Church at Home and in the Community

Crofton Parish are regularly reviewing government and Church of England advice regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. As restrictions are lifted we are trying to be as open as possible. However, as a large, multi-generational church, we face particular challenges in ensuring that our more vulnerable members are kept safe.

We recognise that we are all in a “trust moment”, where we need to learn anew how to walk with Jesus as we go through these uncharted times. What this means will be different for each of us depending on our individual situations, but we can be assured of Jesus’s desire to be with us. Like the Psalmist we can say:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 56 v 3 NIV UK

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Coming out of Lockdown

We are grateful that the peak of the pandemic is over in the UK and that regulations are being relaxed. As has been often noted though, coming out of lockdown is more difficult than entering lockdown.

The government and the Church of England are now making regular changes to what they believe is safe and helpful to do in churches. Crofton Parish is seeking to follow this advice although the planning and preparation required means there may be a delay before a change is implemented – and in some cases our local situation may mean that it is not possible to take advantage of an easing in regulations.

Although there is an easing of regulations, it must be emphasised that a return to what used to be the normal congregational worship in either of our churches is not possible at the moment, and there is no time-frame for when it may happen.

One River Many Streams

We are fortunate to be a large parish with over 300 people worshipping with us each week; this however makes it impossible to meet together while maintaining the social distancing needed to keep people safe while Covid 19 is still active.

Prior to Covid 19, Crofton Parish had very few mid size groups that would currently be able to safely meet together. As part of our response as restrictions are eased, Crofton Parish is developing a number of mid-sized groups of around 30 people who will be able to meet together occasionally, to have fellowship and some form of worship. We are calling these mid-sized groups “streams”, they all come together in the “river” that is our parish.

During July “One River Many Streams” was the theme of our Sunday Online services. You can find out more on our dedicated page –

Read more about One River Many Streams

If you are not a member of a stream, and would like to join one, please contact the office, email office@croftonparish.org.uk or phone 01329 661154.

Worship Services

From 17th March until 4th July 2020 public worship was suspended in all churches. Since July, public worship is allowed again, but some activities, such as singing, are not permitted and social distancing and other preventive measures, including the wearing of face masks, have to be maintained. We are restarting some of our services where there is a smaller congregation, including the 9:30 St. Edmund’s service and the Thursday morning service at the new time of 10am. With the limitation on numbers the St. Edmund congregation has split into two with each half attending on alternate weeks. For the majority of people, the Sunday Church Online is still the main gathering – we ask that, if you can access the online service, you continue to do so, leaving space at the church services for those who are not online or isolated.

All these services will undoubtedly feel different to your normal church experience; do pray that God, through His Spirit, will meet with you and all others in our Parish community and help us all to experience His encouraging presence and the fellowship of “meeting” with Him and His local church community.

To check the times and locations see the list of events on this page.

Church Online from Holy Rood – Sunday at 10am Service

Each Sunday at 10am an act of worship will be streamed online. This is for you, whichever church or service you normally attend or if you don’t attend at all! This services are streamed from Holy Rood Church by a small group of our clergy, tech and worship team. They are a mixture of “live” and recorded content.

The services will be streamed on the church’s Facebook page. See below>>> for details about how to watch. There will be a Church Online resource pack to compliment each teaching series. You can find these on the page dedicated to the current series.

View the Born to Run Series Information

As well as being able to watch live the service will be available to watch later (or watch again!). We would, however, encourage people to watch live if possible to maintain the sense of meeting together as the body of Christ. We will endeavour to make the audio of the talks available as normal so you can listen at any time.

Our worship leader, Kathryn England, is creating a playlist of worship music videos to go with the online services. These are available on the Parish’s YouTube channel. We hope that these are helpful and assist your time with God both on Sundays and through the week.

View our YouTube Channel

The Sunday Evening Prayer Service

There will be a Live Stream of a half hour Evening Prayer service at 7:30pm on Sundays. The format will vary week by week – it could start with sung worship, prayer or a meditation etc.; however this time will conclude by following the spoken order for night prayer (Compline) .

See below>>> for how to access the live stream on your PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Night Prayer has many responses which you may like to say at home. Click on the button to see the order of service (it will open in a new browser tab).

Open the Order of Sevice

If you cannot join live, the service recording will be available on our Facebook page so you can watch it when convenient. We do encourage you to follow live if possible to enhance the feeling of being part of the body of Christ at this time.

Accessing our Facebook Live Feeds

You can view our Facebook Live services either through Facebook directly or from this website. You don’t have to join Facebook in order to see the services live, but there are many advantages to joining so we recommend you do; you can always cancel when things get back to normal! It is also worth joining Facebook so you get any news updates.

You can view the services on your PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Click the button find out how.

View our Facebook Live Stream

Families & Children and Youth

Like other areas of church life are beginning to meet together again, but in a limited way.

We are restarting Crofton United – our Sunday groups for children. They will be meeting every other week on a Sunday afternoon. Check the event listing for when they will be meeting next. To ensure we make the right preparations we are asking you to register your child(ren) for the group. See our Crofton Kids page for full details and to register.

View our Crofton Kids Page

We are currently in the process of planning meetings for our youth. Details should be available soon.

If you have a youth or child and are not receiving email updates about activities, do contact the office – email office@croftonparish.org.uk .

If you are not already a member, do join the Crofton Kids & Little Fish Stubbington Facebook group.

Home Groups and Bible Study Material

Home Groups are continuing to meet during this period, even if this is through Zoom rather than together in person. It is good how groups have adapted to this new way of having fellowship and studying together.

Each week whoever gives the talk during the Church Online Sunday Service produces a video which looks at the theme in greater depth. It is hoped to make these available by the end of Sunday. These can either be watched as part of the home group meeting, or members can watch beforehand and discuss the questions when they “meet” together.

The current and previous videos are on the Crofton Parish YouTube channel, they can also be watched from the current series’ Church Online page.

View the Born to Run Series Information

If you are not currently a member of a home group or stream email homegroups@croftonparish.org.uk to talk to John and Sue Elgie about joining one. We do encourage you to join a home group, both them and you will benefit from it!

The audio recording of the study is also on our sermon catch-up page.

Listen to a Study

Parish Centre Room Hire

We have to follow the restrictions that are currently in place, but we are able to take some bookings for our Parish Centre rooms and Holy Rood Church. If you are interested in making a booking, please email the office office@croftonparish.org.uk indicating your requirements and we will see if we can accommodate your request. Like all locations, we are feeling our way forward regarding room usage. Our priority will always be the safety of you, those attending your meeting and other users of the Parish Centre.

Contacting the Parish

Our Office Team are working in the Parish Centre again from 9am to 12 noon Mondays to Fridays. They are primarily making contact through phone calls and emails. If you do need to visit, please contact the office first and arrange a time when you can come in safely.

email: office@croftonparish.org.uk or phone: 01329 661154.

Asking for, or Offering, Help

We know that during this difficult time it’s possible that at some point you will need practical help in some way and at other times its possible that you will be able to offer help. We have set up a dedicated, regularly monitored email address to receive you requests for help or offers to help. The email is help@croftonparish.org.uk.

Please do contact us if there is something we can do.

It may be that you would like prayer for yourself or someone close to you. Prayer requests can be sent to prayer@croftonparish.org.uk.

Getting Up-to-Date Information

Crofton Parish are using a number of communications channels to keep in touch with our parishioners.

  • this website, as you are reading this we’ll presume you know about it!
  • the Holy Rood Church Facebook page. Access this in the same way as you get to the service live stream. Facebook is good for timely updates and its ability to notify you when additions are made, making it very suitable for getting information out quickly – something that’s important in these quickly changing times.
  • through the Parish email list. You are on the email list if you feel you belong to the Parish and have joined the Congregational Database. Emails with news and encouragement will be sent out regularly. If you are not on the Congregational Database and would like to join you can complete this form>>> and return it to the office (preferably by scanning or photographing it and emailing to the office, or drop it into the Parish Centre letterbox).

There are some in our congregations who are not online. If you know someone in this situation could you print out the Parish emails and post it through their door? (Remember they may be isolating.)

Giving to the Parish

This is going to be a difficult financial time for many – it may be for you, and it is for the Parish. We understand if you need to reduce your giving for a while, contact you bank if you give by standing order or Parish Giving if you give through their scheme.

The Parish cannot easily make significant reductions in its expenditure, much of which goes to staff salaries and covering the costs of our clergy. We know that some will have to reduce their regular offering, there will not be a collection in church and the income from the hire of room in the Parish Centre is likely to cease. Please consider if you are able to increase your giving through a one time gift or by starting, or increasing, your regular giving. If you usually put you gift into the offering bag on Sundays, could you give in a different way? See our Giving page>>> for how to make an online gift or to set up your regular gift, or contact you bank to change a standing order or Parish Giving to increase your gift through them.

See our Giving Page

Although our regular congregational giving has held up very well during the pandemic (for which we are very thankful), we have not had the occasional giving or the income from room hire, and are looking at a £40,000 deficit at the end of year. We are therefore having a #Rebuild Gift Day in October to ensure our ministry and mission continues and grows in a post Covid 19 world.

Give to our REBUILD Gift Day

Baptisms and Weddings

Baptisms and weddings are normally times when family and friends gather together and celebrate either a new birth or the love between two people; these large celebrations are not possible with the current restrictions, although weddings and baptisms with just a small congregation are permitted.

If you would like to have initial discussions about a wedding or baptism do email occadmin@croftonparish.org.uk and we can have a phone or email conversation about what is possible.

Funerals

The Church of England has looked carefully at how we can continue to offer a Christian funeral while protecting those attending, taking and facilitating the service. We will continue to offer funerals, but there needs to be significant changes, particularly in the number of people who can attend. We appreciate that this will be very upsetting for some.

In summary, the guidelines for holding funerals say:

  • that planning will be conducted by email or phone rather than personal meeting
  • that only immediate family should attend the funeral; but even then, not if they are in the most at risk groups
  • that social distancing should be kept at all times, this includes handshakes and hugs
  • there should be no gathering after the service.

We will try to work with you to try and alleviate the issues these guidelines cause, so it could be possible for those who wish to attend to view the service over the internet, receive a video of the service or attend a memorial service at a later date.

If you are organising the funeral of a loved one, we are acutely aware of what a difficult time this will be. We will do our best to explain any changes or delays which may be an inevitable consequence of the current restrictions – for example, to the burial of ashes – but we are here to support you and to ensure a Christian funeral and burial can still be provided.

Contact the office by email at office@croftonparish.org.uk or phone on 01329 661154 for more information.