Coming out of lockdown

On Monday 10 May we come out of lockdown.  The usual requirements to use handgel entering and leaving the church, wearing a face mask covering nose and mouth, and observing physical distancing, will continue to apply for services at St Helena’s.

Additionally, in order to come to church, each person will need to have with them a Coronapass. This will be available soon as an app on a mobile phone, but until that is ready each person must carry proof of one of:

 A negative PCR or rapid test, taken within the last 72 hours
 Vaccination of at least one dose received at least 3 weeks ago
 Having contracted coronavirus in the past 6 months.

The responsibility for this lies with each person. We do not have to check this as you arrive. If the church is subject to a surprise police check, anyone without the one of the 3 proofs listed above will be responsible for any fine imposed.

Easter Day 2021

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Even as we entered the church a feast of flower arrangements met our eyes.

Flower arrangements were by Liz Taylor.

 

Every corner of the sanctuary displayed the new life that the flowers represent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In front of the communion table the bouquet overflowed in colour demonstrating the overflowing love of God for us all.

 

 

The lilies in front of the lectern bring together the purity of the lamb of God alongside our worship of him.

Archbishop Michael’s Easter Message

I’m outside the church of Saint Fanurios. It’s a Greek Orthodox church at Deryneia in Cyprus. And it’s where the Anglican congregation
John the Evangelist meets week by week.

And here we are at Holy Week once again. Last year I said that Holy Week and Easter 2020 were going to be Holy Week and Easter like no other. And they certainly weren’t!

And here we are one year on. And sadly it does feel almost the  same you could say it even feels worse. And we could be excused for feeling  gloom in this long season of pandemic. 

Now despite what some wrongly believe  Christians are allowed to feel gloomy and low and angry sometimes if that’s what they honestly are feeling after all Jesus was low and angry.

He was angry as when he drove the cheating traders out of the temple this week and he was also low. Think of his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Yet this is the week, this is the time to exult. And I use the word very deliberately;
this is the time to exult.To exult not in any shallow sense but in the sense of that great canticle which is called the Exsultet. It it’s a canticle by long custom is chanted or proclaimed in the darkness of Holy Saturday night or Easter Sunday pre-dawn in the morning. The Exsultet.

So this is the time to exult. Exult that the grain of wheat though hidden and easily thought to be gone  in the soil. Exult that that grain of wheat rises and sees the sun and bears fruit; the grain of wheat which is Christ.

And exult, to take another, image that the lamb of sacrifice though slain transforms by his sacrifice absolutely everyone and absolutely everything whether they know it or not. And the lamb is Christ. Exult in short that Christ is revealed as the one who was yesterday and is today and shall be forever.

So happy Holy Week and an exultant Easter. Christ is risen. He’s risen indeed! Hallelujah!

St Helena’s Christmas Lunch 2020

It all started as a germ of an idea resulting from a casual conversation in a coffee shop about what we could do, as a church, to cater for those who’d be on their own at Christmas. Should we have a Christmas party either in church or the Upper Room; should it be a ‘bring and share’ meal’ should we cook a meal ourselves etc., etc.? The idea was received with enthusiasm, and when word got out, those who already had their own plans and couldn’t come, kindly offered help to those of us who would be involved. It was all systems go!!

Our hopes were dashed however, when due to the alarming rise of new cases of the virus it was announced that further measures being taken would involve the closure of churches again. Thankfully, mindful of how important the festival of Christmas is to the Christian community, the government announced a relaxation for Christmas Day Services as long as they were carried out under strict Covid measures, which of course we were all used to. It also announced that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed in private dwellings for this one day only so we could gather in the private flat above church – the ‘Upper Room’.

We were now left with little time to put our plan into action, but with a flurry of telephone calls and enthusiasm that was overwhelming we rounded up all those who’d volunteered to help and within a few days our Upper Room was beautifully decorated, guests invited, food planned, Christmas crackers and serviettes bought, mulled wine promised, Christmas music organised, and beautifully wrapped gifts donated and in place under the tree.

On Christmas Eve, complying with all the distancing rules, a few of us gathered together and prepared the tables. By the time we’d finished the Upper Room looked absolutely beautiful!

After a lovely Christmas Day Service, (with a higher attendance than normal – but still within the Covid guidelines), a small blessing in these difficult and anxious times, we repaired to the Upper Room for celebrations to begin. Well, the delight on the faces of our guests when they saw the room was just the beginning of a wonderful, joyful and very happy afternoon.

To break the ice, one of us, whose party trick is folding serviettes into ‘water lilies’, got others having a go – and as you can see hidden talents were discovered!

Amongst the ten of us there were four different nationalities and between us we’d prepared a three-course meal with dishes representing each culture. It was a joy to behold the faces of those who’d never tasted mulled wine before – it certainly had the desired effect with everyone laughing and chattering especially after the second glass! Next surprise, apart from those of us from the UK, was the age-old tradition of pulling the Christmas crackers. That most definitely put paid to any shyness left especially when we were all wearing our Christmas hats!

We had to explain the jokes which led to a few puzzled looks, but in general they caused a lot of laughter. With everyone very relaxed the meal was a great success and enjoyed by all. The apple crumbles, Christmas cake and mince pies, all new to most of our guests were very well received and we enjoyed trying all the African dishes. Plenty of food to take home afterwards too – and we didn’t have to do any washing up. Our guests took care of that!!

It was an absolute joy and a great privilege to be part of those very special
festivities. All of us were far from home but some were there knowing they may never be able to return to theirs and to families left behind. Some had suffered great tragedy in their lives but on that one day together we experienced much joy, happiness and real fellowship and were able to put some of the sadness and loneliness aside for a few happy hours to make memories which will last a lifetime.

Christmas Day 2020 was indeed a very special day for all of us.

Charity Shops Update

Due to the new restrictions announced early in January, both charity shops will be closed until at least the end of the month.

We look forward to welcoming you, and your donations, later in the year.

Carol Service 2020

Following St Helena’s tradition we held a Carol Service – but with only Christopher and Anne present, but streamed live.

Christopher and Anne at the St Helena's Carol Service in Larnaca

All the readers were recorded and played in. We had some technical hitches at the start when the software but received thanks from as far away as Wales for the service!

Charity Shop news

The Larnaca charity shop will close after Monday 21st December and reopen on 11th January, 2021.
The Pervolia shop  will close after Christmas Eve and reopen on 2nd January, 2021.
They thank you for your support during a difficult year and look forward to welcoming you, and your donations, in 2021!
December 16th 2020