblically, is not a building, or just the clergy, but all Christians somehow working together for God's glory. Not least, we are called as the Church to be joined as a community of love, to be like a good mother nurturing those in need and building them up in the faith. We do that in many ways and not least as we use the seasons of the Church to reflect and learn about the life God wants us to live and the life he desires for us. As we entered"Lockdown" we were initially in the season known as Lent. Lent is a time when we normally prepare for the great festival of Easter, which marks the Resurrection of Jesus after he had been rejected and executed by being nailed to a cross. Lent often helps us to reflect on the ministry of Jesus. This ministry was one of love and nurture, and included some joyful times with intriguing and wonderful encounters that brought healing and reconcilliation. Of course, there were also times of great hardship and indeed the sufferings of the cross. Jesus knew the human condition from the inside. The life of Jesus then is the ultimate guide and inspiration for all Christians.
Christians believe that Jesus took to himself our human failure and all its consequences on the cross, and in return offered each one a new start and eternal life. The image to the left, from another of our stained-glass windows at Chalk, is a portrayal of the Resurrection of Christ - his hands still bear the scars of nails but somehow he has transcended all human frailty and leads us to a new and better life.
It feels hard that we cannot join together as we normally would, yet we can still join together in prayer wherever we are. Therefore, I ask you to pray for all who are suffering and for all who are involved with finding solutions to our difficulties. May we as individuals and families (and indeed as a community and a nation) nurture the faith in each other which centres on the crucified and risen Christ. So may we find in him the forgiveness, the wisdom, the strength and, perhaps especially in the current situation, the hope we need at this testing time.
Following on from the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Disciples when they were behind locked doors for fear of the Jewish leaders. You can read about this in John chapter 20 beginning at verse 19. Into that situation Jesus significantly brought words of comfort, "Peace be with you!" In due course, Thomas, famous for some early doubts, heard those words of peace for himself as well as seeing the wounds of the crucified and risen Christ. Thomas' slightly less famous later response was to acknowledge Jesus as his Lord and his God. As we today, are largely behind locked doors for fear of the Covid-19 virus and what it might do to ourselves and others, maybe with a few doubts too, I pray that we might reflect on the meaning of the cross and resurrection of Jesus and somehow hear his words, the words of the Prince of Peace, speaking directly to us, "Peace be with you!". Perhaps too we may quietly echo the words of Thomas. "My Lord and my God!"
May God bless you and all those you love, today and for evermore. Amen.
What's Been Happening at Chalk?
A Bit More on What We're Currently Up To...
In addition to the prayer circle (who are happy to pray for specific issues when asked), a small team of committed telephoners are trying to keep in contact with the congregation and those who have been part of the village coffee morning group "Take-a-Break" which particularly aims to reach those not at work.
Our 'Reader' has masterminded a bible verse and hymn ministry sent by email.
A ministry to young children and their carers via a new version of the Loaves & Fishes puppet ministry has been created, which can be accessed via both of the village facebook pages.
Similarly, the Vicar has been giving a short illustrated Sunday talk on these facebook pages.
Two fellowship and Bible Study Groups are continuing using technology.
Many in Vicarage Lane actually received Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday!
We continue to support other charities.
From 5 July, we are slowly moved to a more normal operation.
In November a second lockdown began to be followed by the highest level of restrictions, although we hope to have more services in December.
The Parish Hall is now open for certain groups of hirers - see more info under the 'Book Parish Hall' tab.
(click on the link in the left-hand pane to find out more.)
Part of the Church of England, officially we are St Mary the Virgin, Chalk but we are often known simply as St Mary's, Chalk or even just Chalk Church and we aim to be known as a church at the heart of our community.
In any event, through our worship and the life of our members, day by day and as a church family, we aim to be a channel of God's healing love and to witness to a faith in Jesus Christ that is as relevant today as it has always been.
Each Sunday more than a hundred people come to our services and we make a particular point of trying to be welcoming to families and children of all ages. Our services, especially at 10.30am have a varied pattern and include elements of relatively traditional and relatively modern styles of worship. There is usually something for everyone.
The services aim to help us sense the nearness and the greatness of God providing us with a balance of comfort and challenge.
A charity in our own right with a concern for the whole parish, we also help other charities, near and far, and not least the Hands of Compassion school in Zambia. Further information, details of service times and various contacts are available by clicking on the relevant links opposite but please feel free to contact me if I can be of any further help.
The Revd Nigel Bourne
The Vicarage, 2a Vicarage Lane, Chalk, GRAVESEND, Kent DA12 4TF
P.S. Just a reminder that It would be lovely to see you at St Mary's at any of our services.
If it wasn't for the virus(!) we would meet every Sunday at 10.30am.
If you want to visit at other times, please call in advance to arrange access.
In the meantime, wherever you are, God bless you!
St Mary's is a Registered Charity - Registration Number: 1132081
'Lifting High the Cross' Growing
& Stronger in Christ by
We at St Mary's, Chalk take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously.
We are committed to take all steps within our power to keep children and vulnerable adults safe from all forms of harm while on our premises.
If you have any concerns or worries concerning safeguarding issues, please speak to the vicar or
e-mail our church safeguarding officer: email@example.com
If you are concerned about something you have experienced in a church, now or in the past, or you are worried about another person - perhaps a vulnerable adult or a child – there are people you can talk to and you will be taken seriously. You can contact the Diocese of Rochester’s Safeguarding team on 01634 560 000 or visit their webpage at: www.rochester.anglican.org/safeguarding/ Recognising that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the church, a dedicated telephone helpline, operated independently from the church, by the NSPCC, is available. Calls can be made free on 0800 80 20 20
(C) St Mary's Church, Chalk - A traditional evangelical Anglican C-of-E village church | firstname.lastname@example.org