Open letter from Isle of Wight NHS Trust CEO to community, patients and colleagues

Thank you all so very much for the amazing support that you have shown to us and to our health and social care partners during 2020.

The challenges we have faced as a community have been huge and we cannot underestimate the impact that Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had and will continue to have.

Whether you have lost a loved one, worked on the frontline throughout or been shielding at home – we have all experienced the anxiety and strain of the pandemic.

We have found a way through
Yet our community has been so strong in the face of Covid-19. Together we have found a way through – we have led the way with the first Covid-19 App, kept cases low on the Island and protected the most vulnerable among us.

But with the emergence of a new variant of the virus and a rapid spread of cases across much of the South East we now have a new challenge to face.

The Christmas we all wanted to see has ebbed away as the new variant took hold and we are faced with tougher Tier 3 restrictions from Boxing Day.

You can find more information about Tier 3 restriction.

Rising cases
Cases locally are rising and we know from earlier in the pandemic that it is only a matter of time before we see an increase in admissions to hospital. This of course all coincides with the pressures of winter.

The key to our response so far has been the support of our community and partners and the dedication of our staff.

You stood on doorsteps in your thousands and clapped for the NHS and key workers, you donated food, gifts and money to our charity and crucially you have diligently followed the Government guidance.

Dig deep and go again
We ask you now to dig deep and go again. We need you to help us continue to fight against this virus. What we need from you now is not clapping or donations. What we need is for you to act as though you and the people you might meet have COVID-19.

Wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance from people.

More information about how to control the spread of the virus is available.

The thousands of people that make up Isle of Wight NHS Trust, our staff and volunteers, will be here for you if you need us. Our teams are working flat out, as they have throughout the pandemic, to provide safe and compassionate care. To deal with the impact of the coming surge in COVID-19 cases and winter pressures we really need your help.

Follow the guidance
Please follow the Tier 3 guidance to the letter and keep yourself, your loved ones and our community safe. Ask your friends and family to do the same because we all have a part to play. We should all maintain good hand hygiene, wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

You can also help by making sure that you are accessing the right services. You should call NHS 111 first before coming to the hospital and they will help you get the right support, whether that’s from your local pharmacist, GP, our Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E. If it is a life-threatening emergency please call 999.

Find out more about NHS 111

Social contact is driving the spread of the virus
We know how very difficult these new restrictions will be for us all but there is clear evidence that social contact, particularly in people’s homes, is driving the spread of the virus.

There is significant risk for our community if people start mixing freely over the coming days. I urge you all to have a careful Christmas.

Devastatingly consistent
Sadly this disease is proving devastatingly consistent. More social contact leads to rising cases, which leads to more hospital admissions and tragically, more people dying. We should take this very seriously but we should not give up hope.

By working together and supporting one another we will get through this. With the start of a mass vaccination programme we can see a way out of the restrictions that have so impacted our lives.

I am proud to be part of this Trust and part of this community and I know that we will rise to the challenges ahead of us.

Have a safe and happy Christmas, Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive

Image: Colin D under CC BY 2.0

O Radiant Dawn – a Resource for Advent

In this booklet you’ll find a reflection to use each day during Advent.

For each day there will be a portion of Scripture, a short reflection and a prayer. You might like to use it to
accompany the lighting of an Advent Candle or Wreath, or with opening a door on the Advent Calendar in your home, as you take a moment to prayerfully reflect on the journey this season takes us on.

CLICK/TAP HERE for the booklet (it may take a few moments to load).

All Saints, Godshill, Limited Opening

open

The church has very limited opening in the next fortnight. It will be open today, the 20th and tomorrow. It is then closed for three days whilst Covid-19 cleaning takes place ahead of the morning service on Sunday October 25th.

In the following week, it will only be open on Wednesday 28th October.

The daily opening hours are from 10am until 5pm.

All Saints, Godshill, is Open

open

The church is open daily from 10am until 5pm up until and including Wednesday October 7th 2020.

It will then be closed for three days whilst Covid-19 cleaning takes place ahead of the morning service on Sunday October 11th.

The church will then be open again from Sunday 11th October until Wednesday 21st October.

St Aidan and St Gregory the Great

Monday 31st August – St Aidan (+651) and the Saints of Lindisfarne

Aidan, a native of Ireland, was a monk on Iona. When the Christian King Oswald returned from exile on Iona to his kingdom of Northumbria, he invited the monks of Iona to provide missionaries to instruct his people in Christianity. After initial difficulties, Aidan was consecrated bishop and sent with a group of Irish monks to begin this task. He established a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne which became the centre of a major missionary effort in the North of England. The monastery also became a valuable centre of learning and an important training ground for the education of English boys who would continue the work of evangelisation. From Lindisfarne Aidan journeyed throughout Northumberland, usually on foot, and working closely with King Oswald who found him to be a wise adviser and a good personal friend. After Oswald’s death in 642, Aidan continued this work under his successor, Oswin, but when Oswin himself was killed nine years later, Aidan did not long survive him and died two weeks later in 651. According to St Bede in his History of the English Church and People, St Aidan was a man of great gentleness and moderation, outstanding for his energetic missionary work. His influence on the North of England was enormous, and his wise promotion of Christian education among the native English laid the solid foundation for the spread of the Gospel in the centuries which followed his death.

Thursday 3rd September – St Gregory the Great (540-604)

Gregory was born in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family, finally becoming Prefect of the City of Rome, a post he held for some years. He founded a monastery in Rome and some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. He was ordained deacon and sent as an envoy to Constantinople, on a mission that lasted five years. He was elected Pope on 3rd September 590, the first monk to be elected to this office. He reformed the administration of the Church’s estates and devoted the resulting surplus to the assistance of the poor and the ransoming of prisoners. He negotiated treaties with the Lombard tribes who were ravaging northern Italy, and by cultivating good relations with these and other barbarians he was able to keep the Church’s position secure in areas where Roman rule had broken down. He was a liturgical reformer, and a great musician – Gregorian Chant gets its nomenclature from his encouragement of music in the liturgy. His works for the propagation of the faith include the sending of St Augustine and his monks as missionaries to England in 596, providing them with continuing advice and support and (in 601) sending reinforcements. He wrote extensively on pastoral care (his Pastoral Rule was later translated into Anglo Saxon by King Alfred the Great as a guide for his bishops), spirituality, and morals, and designated himself ‘servant of the servants of God’, a title still used by the pope. He died on 12th March 604, but as this date always falls within Lent, his feast is celebrated on the date of his election as Bishop of Rome. He is accorded the title ‘Apostle of England’ for having sent St Augustine of Canterbury to these shores.

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Forthcoming Saints Days

Monday 24th August St Bartholomew
He was born at Cana and brought by the Apostle Philip to meet Jesus. Nothing further is known for certain. The great historian of the early Church, Eusebius, speaks of him in India, but the Roman Martyrology has him martyred in Armenia, skinned alive according to the Persian custom. Because his relics were enshrined on the island in the Tiber that is principally used as a hospital, he has become a patron saint of the sick.

Tuesday 25th August St Louis (1214-1270)
He became King of France (as Louis IX) at the age of twelve. He was married and had eleven children, to whom he gave an excellent upbringing. He was noted for his spirit of prayer and penitence and for his love for the poor. He ran his kingdom not only to give peace to the people and economic stability but also for their spiritual good. He founded the University of the Sorbonne and was a friend of St Thomas Aquinas. He was trusted by his fellow-rulers in Europe and often asked to arbitrate in their disputes. He undertook two unsuccessful crusades to liberate Christ’s burial-place and on the second of these he died, near Carthage, in the year 1270. He is the patron saint of France.

Thursday 27th August St Monica (331-387)
She was born at Thagaste in Africa of a Christian family. She was married young, to Patricius, and among her children was Augustine. He had a brilliant intellect and uncertain morals and his wayward spiritual career saw him at one time a Manichee and then a Neoplatonist. With many tears she prayed unceasingly to God for his conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtue and is a wonderful example of a Christian mother.

Friday 28th August St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother (see above!) and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death. Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent thirty-four years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature, as is his great work, The City of God. The Second Readings in the daily Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his works. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308.

Scripture Readings

21st-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

21st-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

The image above is St Peter Preaching in the Presence of St Mark by Fra Angelico dated circa 1433 Creative Commons CC0 License

St Laurence, St Clare of Assisi and St Maximilian Kolbe

Monday 10th August St Laurence, Deacon and Martyr (d. 258)

Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on 10th August 258, four days after Pope St Sixtus II and his companions, it is thought by being burned alive on a gridiron … By now, few of the facts of his life are known for certain: he was probably a Spaniard from Toledo. A basilica was built over his tomb fifty years after his death, by the Emperor Constantine, and the anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast – with considerably more solemnity than that of Pope Sixtus II (we do not know why). By the sixth century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name occurs (with Sixtus’) in the earliest Canon of the Mass.

Tuesday 11th August St Clare of Assisi (1193-1253)

She was born at Assisi and came under the influence of St Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clares (she was later joined both by her sister and by her widowed mother). In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a rule was (like the Franciscan rule) both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify it. In 1247 Pope Innocent IV promulgated a new Rule that allowed the ownership of communal property: Clare rewrote it. A later attempt at mitigation in 1263 partly succeeded (perhaps because Clare was dead by then): some communities followed the old, strict rule and some followed the new. Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi on this day in 1253.

Friday 14th August St Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)

He was born on 8 January 1894 in occupied Poland: he joined the Franciscans in Lwów in 1910, and was ordained to the priesthood eight years later, as his country became free and independent for the first time in over 120 years. He believed that the world was passing through a time of intense spiritual crisis, and that Christians must fight for the world’s salvation with all the means of modern communication. He founded a newspaper, and a sodality called the Knights of Mary Immaculate, which spread widely both in Poland and abroad. In 1927 he founded a community, a ‘city of Mary’, at Terezin: centred round the Franciscan friary, it attracted many lay people, and became self-supporting, publishing many periodicals and running its own radio station. In 1930 he went to Japan, studied Buddhism and Shintoism, and through the Japanese edition of his newspaper spread the Christian message in a way that was in harmony with Japanese culture. In Nagasaki, he set up a ‘Garden of the Immaculate’, which survived the atomic bomb. He also travelled to Malabar and to Moscow, but was recalled to Poland in 1936 for reasons of health. When the Nazis invaded in 1939, the community at Terezin sheltered thousands of refugees, most of them Jews. In 1941 he was arrested and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he helped and succoured the inmates. In August of that year a prisoner escaped, and in reprisal the authorities chose ten people to die by starvation. One of the men had a family, and Maximilian Kolbe offered to take his place. The offer was accepted, and he spent his last days comforting his fellow prisoners before being given a lethal injection on 14th August. The man he saved was present at his canonization in 1982. The cell in which he died, in the centre of Auschwitz 1, is now a shrine to his memory. St Maximilian’s martyrdom, however, is possibly the least important thing about him. We are none of us likely to find ourselves in a position to emulate his sacrifice, and speculation as to the heroic way in which we would have behaved in his place is a pernicious waste of time. What is important is that he acted the way he did because of who he was – or, rather, because of who he had become. It is because of who he had become that we revere him as a saint: he would have been a saint (though perhaps not canonized) even if he had not been martyred. And that process of becoming is something we can all emulate. We can all become people for whom doing the right thing is obvious, natural, and easy. It requires no heroism, no special gifts: just perseverance, and prayer. He is the patron saint of amateur-radio operators, of drug addicts, of political prisoners, of journalists, of prisoners, and of the pro-life movement.

IoW Archdeacon Peter Reads to Children

The diocese of Portsmouth has been asking people to read stories for children who are at school and those learning at home.

Here is the Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, Peter Leonard, reading a story about a small Viking who was brave. This hilarious tale, for three to six year olds, shows the true meaning of bravery and the delights that await when one faces one’s fear.