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Weekly Bulletin, 16 June 2020

Keeping you up to date with guidance and
news from the Diocese of Gloucester

For the most up to date Church of England guidance on COVID-19 click here.

Poetry for recovery at Minchinhampton School
Bishop Rachel finds out what lockdown is like for women in prison
Refugee Week, 15-21 June with a full online programme
Could your church provide a pop up sports pitch?
Weekly roundup: sermon, podcast and readings for 21 June
Church buildings, individual private prayer, funerals

Message from Bishop Rachel

As I listen to the Cathedral clock chiming the hour as it always does, I am grateful for that constancy which speaks to me of God’s unchanging love and faithfulness, even amid so much disorienting change. At present I often find I have to pause to remember what day it is and which hour the clock is striking!

It was wonderful to enter the Cathedral yesterday, open once more to receive people for private prayer and reflection. Yet the notices, hand sanitiser and carefully spaced chairs would not have been imaginable at the start of this year. So much has changed.

‘Change’ is a word which provokes a range of thoughts and emotions within different people, often depending on the context. Change can be exciting and energising but it can also be daunting, exhausting and even frightening.

These last few months have certainly seen a lot of change which we could not have envisaged this time last year. It is not simply the radical change brought by lockdown and the trauma of a viral pandemic, it is also the continual phases of change we are now beginning to face and plan as we emerge from lockdown and enter seasons which will not look like life as we once knew it. And in all of that there have been the expected and unexpected changes in people’s lives which happen regardless of a viral pandemic.

It is also evident that across our country and our world there is a renewed desire for change rooted in justice and equality and it is being expressed in both inspiring and ugly ways as we have seen in all that has been sparked by the horrific murder of George Floyd. We are people who are both beautiful and broken, capable of forging life-giving change or change which diminishes people.

In these days when there is tiredness and endless messages about change whether it be about shops, household bubbles or our church buildings, we need to be watching, praying, talking and listening regarding what God is doing. What is it in your local context that needs to continue or be returned to, and what are we being called to courageously change in how we are being Church?

We need to be making space now to reflect on change and the processes we need to put in place to enable us to live it well, yet this is also the time when many people are weary. People’s inner resources for creativity as we first went into lockdown, much of which were fuelled by adrenaline, may now be depleted and it is important to acknowledge that. I am also aware how time-consuming it is to be planning ahead for the different phases which will emerge with government guidance regarding the use of our church buildings. It would be very easy to keep our eyes so focused on the detail that we fail to look up at the significant decisions and discussions we need to be having about the values and principles God is calling us to embody as we return.

This is no easy path particularly as our own thoughts and emotions will be changing amid the ups and downs of each present moment. Care and prayer for one another is important, as is significant time for rest.

In all of this my constant prayer is thankfulness for our God who is unchanging and yet is always in the business of change and transformation. Perhaps, we will see with fresh eyes the transformation to which God is calling us as we say yes to discovering and sharing the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ so that we and all people may know life in all its fullness.

With my thanks and prayers as ever,

Community support and working together


The mattress

Viv Gordon was commissioned by Create Glos, Strike a Light and Cheltenham Festivals to record a series of performance pieces in response to Covid 19. This first short video tells the story of a woman in isolation and an encounter over a mattress. 

Viv is still collecting ideas for the other pieces, so if you have an idea for another story to be shared, do comment on the video or get in touch with Create Gloucestershire.

Last push for funds for fully inclusive Music Hub 

The Music Works is crowdfunding for a Gloucestershire Music Hub for young people. The council has given a floor of King's House in King's Square, Gloucester and the hub is due to open in January. It will provide opportunities for young people to make music from first access through to supporting emerging talent into the industry. It will have a sensory music room and specialist music equipment so that all young people can benefit from it. Watch the video below to find out more about how it could really make a difference in local people's lives.

Remembering Srebrenica

This year marks both the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the 25th anniversary of the genocide in which 8,372 men and boys in the UN-protected area of Srebrenica were killed purely for being Muslim. This year's commemoration is online on Friday 10 July at 6.30pm and will remember all those killed in the Srebrenica genocide, all those killed in acts of inhumanity during the Bosnian war, the 50,000 women and girls who were genocidally raped and all who stood for and stand for stronger communities, understanding, solidarity and peace across the world.  Download a pack to help your church to hold a service in Memorial Week (5 or 12 July).

Worship and discipleship

iSingPOP YouTube Show on equality

This week's iSingPOP show, aimed at primary aged children, focuses on equality and how God has a special place for each and everyone one of us. iSingPOP also has a new series of seven weekly Classroom Worship resources for the Summer Term. 

Thy Kingdom Come roundup video

Christians in more than 170 countries prayed Thy Kingdom Come! Here's a summary video of what happened.

BSL Resources

Last week's resources include a link to a funeral reflection in BSL for people to use at home if they are unable to attend the funeral of a loved one. See the full list of BSL resources for Sunday 14 June.


Mapping the journey communities are taking through COVID

The Revd Hilary Ison has written the piece linked above, about trauma response for the blog Tragedy and Congregations.The blog talks us through a road map of the trajectory of trauma, through a chart from the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth. She speaks of this time being full of ‘the uncertainty of unknowing’.

Archdeacon Hilary has found the research and findings of immense value, as someone seeking to both live well and exercise ministry with care, as well as caring for others in her diocesan role.

Church buildings news

Posters for churches

 Some churches may now be open for, or considering opening for, private prayer. There are some new posters available to help you publicise that your church building is open for private prayer. The posters – one for outside the church and one to place inside, feature QR codes that take people to some simple prayers and to light a candle online directly from their phones. You can download the posters from the Church Support Hub --->


Deadline for next round of grant programme 

 The Cornerstone Grant Programme offers grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 towards the cost of major urgent structural repair projects costed at more than £100,000 including VAT. The NCT will also consider projects that introduce kitchens and accessible toilets to enable increased community use, costed at more than £30,000 including VAT. Grants will never exceed 50% of the project cost. The deadline is 6 July for a decision in November 2020.
Find out more and apply 

In the media

Open for prayer

Archdeacon Phil was live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Sunday, discussing the recent Government guidelines to open church buildings to individuals. You can listen here, 1.08 minutes in, to hear more about his thoughts on managing the risk going forward and how church will look a bit different for a while. 

Growing a digital congregation
The Revd Malc Allen from St Michael and All Angels, Bishop's Cleeve, was live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire Sunday morning. To hear more about his growing audience online, listen here, from 3.19 minutes.  

Training opportunities

Click on the name of the event to register, unless otherwise instructed.

Pressing Red: Understanding and Overcoming Gender-Based Violence – Redcliffe College

The course is based around Elaine Storkey’s book “Scars Across Humanity.” It is a six-part course designed to be done in six weekly sessions each lasting about 90 minutes. Each session covers one aspect of gender-based violence; including videos from experts working in Christian organisations within that field, discussion questions, a Bible study, links to resources, and practical steps you can take to make a difference. 

Free course on Anxiety in Children and Young People, during Covid 19

A course from the University of East Anglia, to learn about anxiety and discover helpful strategies to support young people struggling with anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Follow up discussion to Laudato Si (Papal letter)

Thursday 18 June, 12.15pm

Martin Davis of Cheltenham Green Christian recently gave a presentation to the Gloucester Churches Environmental Justice Network (text may be found here). There will be a follow up discussion on 18 June via Skype. If you're interested in attending, contact Arthur Champion  for the link details.

Running a virtual holiday club (Scripture Union)

Thursday 18 June, 2pm to 3pm, hosted by the Scripture Union's Steve Hutchinson
It's highly unlikely that we will be running normal holiday clubs this summer, so we look at the ins and outs of running sessions for children to enjoy in their own homes. This session will include advice on safeguarding and technical issues, and we'll also be thinking about what works well and what doesn't. Email to book your free place -->

Inspiring Everyday Faith: Accelerating change

Thursday 25 June, 12 noon to 1.45pm

How do leaders help steer churches through adaptive change? How do whole church communities become invested in a corporate sense of mission? How do church cultures better enable and engage Christians in our Kingdom callings? This webinar will feature insights on how to lead well in times of accelerating change with contributors from The Arthur Rank Centre, CPAS, Jesus Shaped People, LICC, Mothers’ Union and more. Registration here --->


Telling a better story: Why faith and science belong together

Monday 29 June to Friday 3 July, free online course

The Faraday Institute is offering a week of online teaching sessions, open to those who would like to benefit. Faith and science are often seen as uncomfortable bed-fellows. However, this has not always been so. In this series of webinars we examine the ways in which Faith and Science speak to each other in contemporary society and explore the theological and ethical issues which this dialogue raises. We aim to show that there is a better story to be told about faith and science than the prevalent one of conflict and mutual distrust. It is completely free to attend and open to anyone, anywhere, who is interested.

Opening the Doors webinar: training from the Church of England's Evangelism and Discipleship Team

Monday 29 June, 2pm to 3pm

This session provides an opportunity to learn about Opening the Doors, which is a national resource, aimed at helping us to connect with and serve our communities in the future. It will be hosted by the Revd Dr Stephen Hance and the Opening the Doors team. 

Prayer space

This prayer from the Church of England is our prayer for the week. 

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.


Cathedral clergy are continuing to pray for our communities every day. Please do send your prayer requests to and they will say them on your behalf or send in your prayers to Katherine Clamp at There is a need for people to offer prayer support, so please do contact us if you are able to offer this ministry.
Copyright © 2020 Gloucester Diocesan Board of Finance, All rights reserved.

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