Early this afternoon, the government issued a statement concerning the current restrictions. The Cyprus Mail report can be found here: https://cyprus-mail.com/2020/12/22/coronavirus-slight-relaxation-of-measures-for-christmas-eve-new-years-eve/
Essentially the current restrictions are extended until Sunday 10th January with slight adjustments to curfew arrangements on 24th December and 31st December. As a concession, the government is allowing churches to open only on Christmas Day and Wednesday 6th January. A maximum of 75 people can attend a service and there must be social distancing of three-square metres.
In light of this I have decided that the parish will hold the following services on Christmas Day:
08.15 Holy Eucharist (without incense) [AKB],
09.15 Communion Service at St Luke’s [KRW]
11.00 Zoom Service [AKB].
There will also be a Reflective Zoom service for Christmas Eve at 1600.
I appreciate that there will be a measure of disappointment that there will not be a service at St Stephen’s. This is largely because it would be difficult to staff the service at St Stephen’s given the timings, above. Moreover, the emphasis on 3 square metre spacing is clear and this would reduce numbers able to attend St Stephen’s and it is late in the day to request a registration process be put into place.
I believe that it is important that we offer a Zoom service especially for any of who may feel uncomfortable about attending a church service, given that you would be gathering in a confined space and you may feel vulnerable in this situation.
I understand that some of you will feel disappointed that we cannot offer more but at Ayia Kyriaki we are constrained in our use of the building by existing arrangements with the Latin parish. Moreover, we are not permitted to open our churches other than on Christmas Day. I do encourage you to be a little more adventuresome this Christmas and maybe think of attending the 0915 service at St Luke’s, if 0815 at Ayia Kyriaki is too early for you.
Do keep in mind the Christmas Eve Reflective Zoom Service (4.00pm). It will be structured differently from a Morning Worship Service and is designed, over 30-40 minutes, to allow you to ponder some aspects of the Christmas story. Di Sylvester will be sending out details along with the publishing of the usual arrangements to allow you to connect to this Zoom service.
I hope to see as many of you as possible over Christmas Day. Don’t forget your facemasks.
Meanwhile, a very happy Christmas, when it comes.
The attached document from the British High Commission was received this morning. This effects all UK residents living in Cyprus.
I meant to mention in my newsletter that The Royal School of church Music will hold their special Carol Service, tomorrow evening (Saturday 12th December) at 8.00pm CYPRUS time. Their publicity, which I received, today states the following:
Join us TOMORROW at 6.00pm (GMT) for The BIG Christmas Carol Service (together with the Churches Conservation Trust)
Bringing families and friends across the world together
This year, more than ever, with families separated and carol services not happening in their traditional form we are inviting singers, families, friends, churches and choirs worldwide to 'Sing for Christmas'.
We have some very special guests joining us for the Carol Service including:
HRH The Prince of Wales
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Rt Revd Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury)
Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE
Timothy Bentinck (‘David Archer')
There is still time to download the music here so that you can fully take part and sing using the music scores and individual backing tracks, before joining in live. You can also download the Order of Service for free here or by clicking here https://www.rscmshop.com/media/1714/big-carol-service-order-of-service.pdf OR by opening the attachment..
Do share with your families, friends and churches - let's bring some joy across the world together.
You can join on our YouTube channel here.
You can find the order of service attached and you can find and listen to the service by clicking here or by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80vdYMM-XZU
With our Carol Services, cancelled, this will be an opportunity to watch a very professional service and perhaps make up, just a little, for what you will be missing in the parish!
PS If you are a fan of Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith and his awesome ability to write hymns, do watch a 12 minute interview conducted by the Director of the Royal School of Church Music. Click here or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si0KKX9eP-4&feature=youtu.be
I hope that you are able to enjoy this wonderful opportunity.
Best wishes and happy watching and singing!,