Latest News

Update from Rev Rob…

Church Reopen for Private Prayer


Saturdays 10 am – 12 pm                       


Suffolk Historic Churches Cycle Ride

Despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 this year’s cycle ride is still set to take place on Saturday 12th September.  If you would like to ride or stride then more information can be found by visiting: or by talking to Katie @ St Peters, Sue @ St Francis or Kathy Frary @ St Mary’s.  Latest update is that Keith, Ava and Cliff are riding for St Francis and Brian for St Mary’s. If you wish to sponsor/make a donation please do so either to the cyclist, church organiser or Parish Office, stating which church funds are for


Funeral Service for Joan Smith

The video of Joan’s funeral is now live on the SWITM Youtube Account, you can view it by clicking the link below or by copying and pasting into your web browser

If you would like to receive a DVD of the service then please let Rob know either via email to or to 01473 901361.


In-Person Worship

Sundays 9.30 am @ St. Peter Stoke Park Drive.

If you would like to attend this service you can register by going to:

  2. then simply select the service you wish to register for by clicking on the date. 
  3. This will open a box with the date, time and venue in and a map showing the venue.
  4. Click on ‘SIGN UP’ which will open a new window in your browser
  5. The form will ask you to complete your
  6. Name
  7. Telephone Number
  8. Email Address
  9. Whether you wish for your details to be held after the service for 21 days for the purposes of test and trace.
  10. Whether you wish for a double seat because you are attending with a person from the same house or with who you are in a support bubble.
  11. There is then the option of adding an additional person / people which will add the sections above.
  12. When you have entered all the details you simply press proceed
  13. You will then be asked to confirm that your details are correct
  14. The final stage is the screen will say that you are signed up
  15. A confirmation email will then be sent to you and to us to confirm your seat. 

This operates a first come first served basis and means you won’t get a separate email from us at the weekend.  If you later decide you cannot attend then please let Kay, Rob or Merv know and we will delete the booking.

Places can still be booked by telephoning the office and Kay will book you in.  The deadline for telephone bookings is mid-day on the Thursday before the service on the Sunday.

Saint Francis Hawthorn Drive

We will be restarting the 9.30 am service on a Thursday from the 10th September but in the main church and not the Holy Cross Chapel. Attendance is limited to 14 people and places must be booked in advance using one of the methods above.  The deadline for telephone bookings is mid-day on the Tuesday before the service

Saint Mary at Stoke

We are now planning for a return to in-person worship but need to do some more careful thinking having discovered a potential issue with the administration of Communion.  Once we have overcome this we will be able to advise when we will be starting services.


Receiving Communion

We have now held 4 ‘in-person’ services at St Peters and are making some changes to the way that people come up to receive Communion following feedback about the unpleasant taste that the hand-gel leaves on the bread.

The guidance does not permit us to place the wafer directly in to a persons mouth.  We will however invite you to come up as soon as the Agnus Dei has been said.  Only a single squirt of the hand gel is necessary, and it is recommended that it be rubbed in for 30 seconds.  This will mean that your hands should be dry before you have the wafer put in your hand and hopefully will remove the aftertaste of the gel.

The recommendation is that you remove your mask before you clean your hands, consume the wafer before you move away from in front of the President, replace your mask and then cleanse your hands again.  This is to reduce any risk of cross contamination between the mask, your hands and the wafer.


Rev Rob writes…

Dear Siblings in Christ

As we start the return to in-person worship some of you have asked why it is not possible to receive the wine of Holy Communion in individual glasses as you would if you attended a service in a Methodist or non-conformist chapel.  This is indeed a good question, and like most concerning the Church of England it is both very simple and complicated to answer.

I will start with the simple answer and it is that the House of Bishops are of the opinion that to do so is unlawful and against the historical understanding of the Church of England.  If you happen to read the church press you will be aware that a group of Barristers have written a dissenting opinion and this may be on the agenda for either the extra-ordinary meeting of General Synod in September or the on-line meeting in November.  For now, the original decision of the House of Bishops remains and I will explain later why this is unlikely to change!

The more complicated answer starts with our understanding of the significance of the first Maundy Thursday, when Jesus began the tradition of what we now refer to as Holy Communion.  Each time we share in the service of Holy Communion we recall the words of Jesus and his instruction that we are to ‘do this in remembrance of him’. It is I believe more than a simple act of remembrance, what we do is steeped in meaning and symbolism.

We gather together as the family of God around the table, one of the invitations to receive that I frequently use reminds us that it is Jesus’ table for it is his meal that we share.  Our unity with one another and with Jesus is demonstrated by the symbolism of one bread and one cup (1 Corinthians 10:16).  Traditionally this was demonstrated by the practice of a single loaf of bread and in the Anglican tradition a shared cup.  For practical reasons much of the Western church moved to the use of wafers, although the Eastern church continues to use a loaf. All are taken from the same container and while it is common to use more than one cup for practical reasons it is shared with one another.  The sharing of a common cup is also a reminder of the cup of self-sacrificial love given by Jesus.  On the night in which he was betrayed, while in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, ‘My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want’ (Matthew 26:39b).

The use of individual cups removes the symbolism of the one cup and the unity that is expressed at a time when our unity with one another and in Christ seems to be so hard to retain.

Another perfectly valid question is, why consecrate the wine at all? The answer is similar to that above.  What we do in the service of Holy Communion is to recreate the events of the last supper, we use the words that Jesus himself used and take both bread and wine just as he did. No matter what we add, or the way we do it, in essence the route of every service of Holy Communion is exactly this.  Even at times of pandemic, throughout 2,000 years of Christian tradition and history both bread and wine have been used – together as a whole. Because Jesus commands, it is therefore not considered to be Communion unless it includes the act of taking bread and wine and use of the words of institution of Jesus himself.

This is why a small amount of wine is blessed by the President and consumed by them on behalf of the whole congregation.  Some may have suggested that so as not to set the Priest apart as being someone special a member of the congregation should receive on behalf of the people.  Hygiene concerns apart, the President is the representative of Jesus to the people and the people to him, they act as the focal point in receiving and giving both from God to his people and from his people to God. The name we use in Common Worship for the role of the Priest who leads is President and gives us an answer as to why they consume the wine; it is part of their role of ‘presiding’ over the assembly.

The instructions in both the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship state that ‘Any Consecrated Bread and Wine which is not required for the purposes of Communion is consumed at the end of the distribution or service’.  Any wine left in individual glasses could not be consumed safely by anyone other than the person receiving communion.  This is problematic because in the Church of England we have no exact understanding of what happens to the Bread and Wine either during the Eucharistic Prayer of thanksgiving.  There are several understandings all within the Anglican fold that include:

– the bread and wine are physically transformed into the real presence of Christ.

– the bread and wine remain exactly as they are but take on the representation of the body and blood of Jesus.

– that the bread and wine are simply a reminder of those events that took place at the last supper.

who is one of the founders of our Anglican tradition held that the bread and wine remained as such until the moment of reception, and it was when they were being consumed that they were transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.

How we view what takes place, and what change (or not) takes place to the bread and wine when it is blessed or consecrated dictates how seriously we take the instruction to consume what remains.  If we, or others hold that it is transformed into the body and blood of Jesus by either Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation then it is much more important that it is all consumed.  This is why the sacred vessels are ritually cleansed with water, to ensure that all particles are consumed before they are washed with hot water.  For me personally it is also about what meaning is attached to the bread and wine by others both for good and bad.

In some of the more protestant traditions that use the individual glasses they do not either have the theological understanding that we have, or they have developed a practice where the remnants of the bread and wine are disposed of by means other than consuming them.

The question that this raises is, well why can’t we? Of course, we could, but the question underlying all of our response to COVID-19 is how we juggle the value that our tradition holds with the requirements of a global pandemic. It is sometimes said in jest that once something is done once in the Church of England it becomes a tradition. While this is sometimes more true than we might admit, it can have the effect of changing traditions and understanding inadvertently.  This is why such a change would, in the advice of the liturgical commission, require the consent of both the House of Bishops and of General Synod and that such a change would be highly contentious and create significant disagreement within the church without reaching a common mind.

There are also important health considerations, even by using individual glasses, in that there presence next to each other on the trays would increase the risk of cross contamination by other communicants by both touch and breath while picking them up. Because of their size placing them in the hands of the congregation could not be done without touching the hand of the recipient meaning that in practical terms after every person has been given their glass we would need to clean our hands.  Cleaning them after use would also bring us under the same category as places that serve food and drink as they and a shared chalice would be classed as a common bowl.

The decision to withhold the chalice / wine from the congregation is not an easy one.  A key part of the reformed tradition is that the cup was introduced as a consequence of the reformation, prior to this it had been the priest who alone received. Article 30 of the 39 articles of faith (Part of the doctrine of the Church of England) affirms that Holy Communion is to be in both kinds (bread and wine). However, at a time when plagues and pandemics were a much more common part of life the Sacrament Act of 1547 added a caveat by including the phrase, ‘except necessity otherwise require’. In other words there may be times and occasions when the administration of the sacrament in one kind is lawful because of a genuine necessity, such as a global pandemic.

As I have commented on before there are also times when it is necessary to receive in one kind only.  The most obvious is when someone is unwell and can’t swallow solids or is intolerant to wheat or gluten, or is a recovering alcoholic. Where a child has been admitted to Holy Communion before receiving confirmation a parent may chose that they not receive the wine and for some it is a health or lifestyle choice.

And this is, as they say, where we find ourselves at this point in our shared worshipping life together.  For the time being we continue with the guidance from the national church.  Conscious that however we gather, and in what ways we make our communion the God of life meets with us and invites us to come to his table and eat.

I hope that this gives some background? If you would like to read the complete advice that has been made available by the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England you can do so by CLICKING HERE this will take you to the PDF on the Church of England Website.

Church Reopening for Private Prayer

St Mary at Stoke is open at the following days / times.

Tuesdays 10 am – 12 pm

Thursdays 2 pm – 4 pm

Saturdays 10 am – 12 pm

If you are able to pop in at one of these times, you will be very welcome in a physically distant way, If you have been advised to shield or avoid public spaces then please do not put yourself at risk.

Feedback is that the opportunity to pray is appreciated, we do however need more Stewards If you are able to help and not yet offered please talk to Kay in the parish office  Click Here

The instructions we have received make it clear that those fulfilling these roles need to be below the age of 70, and not in a shielded or vulnerable group.  This is not a decision that is taken lightly but recognises that some in our community are more vulnerable to the virus than others.

Bible Study Online

We have started a ‘Zoom’ Bible Study looking at the previous weeks Gospel in more detail than can be contained in a sermon.  All are welcome to join, if you don’t yet receive e-mail updates from Merv ( please ask him to add you to the list to receive instructions on how to join.  This is a long-term plan that will continue after lockdown has been eased.


Treasurers Update

Below are the summarised accounts for SWITM for the seven months to 31st July 2020 and I would make the following comments:

Whilst these figures are showing a healthier position than our budget:

  1. Stewardship Giving etc. is under budget but would be more below budget if SWITM had not received, in April, three one-off payments amounting to £1400 plus Gift Aid. This is worrying as without these generous payments Stewardship Giving etc. would be £2500 under budget.
  2. Rental/leasing is over budget basically because of the restart of the Bright Sparks Nursery at St Peter’s.
  3. Parish Quota under budget by £2250 – it was agreed to pay £3000 a month as against £3750 budgeted for the first three months and review the situation later during the year.
  4. Routine Maintenance etc. is under budget by £6127. This type of expenditure is budgeted over a year so I would expect to have large variances.
  5. Insurance is under budget by £1552. This is partly due to an over accrual at the end of 2019 and over budgeting for this year.

So, we are fortunate in respect of ii) above as this has a positive cash impact.

However if you add the on-going shortfall in i) above and the ‘savings’ in respect of iii) (we will have to catch this up at sometime during the year), iv) (who knows what is in store for us later) and v) (which is purely accounting) this totals nearly £12500 of the variance. This does mean that the financial position is not a rosy as shown.

I will not hark on about the need for an increase in our Stewardship Giving, but it would be great if those you who pay via the envelope scheme and gift aid the donation would move onto Stewardship Giving. I understand that since the starting of services a number of you have brought in envelopes covering the missing weeks and thank you to you for doing this. The reason why I am suggesting the Stewardship Giving scheme is that it means a regular stream of income which is essential if we have to move away again from Church services.

Finally, I finish by saying that we are in very trying and unchartered times so please stay safe and well.

Ian Steel


August 18th 2020.

South West Ipswich Team Ministry
Amalgamation of Designated Funds to 30th July 2020 – Income
Income and Expenditure Basis
 TotalBudget 2020Variance
 7 months7 months 
Stewardship Giving, Envelopes, Collections and Gift Aid4293843700-762
Flat and Halls – lettings1230994752834
Investments – interest897591306
Other Income386925421327
Total Income62059574574602
Amalgamation of Designated Funds to 31st July 2020 – Expenditure
Income and Expenditure Basis
Clergy and Chuch Service Costs Expenses70617209-148
Parish Quota2100023250-2250
Maintenance and Equipment23318458-6127
Office Costs72937826-533
Cleaning Costs20012029-28
Sundry Expenses25721920652
Total Expenditure5038460470-10086
Excess Income over Expenditure11675-301314688