God in the Time of COVID-19 – new book


New book from the Carmelites, edited by Matt Betts, who manages our website, and including a contribution by our own Deacon Hugh Parry

The Carmelites in Britain have published a new book called ‘God in the time of COVID-19’, which is now available to order. This little book of articles and reflections is offered as a way of maintaining a connection and of nurturing the interior life. The reflections were originally written online, but many of these articles are now available in this book. There is a wide range of styles, content and approaches to suit the widest range of readers and all tastes. Writers include Saint Joseph’s very own Deacon Hugh Parry, and also, Fr Kevin Alban, O.Carm; Fr Brendan Grady, O.Carm; Fr Nicholas King, SJ; and many more. Parishioner of St Joseph’s Church (Christchurch), Mr Matthew Betts has edited the book.
Perhaps in future months and years it will remind us of what we were doing and reading in 2020.
Order your copy today online (https://tinyurl.com/GodintheTime) Or, you can order by sending a cheque for £4.50 (incl a donation for P&P) to our PO Box address (PO Box 289, FAVERSHAM, Kent, ME13 3BZ); or you can call 01795 539 214 and donate with a credit/debit card.
If Avon Stour parishioners order via the online shop use the code ‘1593’ via our online shop, they’ll receive 10% off the book and any other items
Full list of contributors:
Kevin Alban, O.Carm
Matthew Betts
Brendan Grady, O.Carm
Richard Green, O.Carm
Paul de Groot, O.Carm
Francis Kemsley, O.Carm
Nicholas King, SJ
Hugh Parry
Gerard Walsh, O.Carm
John Warrington
Articles include:
Our Relationship with God
What do we ask God for and why?
Queens of England and Scotland
Disciples in the New Testament
Being a Disciple
My Lord and My God
Cauliflower Cheese
How Saint Jude can help us to cope with COVID-19
Chatting with God
Prayer as Friendship
Pentecost and the Pandemic
Hope in the New Testament
Plus many more

Tuesday evening “Prayer & Praise”

St Joseph’s Parish Prayer & Praise
– everyone welcome!

FIRST and THIRD Tuesday of each month, 8pm on Zoom (see joining details below)
[Sep 1st, 15th.   Oct 6th, 20th.   Nov 3rd, 17th.   Dec 1st, 15th]

Join us for about 40 minutes of prayer, singing, Scripture and reflection in a very relaxed, friendly atmosphere.   We have regularly been joined by people from across the Pastoral Area, Diocese and beyond!

Stay online for a while afterwards if you wish to have a bit of a chat – your choice!

People who’ve come say:
“I thought it was a wonderful experience” 
“Thank you for prayer and praise last night – it was lovely to get together as a community and pray – more please!”
“The Praise & Prayer Evening was beautiful and singing with you brought a smile to all our faces “
“Well thought out, prayerful and not too long”
“Really enjoyed learning & praying together like this”
“We both really enjoyed the worship and prayer gathering last night, it was such a blessing”

Join here
(ID 813 9830 2271, PW 297397)

Reopening of Churches

Latest News (as at 16th June) regarding opening of Churches

REOPENING OF CHURCHES: from Monday 15 June, churches may be reopened for private prayer. While this is good news, please be aware that not all churches may be able to do so yet. Churches must adhere to the strict guidelines issued by the government and the Bishops’ Conference (England & Wales), regarding social distancing, cleansing and use of facilities (for example, toilets cannot be used). Volunteers will be needed to monitor and supervise these arrangements. Please check with your local church for further information. On the pastoral area website, click on the link, ‘Parishes’, to find contact details & newsletters from the churches within this pastoral area.

As stated, this reopening is for private prayer only. There is no permission, as yet, to open churches for public gatherings, such as Mass.

Masses are still being streamed from a variety of churches, for further details – click on the link ‘When you can’t go to Mass‘. http://www.avonstour.co.uk/resources/prayer/when-you-cant-go-to-mass/

You might also wish to check the diocesan website for further information: https://www.portsmouthdiocese.org.uk/

A message from the Christian Churches of Christchurch

We are invited to join in to support this united prayer initiative being hosted by the Christian Churches of Christchurch:

A message from the Christian Churches of Christchurch :-

“Churches Together Online Prayer Gathering – This Is VERY! Exciting…

Back in January, 170 of us gathered at GodFirst for the first of four churches together prayer gatherings!  The next one is scheduled for Sunday 03 May, 7pm.  It will be happening, online.  Please make every effort to join us via Zoom.  This is the link:

We are anticipating that 250+ will join us as we pray together for our town and our churches.  The event will be hosted by Chris Brockway and six other church leaders.   We will be sharing Communion together too as a sign of our unity, so please have some bread and wine with you.  Please plan to join us for the first online and largest prayer gathering Christchurch has ever had!  “

Good News about Fr John

A Second Message from Deacon Hugh about Father John


Following my message yesterday, I am pleased to report that Father John was discharged from Royal Bournemouth Hospital late last night after a series of tests. These tests appear to have ruled out a number of things, but the result is that he now needs rest in order to recover and this may take 6 to 8 weeks.

With the emphasis being on rest, I would ask that you continue to leave him to recover and not contact him personally for the time being. Please feel free to continue to contact me at any time and, should the services of a Priest be required, I will be happy to make contact for you.

As soon as Father John is able to gradually resume his duties, we will let you know.

​God Bless



Our parishes are suffering financially as a consequence of the current ‘lockdown’ – regular collections are not happening and income usually generated by hiring out parish halls has stopped.
Of course, some of us as individuals have also been hit financially in these difficult times, but please, if you possibly can, consider how you can offer financial support to your parish during this period.
If you don’t already do so, please consider setting up a regular standing order. You can find your parish’s details in their newsletters, on each parish’s pages or by contacting the parish directly (contact details also on parish pages).
If you pay tax, please GIFT AID your contribution as that makes such a difference, at no extra cost to you. Again, details in newsletters, on our parish pages or by contacting the parish.
Two of our parishes (Christchurch and Southbourne) also have a secure DONATE button on their parish page on our website, which makes giving very easy indeed.

Prayer & Listening Service

  • Would you like someone to pray with you or for you?
  • Are you in need of a listening ear?
  • Are you a busy key worker in need of prayer?

If your answer to any of these is “Yes”, we invite you to make use of our diocese’s new Prayer Support Team

Prayer and listening to God is a vital part of our everyday life, but sometimes it is difficult to pray when we are exhausted or in stressful situations or by ourselves.  Our diocese has created a team with experience in both praying with others and in spiritual listening.  All of our volunteers are trained in this service and have been through the essential safeguarding training and other requirements.   To make use of this free service, all you need to do is fill in a short form on the diocese website requesting a phone call, of 10 – 15 minutes usually.   

Additionally, if you are a key worker, you are invited to give us your name and work place and we will pray for you by name each day. 

Contact the Prayer Support Team to take up any of these offers