The Worship Committee has approved a plan for St Mary’s to be open on Wednesdays from 9:30am to 5pm. Until now it was 10am to 12 noon.

The Reverend Steve Oram has taken over the management of the readers/intercessors rota whilst Ann Lloyd is still shielding on behalf of husband Richard.

Local master carpenter Ted Addis, has just finished a hedgehog house to be installed in the graveyard. Ted, who is a sprightly 90, quipped “I hope I finish this box before I need another, bigger, box!” Thank you Ted, if your new box gives a winter home to just one hedgehog it will be JOB DONE

The Sunday morning service in St Mary’s continues to grow in size with 36 people present last Sunday. The semi circular layout of the chairs around the altar is proving very popular and more and more people recognize just how safe the church is.

In another sign that life is returning to normal, the Social Committee is exploring ideas as how best to celebrate Harvest. The members are also investigating means of safely holding an Autumn Quiz. The Movie Club is already planning to start its Autumn season in October. All these activities depend very much on there not being a “second spike” and how social distancing can be maintained. But if plans are not made now, the actuality of social events happening is delayed even further.

Another church outreach meeting that is being re-considered at the moment is the weekly Thursday coffee morning in the village stores. The layout of the coffee lounge just isn’t conducive to maintaining Covid 19 social rules. In particular there are no windows, so no ventilation. Sue Farr is working on a plan to reopen the coffee mornings in St Mary’s itself. Lots of airy space here!

The issue of road closures by local councils is proving to be a hot potato – including those in the High Streets in Thornbury and Staple Hill, both a part of South Gloucestershire. During lockdown the Government offered grants to local authorities for the purpose of pedestrianising town centres.  The Staple Hill one way system was quickly abandoned in the face of local objections, whilst Thornbury High Street remains closed – albeit whilst facing strong criticism from local businesses. Whilst local authorities do in any case, have the power to close a highway temporarily, they are legally bound to give reasonable notice. In the case of Thornbury High Street, one week seems a bit hasty. And it is not a “temporary” closure – unless you think 18 months is temporary. It might be that South Gloucestershire Council has acted ulta vires – outside its powers.

An interesting moral dilemma, on a national level, is on the horizon. Shamima Begum – the London school girl who went off to join ISIS in Syria 4 years ago. Should she be allowed back in to the UK? She was only 15 when she and 2 friends left.  Just a girl? One who seems to have no remorse? Is she a Bangladeshi citizen (which would allow the UK to disown her as she would not then be stateless). What do Christians think? Interesting.

During lockdown many villagers helped out with shopping, dog walking and  meds collection. These people incurred travel expenses. A grant of £400 to cover such costs was obtained from South Gloucs Council and has now been distributed. The left over balance will be sent to North Bristol Foodbank. Thanks to David Prothero for dealing with the administration.

And now your weekly dose of humour:

Five good reasons for joining the choir:

You always have a seat even when the church is packed.

You are running out of clean clothes and a robe covers all that.

The collection plate is never passed to the choir.

You can see the clock from the choir stalls.

You’ve been known to nod off during services and no one will see you here.