Church Open on Mondays
From Monday 6th June, St Stephen's will be open to the public every Monday from 9.30 am to 5 pm. The rota for opening church on Mondays will be put on the noticeboard in the porch. Check your dates and, if you have been allocated any dates when you are not available, please arrange to swap with someone else on the list.
Reverend Shelagh's Retirement
On 3rd April, Rev Shelagh announced that she would be retiring from her ministry at St Stephen's Church, East Hardwick and St Michael's church, Carleton. Her last service will be on Sunday 3rd July. It will be a busy time for us all as we work through the handover. After Rev Shelagh retires, we will enter a period of interregnum when we have no permanent priest in the parish. However, it is likely that our weekly services will continue as before with visiting priests officiating.
Bishop Tony's visit
Bishop Tony will be visiting St Stephen's church on Sunday 15th May and will be preaching at the 9 am service. The singing group and handbell ringers will perform at this service. All are welcome.
There are lots of things going on over the summer months, including some fundraiser events for the church roof. We start with a Sunflower competition in May. Helen Beaumont has sown some sunflower seeds and is growing them on. She will shortly be planting them in the churchyard at St Stephen's and you can buy one for £2. nurture it and watch it grow.
Over the weekend of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, St Stephen's will be open to the public on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with a lovely floral display. All are welcome.
18th June is the date for our Bring and Buy Sale at the home of the Dyers, 32 Darrington Road. Last year's Bring and Buy was a great success so put the date in your diary and come along to enjoy stalls, refreshments and a chance to catch up with friends and neighbours. Proceeds in aid of the church roof.
Last year's Prize draw for the church roof was a great success - thanks to everyone for supporting. This year's raffle tickets will go on sale on 25th June and the draw will take place at the Coffee Morning on 18th July. So plenty of time for you to buy your tickets from any member of St Stephen's congregation. If anyone would like to donate a prize, or knows of a business that would like to support us, please contact Barbara.
Our roof fund currently stands at £29,689 and we estimate the essential repairs will be around £150,000 so we have a long way to go. We really appreciate your continued support for our fundraisers.
Collection for the Ukraine
We are collecting funds for the Ukraine. There will be a large jar at the back of church. Please give generously.
Any money we collect will be sent to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) who co-ordinate humanitarian work in major international crises. We have been told that money is the key donation they are seeking at the moment, so that it can be used for whatever is needed. The last day for donations will be Sunday 3rd June.
Wearing of masks is now optional
The PCC has decided that, in line with Government guidelines, the wearing of masks during services at St Stephen's church is now optional. For the comfort of those who are still worried about the risk of Covid, we are currently continuing to leave an empty row between the pews.
Real Easter eggs
If you are looking for an Easter egg that is Fairtrade and also includes the Easter story, you can buy them here www.realeasteregg.co.uk
Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
St Stephen's church will be working closely with the Parish Council and the Village Hall committee on plans for the Queen's Jubilee celebrations later in the year. This is a great opportunity for us all to work together again after two years of Covid and we're looking forward to arranging some real celebrations for the local community.
Our Singing Group has resumed rehearsals after the Christmas break. We're building a repertoire of songs for a possible fund raising concert maybe later this year to help raise funds for the church roof. Also practising for a live performance of the song 'Risen' for Easter Sunday in church. You may remember our virtual choir sang this on video last year.
We're always looking for new members so if you enjoy singing why not come along and join us? You don't have to read music as we learn all our songs during rehearsals and using practice CDs (or MP3) at home. We enjoy a range of different music from popular songs and songs from musicals to folk, spirituals and faith music. Don't be shy - give it a go. We rehearse every Thursday evening 6 - 7pm in St Stephen's church, East Hardwick. For more information contact Barbara
Are you interested in taking on a role in church?
We are coming up to our annual meeting at which we will be electing people in various roles. There are a number of different roles but some of the main ones include becoming a Sidesperson, a member of the PCC (Parochial Church Council) or a representative at the Deanery Synod. Don't worry if you're not sure what these roles entail. If you are willing to consider helping St Stephen's in some way, just get in touch. Full training for any tasks will be given.
We were contacted earlier this year by an organisation called 'Bats in Churches' to ask if they could set up special monitoring equipment to find out whether we have any bats roosting in church. The equipment was set up and left in church overnight, triggered by any movement. The results showed that there was no evidence of bats roosting, although this does not preclude bats flying around in the churchyard.
For more information on the work of Bats in Churches, please click on the link. www.batsinchurches.org.uk