Monday, March 23, 2020 - 9:32am

Every pm a statement from the PM - and a corresponding shift in plans...

Sunday morning we struggled a bit. What with strict hygiene and distance rules in place, changes to our usual ritual practices. no physical contact at the Greeting of Peace and no shared Chalice it felt a bit odd. Some of our number were staying away, already keeping their distance - all for good reasons. It felt like this might well be the end of Sundays as we have known them...

Monday a blissful sunny afternoon. Perfect weather for pounding round the parish delivering spiritual support to those already in quarantine - a good old fashioned bit of 'Vicaring'. My buoyant mood did not last when I arrived home to discover more social distancing policies coming onstream. The evening was spent activating our Parish Continuity Plan - actually we call it our Emergency Plan - and making sure we had cancelled our plans for our community Cafe event this week as well as our midweek Eucharist which is well attended by those in the high risk groups...

Tuesday was not the day off I had envisaged as I knew my place was in school to support the children and staff as we sort out who we have and don't have - we can carry on as the number of children who have turned up can safely be looked after with the available staff members. Various decisions were made about the last couple of weeks of term left but we can carry on to the Easter break if needs be. Extended learning materials also in preparation. Daily Prayer at Noon now happening every day as a sign we are still a praying community.

Wednesday - church services suspended - OMG! Even during 'The War' churches kept going. This hits hard for those of us whose lives revolve around the main Sunday services. I need a plan to keep Sunday Special somehow - can we do something with live streaming? Feels ambitious for a church like ours without high tech kit in use every week and we don't have any money...Preparations now needed to produce materials to keep up morale .

Thursday and I'm back in school - it has been announced we are to close by the end of the week. What to do about the children of essential workers and others mentioned yesterday by the Government? We carefully go through who qualifies and who we need to support. There are some staff who have generously volunteered to teach and look after these children - there won't be an Easter break as we are likely to see the work pressure really on our parents about that time. Meanwhile school has set up Zoom as a video conferencing tool - so there are things that are easy enough to set up for little or no money which really work.

Friday and no Keep Fit session as usual. Discussion with leader of the group leads us to think we might attempt fro next week a walk in the fresh air with 'bring your own coffee' and instruction to keep our 2m distance from each other. Afternoon go through streaming and other options with one of the Church Wardens and we agree we should give Zoom a try - dry run tomorrow set up.

Saturday and our tech experiment went well - we have cobbled together what we need between three of us and should be able to invite others into our live space tomorrow for a half hour said Eucharist and we will video this as well. So Sunday is sort of back on. Delivery of some Sunday resources and input for the week ahead delivered to the one person not online and then sent out with some instructions to our wider online network. 

Back to Sunday - just 3 of us in our Lady Chapel but all set up ready to go - and success! Good first attempt and now we need to build and improve on it but we can do it! Feels like a minor miracle. Home for a celebratory sherry - this is a Vicarage you know! Feel exhausted so decide to rest this afternoon - when you think about the week just gone no surprise I 'm feeling in need of sofa time. Life just changed radically in a few days. No church or school as we have known them up to now. No Banns to read and our Annual Parish Church Meetings are now postponed. The diary is curiously sparsely populated - but there is still a lot of work to do as we prepare for a very curious few months ahead. So I am praying I can fulfill my bit for the sake of others and that we can all pull together and save lives. It's still 'Vicaring' but not as we know it!