After four years as a Minister-in-Training as Community Pastor of Parklands Community Church, Claire Roberts is moving on to become the full-time minister of Queensberry Baptist Church in Nottingham.
In her time with us at Parklands, Claire has led the church through a time of great change whilst also becoming a key part of the expanding community in the Parklands Village development.
Whilst we are very sad to see Claire go, it is a very exciting calling to be a minister at another church and we wish her all the best in her new adventure. Claire’s last day with Parklands Community Church will be the end of July.
Parklands Community Church will continue to meet as normal, and will be looking to appoint a new Community Pastor in the medium term.
Four years after Parklands Community Church first held a Sunday Gathering at the Radio Wing on Easter Sunday 2017, this year’s Holy Day sees another milestone for PCC as we meet in the Parklands Educate Together Primary School for the first time on Easter Sunday, April 4th 2021.
As restrictions are easing from the third national lockdown, we are able to meet in person again, and with the Radio Wing being used as a local vaccination centre we have taken the opportunity to meet at the brand new primary school, which is located on what will become the development’s “high street” in the future.
There will still be some restrictions in place – we’re not allowed to sing, need to wear masks, and keep social distancing for example – but it is exciting to be able to meet together again in a venue so central to the ever-expanding new development.
If you are interested in attending our Sunday Gatherings, pre-booking of attendance is still required due to ongoing Test and Trace regulations, so please email Claire at Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org.
A New Year’s Message from Community Pastor, Claire
I hope you all had a good Christmas despite the restrictions. Hopefully it was a chance to pause, refresh and reflect on the good news of Jesus in some way (as well as eat loads of tasty food!). My positive ‘Happy New Year’ message feels rather dampened as we also welcome a new Lockdown this week. I know the news last night will have brought a mix of emotions and it’s ok to need a few days to process it all. I’ll be praying for each of you as you work out what this means for you, especially for those of you with children too.
As leaders we’re also trying to process what the news means for us as a church. We were due to have a service at The Radio Wing this coming Sunday and I know many of us have appreciated being able to gather together like this over the past few months. Somewhat surprisingly, the new lockdown guidance does allow religious services to continue during this lockdown. For some religions, and branches of Christianity, there is a particular spiritual significance to attending a specific place of worship or carrying out certain rituals. So banning all religious services can cause distress to these communities in particular.
However, with Covid cases rising rapidly, the clear message from the government is to stay at home wherever possible. The closure of schools gives an indication of how seriously we need to take that message. As we consider our actions as a Church, we also want to think about the example we are setting for the community too. Just because we can meet, doesn’t mean we should. The Baptist Union of UK Churches (which we belong to) has also just released guidance advising churches not to open at this time.
Therefore, as a leadership team we have decided we will not be holding any services at The Radio Wing for the time being.
We will continue to review the guidance and our procedures over the next few weeks as the lockdown progresses. Please be praying for wisdom and clarity as we seek God’s guidance for the way ahead. But as with previous lockdowns, we don’t stop being church just because we can’t gather together physically. We can continue to connect over zoom, phone calls and 1-1 socially distanced walks, which are allowed for daily exercise during the current lockdown. Let’s keep encouraging one another and showing God’s love to our wider community too.
Finally, a reminder that whatever we face, God is always with us. We remember Jesus as Immanuel, God with us, at Christmas. But the promise of his presence is for every day of the year and every situation we find ourselves in. Here are some of my favourite verses from Isaiah 43 that remind us of that promise:
“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”
Sadly, due to the ongoing circumstances with Covid, we can’t host our usual Christmas celebrations in person this year, so we’ll be doing things a little differently. Here are the things we’re able to do this year, and keep your eyes peeled for a starry surprise in the next week or so.
1st-24th December Advent Windows, Flowerdown and Parklands
Still acceptable in a socially-distanced world, for the third year running we have organised Advent Window trails in the communities of Flowerdown Park and Locking Parklands. Check our Facebook Event for the latest.
Sunday 13th December, 4pm Online Christingle Service, Facebook Live
Join us online as we make our Christingles and reflect on Jesus as light of the world. We’ll have Christingle packs ready to be collected on Saturday 12th December for anyone who’d like to join in. Please send an email to email@example.com to request a pack.
Sunday 20th December, 4pm Family Christmas Quiz, Facebook Live
Join us for a family friendly Christmas quiz on Facebook Live. There’ll be a prize for the best team name and the winners!
For the third year running, Parklands Community Church have organised an Advent Window trail in the communities of Flowerdown Park and Locking Parklands. At a time in the world where people may feel it is very dark, it is our hope that these windows will provide a hint of the light that is coming in the form of Jesus.
Every evening from December 1st to the 24th, a new window will be revealed, just like a real-life advent calendar only without the chocolate (or cheese, gin, or makeup if you have one of those fancy advent calendars), and they (mostly) will stay up until New Year’s Day.
So come and wander the two areas looking for the latest creations (from a safe social distance, of course), and follow along on the special Facebook event set up.
You can collect paper copies of maps from December 1st from outside 20 Varsity Way in Flowerdown Park and 8 Farnborough Road in Parklands, or download an electronic version of the maps here:
With Covid-19 still disrupting our plans, we won’t be able to be on the green again this Hallowe’en serving hot chocolate and sweets. It’s going to be very different for a lot of us this year, and some people may not be as comfortable opening their doors to Trick or Treaters as in previous years. To help with that, we’ve produced some posters which you can put in your windows or on your doors.
It’s certainly been a interesting few months, hasn’t it? Since late March, as well as offering practical and spiritual support to people living in our local community, we at Parklands Community Church have been running a series of online alternatives to meeting up including Sunday Bible stories for creative craft and the Monday night pub quiz.
As Covid restrictions roll into August and the school summer holidays, we are going to take a break to take stock, and work out how we can best serve you from September onwards. By then the restrictions may have changed somewhat, and we will be able to start opening things up a bit more.
For the most instant to-the-minute news from Parklands Community Church, please like our Facebook page and turn notifications ON. We look forward to seeing you all again in-person sometime soon.
With the news about Coronavirus changing at an almost hourly rate, we have set up a specific update page just for any church-specific updates, along with links to resources we find that may be useful. Simply visit parklandscommunitychurch/covid-19 for all the relevant info.
Following the latest government guidelines, we have sadly decided to cancel all gatherings at Parklands Community Church until further notice. This includes our Sunday morning gatherings, Pop Up Café’s and mid-week groups.
We’re busy exploring ways we can continue to be church together, without actually meeting together, including making the most of the technology available to us.
Follow us on Facebook for updates. We’ll also be sharing reflections, prayers and resources online over the next few weeks.
If there’s any way we can support you at this time – whether it’s practical help, a chat on the phone or prayer, please do get in touch.
At the moment there are no restrictions on public gatherings that would limit our church activities. As such we will continue to meet together on Sundays at 11am as usual.
However, we are also taking extra precautions to help keep everyone healthy.
We are asking that everyone wash their hands as they enter The Radio Wing and use the antibacterial hand gel provided too.
Whilst we always aim to be a friendly church, at the moment we’re encouraging people not to greet each other with handshakes or hugs – a smile and a wave will do.
We will not use shared cups or loaves when taking communion
We will ensure extra cleaning takes place, especially on door handles etc.
Most importantly, we’re asking everyone in our community to follow the advice provided by Public Health England.
If you have a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature, please stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days. If your symptoms worsen or you are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online.
Wash your hands more than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water.
When you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw it away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, use your sleeve, not your hand.
We believe that we can live and act as family, even when we’re not gathered together. If you do have to self-isolate, we still want to offer support and care. Whether you need help with your shopping, or a chat on the phone, or prayer, we’re here. You can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to follow guidance set out by Public Health England and will adapt our meetings and events accordingly.