Christmas Services and Events at St Michael’s – dates for your diary

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Join us in celebrating the greatest news of all this Christmas – God with us!

These are our Christmas Services and Events:

Tuesday 13th December, 7.00pm – Light of Life Service 

A service to remember loved ones and dedicate a light on our Christmas tree

Wednesday 14th December, 7.00pm – Gilpin Singers Christmas Concert

£3 entry, enjoy a varied concert of music old and new, get in the Christmas spirit!

Saturday 17th December, 11.00am – Carol Singing in the Wild Boar Pub

Meet us in the Wild Boar for some carol singing – wear a Christmas jumper!

Sunday 18th December, 3.00pm – Christingle

A magical family service – all proceeds to Children’s Society

Christmas Eve

3.00pm Interactive Family Crib Service – a chance to take part in a nativity play and sing some carols

7.00pm Our Traditional 9 Lessons and Carols Service

11.30pm Midnight Mass

Christmas Day

8.30am Eucharist

10.00am Festival Eucharist

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Please share this information on Social Media using the buttons below. Thank you!

Important changes in how you get your Signpost

Thank you to all for your continued support by subscribing to our monthly Signpost Magazine. To help keep pace with the ever changing regulations required in dealing with the pandemic we need to change our methods of payment, which include a price increase due to increased costs. The posting of the magazine will cease. If you have any questions on the changes please ring Sue or Alastair on 584 1455.

How to receive and pay for your Signpost Magazine in 2021:-
Email Version of Magazine (50p per copy)
If you would like to receive an Email version of the Signpost magazine for 2021, we would be most grateful if you could pay £6.00 for 12 issues (50p per copy) by bank transfer.

You can do this by sending an Email to HoughtonTreasurer@aol.com and we will send you our Bank Account details so you can action this payment.
However if you prefer not to use bank transfer you can send a Cheque (made payable to PCC of Houghton le Spring) to:-
St Michael and All Angels Church, Church Street, Houghton le Spring, DH4
4DN. Important – please remember to put your email address on the back of the cheque so we know who it relates to.

Printed Version of Magazine (£1 per copy)
If you would like to have a Printed version of the Magazine delivered in person by a Church Magazine Distributor, we would be most grateful if you could pay £10 for 12 editions. 1 each month.
You can pay in Cash or by Cheque (made payable to PCC of Houghton le Spring) to your Church Magazine Distributor.

Can you please put your payment in an envelope so it can be safely and easily handed to your Distributor. If you wish to use bank transfer, please follow the instruction above.

Thank you.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes
Sue Bradley (PCC Treasurer)

Follow the Star

We invite you to colour your star, however imaginatively you wish and place it in your window for passers-by to see, just as many displayed a rainbow to say thank you to our wonderful NHS earlier this year. Download your star {here}.

From the beginning of December there will be a large Christmas tree outside St Michael & All Angels church, the one on the Broadway. This will be a remembering Christmas tree. We invite you and your family to think of someone you have loved but who is with us no longer, someone you will want to remember this Christmas. Write their name on the star, and bring it and hang it on the tree at St Michael’s or you may wish to hang it on your own tree at home. Stars can be found by the church doors.

Church cannot offer the services and events we usually do for Christmas but you can join us in other ways which are detailed on our Facebook page.

May you be full of light and hope this Christmas.

November’s Signpost

The November Signpost is now available for your pleasure. Please feel free to share with friends and family. Do contact the church office if you or a friend would benefit from a paper copy. Our thanks go out again to all those who have contributed to this edition and to Malcolm and Steven for all their efforts!

October Signpost

The October Signpost is now available for your pleasure. Please feel free to share with friends and family. Do contact the church office if you or a friend would benefit from a paper copy. Our thanks go out again to all those who have contributed to this edition and to Malcolm and Steven for all their efforts!

September Signpost

The Signpost for September is available to read HERE.

Feel free to share with friends, family or neighbours you think would enjoy reading the Signpost. If you know anyone without access to email or missing their copy would you please telephone or text your request to Malcolm Foster on 07860 250300 and we will try our best to get copies to them. If you would like to have an electronic copy sent to you automatically, email emme0707@gmail.com with your request.
Once again huge thanks to everyone who contributed to this edition and a special thank you to Malcolm (editor) and Steve for all their efforts to get it published.

Returning to our buildings

A small first step in returning to our buildings

This Sunday we are taking a small but significant step in returning to our church buildings.  From Sunday 19th July we will be holding a service of Holy Communion in St Michael’s.  

We’re only able to do this if we follow government and church guidance so that we’re both legal and people are safe.  This means that we are limited as to who can be in church and so we will be keeping our ‘on-line’ services for the foreseeable future to help people engage with worship whether they can be in church or not.  

From this next Sunday our pattern of worship will be as follows:

9am Holy Communion from St Michael’s
-limited to 15 households of up to 3, places to be booked in advance.
-this will be ‘live streamed’ on church facebook page (available from this time, including for those used to 10am service).


11am Service of the Word on Zoom and Dial-in
-with different contributors for Reading, Prayers, Sermon
-with the choir leading us in hymns 
-with the opportunity to chat afterwards in 2s&3s in ‘breakout rooms’


11am Young Church on Zoom 
-please contact the parish office if you want to be a part of this.


If you are able and would like to come to our 9am service in church please book in for this by calling the parish office on 0770 7043395 between 10 and 2 on a Tuesday or Thursday.   

We will be allocating seating on a first come first served basis, if there is no space on a particular week we will allocate seating for future weeks to people who have been unable to attend because of lack of availability.  We will also need you to give us a contact telephone number for ‘track and trace’ purposes.

We recognise this is a very different way of doing church and it feels very strange to be having to take this approach but this is a small first step to our returning to our buildings.  We remain committed to retaining our on-line ways of being church in this time of transition.   
Please continue to keep our leadership team in prayer as they seek to help us navigate through these times.  


Some Information that may be helpful

1. What is going to be different when I come to church?
We have to make sure socially distancing is kept in church – this has necessitated removing many of the pews and introducing a ‘one-way system’ around the church building.  We are also limited in what we can do in church and need to have a shorter liturgy, we are unable to sing hymns nor can we meet in the meeting room or serve refreshments.   

2. Where can I sit in church?
Our seating in church is limited to 15 pews which can seat up to 3 people (who must be from the same household or ‘bubble’) – we need to know in advance contact details for who is coming into a service (we keep these for 3 weeks) for ‘track and trace’ purposes.

3. If I am unwell or clinically vulnerable can I come to church?
People who are self isolating or who have symptoms of coronovirus should not attend church.  People who are clinically vulnerable will be at increased risk and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable have been advised not to attend large gatherings but the decision to come to worship is theirs alone.  Masks can be worn but, at this stage, they are not obligatory.

4. Can anyone come to church?
Yes of course but we are limited in our numbers and people must book in advance .
 
5. In what other ways are our buildings open?
Our church building is also open for funerals at present.  We have further planning to do before agreeing our approach for opening for weddings & baptisms as well as our Newbottle Street building for our Space4 project.

Welcome to John D’Silva

We were delighted to welcome our new Curate John Di’Silva at a special service of Welcome on Sunday 5th July.  John introduced himself to us and said he’s hoping to meet many of us over the coming weeks (via ‘zoom’ or telephone or in a socially distanced garden meeting!). We are all looking forward to getting to know him better and wish him well in his ministry with us over the coming years.

On-line collection

Money Matters!
As you’d imagine, with not being in our church buildings financial giving to church is down significantly while many of our financial commitments have not gone away.  This week we’re trialling a new way of giving to church with our ‘on-line collection’ – a bit like a collection plate being out on the way into church!  We’ll send a link to this with our service invitation or you can access it here.  If you would like to find out about regular giving to St Michael and All Angels please contact our Treasurer Alastair Bradley at email  HoughtonTreasurer@aol.com .

May 2020 Signpost Magazine

In our continuing efforts to keep in touch with as many people in our parish we are pleased to be able to continue to publish our monthly Signpost. As with the last edition we are trying to distribute this months church magazine to as many people as we are able while following Government guidelines.
This means we will publish the Signpost online again on our website and distribute to as many people as possible. Please follow this link to read May’s Signpost
Feel free to share with friends, family or neighbours you think would enjoy reading the Signpost. If you know anyone without access to email, missing their copy would you please telephone or text your request to Malcolm Foster on 07860 250300 and we will try our best to get copies to them. If you would like to have an electronic copy sent to you automatically, email emme0707@gmail.com with your request.
A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to this edition and a special thank you to Malcolm (editor) and Steve for all the last minute effort to get it published.

With my continued prayers and very good wishes.

John

Friends of Houghton Parish Church Trust – April 2020 Update

FRIENDS OF HOUGHTON PARISH CHURCH TRUST

ANNUAL REPORT 2020

CORONAVIRUS

It is with great regret that the Trustees have had to cancel the Friends Annual Musical Weekend in May which was going to be a feast of amazing talents from new and well loved performers.   We are very aware of this dreadful pandemic affecting all our lives, therefore you will not be surprised by this decision. 

It is our intention to postpone the delivery of the already prepared Annual Report until such time as it is deemed safe to do so.  The Trustees are hoping that all our loyal subscribers to the Friends will continue to support the great work that has been achieved through the Trust.

As many of you know, the Friends Trust is committed to opening the Church daily throughout the summer months.  To this end a new notice board has been ordered to advertise the Church opening times.  This would have been ready for the beginning of the season, but has had to be postponed until Church reopens.

In the meantime, all the Trustees wish you a safe passage through these life changing times.  

STAY SAFE – STAY AT HOME

If anyone would like to join the Friends, please contact George Peebles, our membership secretary on (0191)5841628.