Welcome to St Mary’s. We are a friendly and lively church for all ages, getting to know Jesus better through his Word (the Bible) and his Spirit, together on a Sunday and throughout the week.

Red Stripe
Red Stripe


Dear Church Family Members and Parish Friends,
Hoping you are all well.
This news email contains information on the following:
1.          Our Christmas Lights Outreach (from 28th November to 24th December)
2.         The Parish service, at 10 am, on Sunday (28th November) ON ZOOM
3.         A reminder of the Christmas dates
4.         Parcels of love (by 8th December)
5.         Foodbank (8th December)
6.         The Christmas Crafts morning, at St. Paul's (4th December)
7.         Refresh@10, relaunching at St. Mary's (11th December)
8.         'Hungry Thursday' (9th December)
If you have any questions about these or any of the other events happening in the parish in the coming months, please do be in touch.
Love and prayers,
1.            Our Christmas Lights Outreach (from 28th November to 24th December)
Following this working so well last year, we are repeating our Christmas Lights outreach again this December.
At any point between Sunday 28th November and Friday 24th December, please can you decorate a window in your house with Christmas lights or a nativity scene to show others around us a little of the love of God this Christmas.
Please take a photo of your window and either email it back to me or to Michael on socialmedia@norkwithburghheath.com or post it to our parish Facebook page which can be found by searching NBHSurrey on Facebook.
Please see the flyer attached for more information. And please do share this with friends and family so they can join in too.
It would be wonderful to have as many windows decorated as possible!
2.           The Parish service, at 10 am, on Sunday (28th November) ON ZOOM
Our Service this Sunday will be a whole parish service and will be at the alternative time of 10 am, on Zoom. (The hope is that, after Christmas, we will be able to begin having whole parish services in person, alternating between the churches on the 4th Sunday of the month).
More information about Sunday's Zoom service will be sent out on Saturday.
3.           A reminder of the Christmas dates
The coming 6 weeks (the rest of 2021) are busy for our parish and some key dates are below: 
Saturday 4th December, 10 am - 12 pm: Christmas Crafts morning for all ages at St. Paul’s
Wednesday 8th December 2 - 4 pm: Parish food bank collection at St. Mary’s, including collection of Christmas parcels of love for those who are isolated and vulnerable at this time
Saturday 11th December 10 - 12 pm: Refresh@10 Relaunch & Christmas Celebration
Sunday 12th December, 9 am: Community Alive Advent Service at St. Paul’s
Sunday 12th December, 4pm: Christingle Service at St. Paul’s
Tuesday 14th December: 2pm - Christmas Carol services & Carol singing for our local Nursing homes (arrangements TBC, as it depends on regulations nearer the time how many of us can go)
Sunday 19th December, 11 am: Messy Nativity at St. Mary’s
Sunday 19th December, 6.00 pm: Parish Carol Service, at St. Mary’s
Friday 24th December, Christmas Eve, 3pm: Christingle at St. Mary’s
Friday 24th December, Christmas Eve, 5.30pm: Parish Crib Service, at St. Paul’s
Saturday 25th December, 9 am: Christmas Day service at St. Paul’s
Saturday 25th December, 11 am: Christmas Day service at St. Mary’s
Sunday 26th December: no services in our churches, the Diocese are providing a pre-recorded service to enjoy, and more information will be sent out nearer the time
Please do store the dates in your diaries and come to as many of these special occasions as you can.
4.           Parcels of love (by 8th December)
On the 8th December, when we do our Christmas food bank collection, we will also be collecting Christmas Parcels of love (gift bags filled with 8-10 small items which may bless an isolated member of our local community this Christmas). We will be collecting them at the vicarage porch from now until the 8th December, or they can be delivered on the 8th itself.
If you would like to contribute a parcel for an adult man or a woman, please do not include any nuts or alcohol.
Please do be in contact if you would like any further information.
5.           Foodbank (8th December)
Our final food bank collection of this year will be on Wednesday 8th December, from 2-4 pm, outside St Mary's.
Items most wanted at this time are: custard, UHT milk, long-life fruit juice, Spaghetti in sauce, nappies & pull ups 4+ and 6+, bags for life, selection boxes, Christmas puddings (non-alcoholic), savoury snacks - crisps, twiglets, cheeselets etc tinned ham, seasonal biscuits, chocolates, sweets & treats, mince pies, packet stuffing, Christmas napkins, Christmas tea towels, Gift cards of £10 for Argos, Boots, Superdrug, Wilkos.
6.           Christmas Crafts Morning, at St Paul's (4th December)
On Saturday 4th December, from 10am- 12pm, we will be having a Christmas Crafts morning for all ages at St Paul's.
This will be an opportunity to come along, enjoy a drink and some biscuits or mince pies and to do some Christmas crafts.
All are welcome. Those who wish to social distance will be able to do so, just have a quiet word with Alex on arrival to indicate that this is your preference.
7.           Refresh@10, relaunching at St. Mary's (11th December)
On Saturday 11th December, from 10 am - 12 pm, we will be having a re-launch of 'Refresh@10' at St. Mary's.
This is a community coffee morning, which had to stop during COVID, and we are delighted to be able to start again with Christmas activities & festive cheer.
All are welcome.
8.         'Hungry Thursday' (9th December)

On Thursday 9th December, the 'Thirsty Thursday' men's group will be having their Christmas meal at the 'Grumpy Mole' at 7.30 pm.
If you would like to join in, please contact Simon Parnall asap on simon.parnall@me.com, to book your place.
Love and prayers,

Rev Alex Stevens
Parish of Nork with Burgh Heath
07312 113019
The PCC of the Parish of Nork with Burgh Heath is a Registered UK Charity No 1180563

WEEKLY SERMONS - To access our past weekly sermons, please click here




WEEKLY SERMONS - To access our past weekly sermons, please click here


As we are all aware, the Government lifted all COVID restrictions on Monday 19th July.
The Church of England and the Diocese have urged all church leaders and PCCs to make decisions over COVID safety which
•         continue to manage the risks of COVID as safely as possible
•         take into account the needs of the more vulnerable members of our church family (ie thinking of the needs of others - rather than our own wishes as our focus)
•         and demonstrate responsible love & care for all
Decisions over COVID measures are now being made in each individual parish, according to the unique circumstances of different areas and different groups of people.
I wrote to you last week, seeking your preferences on topics such as social distancing, mask wearing, singing and sharing the peace. Thank you so much to everyone who responded, it has been very helpful.
The PCC and I then met on Monday evening and discussed all the findings, which are shared below with the decisions which we think are wise for the current time and which will be reviewed again in our next PCC meeting on Monday 20th September.
We have tried to go with the majority preferences wherever possible as will also be shown below.
At the bottom of the outcomes to the key questions asked are some further general points, which were highlighted by some of you and which we discussed as part of the process.
Sharing the Peace
The easiest decision to make, following everyone's responses is that - for now - we will continue to share the peace by waving & nodding at each other, including those on Zoom.
76% of respondents said that their preference is to keep waving for now.
10% suggested elbow or fist pumps
14% are happy to share the peace by shaking hands, but would avoid those who are uncomfortable (there was a suggestion that perhaps those who don't wish to share the peace could stay seated) and would hand sanitise afterwards.
The majority, by far, wished to keep waving & nodding.
This will next be reviewed at the PCC meeting on Monday 20th September.
Mask Wearing
Again, this was an easy decision to make (because of the high majority preference): For now, we will ask you to continue to wear masks when you enter the church building for worship, until you exit at the end.
73% of respondents said that they would prefer us to still wear masks
Of these 3% suggested that if someone refuses to wear a mask then it may be helpful for them to be asked to sit at the front of the church to keep others safe (I will not be asking this of anyone - but instead will ask everyone to consider the needs and wishes of others around them)
10% of respondents said that they would prefer to stop wearing masks, but are happy to continue to do so if others would prefer to keep them
16% of respondents stated that they would like to stop wearing masks and of these 3% wished to put them on during the sharing of communion and 3% wished to review according to local infection rates over time
This request does not apply to children under 12 and does not apply to the medically exempt. Please do chat with me about any concerns you may have in this regard.
This will next be reviewed at the PCC meeting on Monday 20th September.
Singing in Church
From this Sunday (August 1st) we will begin to sing again in church, but we will ask everyone (excepting children under 12 and those who are exempt) to keep their masks on to do so.
94% of respondents would like some kind of singing to resume.
Of this 94% 17% of people said that they would prefer this to be outside
Of this 94% a different 37% (ie not including the 17% above) of people would only feel comfortable singing inside with masks on
Of this 94% a different 20% of people would prefer to start by singing some of the songs only so that everyone can regain confidence in this
Of this 94%, the remaining 23% had no additional stipulations
Additional comments made:
27% of respondents said that it would be sensible to ask those who are keen to sing to sit at the front and those who are nervous about singing to sit nearer the back
11% of respondents commented that having some services where there is singing and some where there isn't would probably not be helpful
The approach taken by PCC to decide to sing all songs, but keep masks on was an attempt to 'go down the middle' of all the different suggestions.
This will next be reviewed at the PCC meeting on Monday 20th September.
Social Distancing in Church
Of the decisions made, this was the most complicated! We would ask you to bear with us in the process which we will go through on this.
For now, we will continue to keep 2 metre social distancing, however over the next few weeks we will experiment with how to make church look 'more like church used to':
From the 29th August,
•         We will re-establish rows (though there will be some rows which people do sit on and others which they don't)
•         We will also re-establish choice over where people sit (thank you for your patience up to now in sitting in allocated places, which - although trying to take into account hearing & other specific needs people have shared - has not always been to everyone's ideal!)
53% of respondents stated that they would prefer to keep to 2 metre social distancing for the current time
6% suggested reducing to 1.5 metres
22% suggested reducing to 1 metre
3% suggested sitting on alternate rows and sitting 1,2,3 (appropriate number) of seats apart
12% suggested social distancing isn't needed any more, but 3% suggested they would be happy to continue if others would like it
3% suggested having church half and half- 2m social distancing in one half and none in the other
3% were happy to go with the majority
A key point made, for us all to be aware of, is that little children do not understand 2 metres, 1 metre (etc). The parents who fed back on the questions are keen to support those who would like social distancing, but ask for understanding and kindness where their little ones unwittingly wander nearer to others than intended.
The approach taken by PCC here, was to try and honour the majority - over half of respondents still wish to keep 2 metre social distancing for now; but also to try and honour those who would like things to start to change by reshaping what the 2-metre social distancing looks like.
We have made the date of the 29th August to give time to experiment and re-prepare the churches. This will follow the joint service on Zoom on the 22nd August and so also gives extra time for those who will be involved in helping move the furniture for the revised church layout.
This will next be reviewed at the PCC meeting on Monday 20th September.
Some Further General Points:
Some further points were raised by a number of you and were discussed at PCC and in addition to the points above:
1) Zoom provision will continue for both services: Zoom is a new gift from the last 16 months which will stay with us as an additional tool for meetings and worship probably forever now, which can be applied as appropriate to different events. 16% of respondents to the questions do not feel safe enough (for medical or other reasons) or ready to return to church yet and will continue to join us from Zoom for the foreseeable future.
2) Our Monthly Joint Service will continue on Zoom for now, due to the higher numbers of people and also to enable those who are continuing on Zoom regularly for the moment to be able to see the rest of us and us them more easily
3) Booking for services will continue (at least until 20th September): one thing the government has requested is that a registering system continues for events, including worship, and this is a good way of doing this as well as planning for those who come. This is so that if there is a covid outbreak, we know who may be affected by it and can let you know swiftly.
4) Communion will continue in one kind only - although we are actually allowed to consider using the cup & sharing wine with one another, this is simply not safe or sensible at the current time.
5) Cleaning, good ventilation, hand sanitisation and other sensible measures will remain in place - everyone will continue to be asked to hand sanitise on arriving at the churches (to protect each other from the spread of germs) and everyone will continue to be asked to hand sanitise on the way out (to protect the local community from any germs which we still may have amongst us)
6) A more adaptable approach will be needed for Messy Church and Community Alive, the services where we have most children at each church: Although social distancing measures will still be in place for the adults, children need to interact and be able to be free (as far as their parents are happy with) to engage with one another - as they do at school. It is important that they can really enjoy the craft activities, games, role play activities and other items planned for them. Safety measures will still be in place for these services, but they will need their own risk assessments and different planning.
7) Each group activity will need its own risk assessment: although safety plans for group activities will be expected to be in line with the decisions for worship, individual risk assessments will be needed for each of these as we begin to open out again from September (consultations are currently taking place with team leaders on plans for the autumn)
8) Refreshments: Although we would all love to share refreshments with one another after services, as it is a key part of church in usual times, we have decided not to restart refreshments at the current time. As with each of the decisions made, this will be reviewed at the next PCC meeting on the 20th September.
This decision about refreshments does not apply to the group & outreach activities in the week (where numbers are generally smaller), and decisions on how to approach this in each different circumstance will be made by the team leaders and myself, jointly.
These points will next be reviewed at the PCC meeting on Monday 20th September.
I hope it is helpful to have read our thinking and you now feel confident about what to expect on Sunday at church and why.
Thank you again to all who took time to answer the questions either in email or discussion. It has been greatly appreciated.
Love and prayers,

Rev Alex Stevens
Parish of Nork with Burgh Heath