By Martin Gibson

Yesterday (Wednesday) the PCC adopted a recommendation by the Worship Committee that St Mary’s church should close with immediate effect. This is as a result of the greatly increased numbers of Covid 19 in the parish. The safety of the congregation is paramount. No date has been set for re-opening.

Although the church is closed and services suspended this does not mean that all activity has ceased. Sue Farr is working hard to produce a list of people who might be at risk, either for health or loneliness reasons, and that could well include everyone’s need for spiritual support. So within the next day or so we will have a data base, drawn from various sources, which will enable Sue’s team to stay in regular touch by telephone and the odd personal visit, with all who might need it.

The PCC also decided that it would guarantee the current shortfall needed to enable the contracts to be signed for the Tower Restoration project. This will amount to £35,000 and is, in effect, a loan which will be repaid in the future, but with which the need for actual cash (as opposed to the promise of grants) to run the project, will be satisfied. It means that work on carving of the pinnacles through the winter can commence and the main works should then begin in the late Spring. A further grant of £5,000 was received a few days ago taking the total already pledged to over £180,000.

The Village Volunteers, Tockington Together and the Old Down Community Support Group are all still in existence. These organisations are here to help anyone who needs it. Shopping, dog walking, medicines, sorting out a computer or just a cheerful chat. If you need ANY HELP AT ALL these people will always help. Watch out for further news in the February edition of Meeting Point.

The current lockdown has resulted in Avon & Somerset Police instructing all community SPEEDWATCH teams to cease operating for the time being. The radar speed visors (with a smiley face if you are a good boy!) will still be used. The one outside the Parish Hall will be moved to another location next week.

Holy Eucharist in Bristol Cathedral. Last Sunday Margaret and I thought we should experience communion in another setting. We settled on Bristol Cathedral because although we had attended the ordinations of Anita Thorne, David Bone and Ann Lloyd, we had never been to a conventional service.

Outside, and situated on College Green, the cathedral is quite plain and hardly inspiring, with the exception of the Western facade. That all changes internally. Vast open spaces, with the floor a mixture of patterned stone, tiles and marble sitting underneath columns which soar 60 feet towards Heaven, terminating in beautiful fan vaulted ceilings. Founded in 1140 and consecrated 8 years later, it was formerly called the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity and its construction took 700 years plus substantial repair work following the Bristol Blitz.

The service itself was very similar to our own at St Mary’s, though a little more formal and higher church. A lone chorister matched with the powerful organ, provided the musical variety. Canon Dr Mandy Ford led the service and herself distributed the bread from the paten. Around 60 communicants attended and all in all this was an experience to be enjoyed and remembered.

One thing we particularly liked was the electronic card reader which allowed us very easily and quickly to leave a donation.

Miscellaneous observations on modern life

As any member of a church committee will tell you, after all is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink lager all day.

If I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I’d put shoes on my cat.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

‘Most cars on our roads have only one occupant, usually the driver.’ (BBC reporter)

I really don’t mind getting older, but my body is taking it badly.

I thought getting old would take longer.

Cleaning is just putting stuff in less obvious places.