Day 84 of (shopping) Lockdown – the ‘Primark’ edition

Day 84 of (shopping) Lockdown

Day 84 is also day 3 of the Siege of Colchester some 372 years ago, that siege only lasted 77 days and here we are at day 84 of our COVID-19 siege.  With the shops reopening, are we at the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?  If we want it to be the former then I guess we need to stay alert?  Today is also the start of Loneliness Awareness Week, other news:

Loneliness Awareness WeekLoneliness Awareness Week

The Marmalade Trust started Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) 4 years ago to raise awareness of loneliness and encourage people to speak about it openly. It’s a powerful message that resonates with many and each year LAW receives more and more attention.

Last year 800 events took place and on our campaign launch day, conversations about loneliness were taking place every 5 seconds.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of face-to-face events they’re hosting a virtual campaign called ‘One Less Lonely Voice’. Taking the ‘one’ out of loneliness, to signify one less lonely voice.

The aim is to empower everyone to understand loneliness one conversation at a time. By building on our understanding, we can help ourselves and others to manage feelings of loneliness.  Use the following links to find out more:

If You’re Going Down to the Shops Today

Many shops in Colchester Town Centre are using floor vinyls inside & out to help guide their customers to staying safe.  Please follow their guidelines!

CBC Floor Vinyls

Reducing Parental Conflict

ECC have issued the following support advice for those in need of help:

Pause - Think - Solve ItIt was really good. The lady was really nice and someone that I could talk to and trust because she was not involved.

I could really open up and she helped me recognise that I was doing the right thing for my children.

Family stability is key to achieving positive outcomes for children and young people, and maintaining that stability is at the heart of Essex County Council’s (ECC) work to reduce parental conflict and the impact it has on children in Essex.

ECC, along with nine other Local Authorities, has worked in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Early Intervention Foundation since 2015 to develop what is now known as the Reducing Parental Conflict programme – aimed at supporting parents and carers to manage conflict in a healthy way.

We All Have Arguments

We all have arguments, but some parents and co-parents may argue more frequently and intensely, and often leave them unresolved.  The current pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged periods of time spent at home, may also have increased existing tension in parental relationships which can impact on children and last through to adulthood.

However, Essex County Council (ECC) has been leading the way to support parents, carers and co-parents to resolve conflict more constructively through the ‘Parenting Together’ programme.  Delivered by Tavistock Relationships, the programme aims to provide individuals with the tools to resolve conflict and remains available to parents and carers in Essex during lockdown, with the option to self-refer for support.

80 couples have been referred to the programme to date – either through self-referral, or via a professional, such as their GP.

Has Run Throughout Lockdown

Tavistock Relationships has continued to work with parents during lockdown, either through video-conferencing or telephone calls. Resources have also been adapted to meet the needs of individuals who may not have children, but who want to improve their relationship.

Anyone who thinks they might benefit from help with their relationship, or who wants to self-refer to the Parenting Together programme, can find out more on the Livewell website.

Heart of methodists thoughtsMethodist Church update

We are sad that our premises have to remain closed, necessarily in accordance with national guidance,  and that we still cannot welcome you to the usual range of activities that take place in our Hall. Although our premises remain closed, our Church people are still here, and are trying to remain as active as possible in the community as far as these strange times allow.

Many of our members are elderly and some are vulnerable, so are having to take sensible precautions. We:

  • stay in touch and support each other in all the ways we can.
  • are all fortunate that we live in a caring and supportive village community.
  • have been impressed by, and grateful for, the groups and numerous individuals who have stepped forward to support their neighbours and community in these unprecedented times.

Ministers Working Hard

Our Circuit ministers are working hard to stay in touch and provide a range of online “virtual” worship services and activities. If you would  like information on these please go to our Circuit website at  and look under “News” . Here you will find links to two YouTube channels where you can stream free, weekly services, reflections and much more. There is also information on two Bible study groups available through Zoom. You would be most welcome to join us for all or any of these “virtual” activities.

If you there are any local issues/information you need please email [email protected] If you would like personal contact/support you can speak to our Minister, Rev Ken Chalmers, on 01206 545253 or email him at [email protected]

We look forward to the time when we can share activities again and meet up “physically”. In the mean time –  Stay safe, Keep well.

Prayer from Italy

God of grace,
we turn to you in prayer in this difficult time
in which the spread of a pandemic infection has forced our governments
restrictive measures that limit the normal course of life,
they block our sociality and risk making us shut up in our increasingly small sphere, but they are necessary.

God of love,
help us to maintain community bonds and solidarity with our sisters and brothers, especially with those who are in sickness and need,
and help us to be a family for those who are without a family.

God of healing,
we pray for those who have been infected and for their family members,
give them the courage to face this moment of illness;
we pray for all healthcare workers who are spending so much
to manage this epidemic competently and generously,
for scientists who are working hard on a cure in a short time;
give them all strength and vision to face and try to stop this epidemic.

God of mercy,
allow us to live this time as a profitable opportunity to reflect on our experience of faith and on our being part of an easy society prey to fear and discouragement in the face of adversity; help us, despite the difficulties of this situation, to keep us united and open to others, help us not forgetting all the other great tragedies that undermine peace and disrupt the world.

God of salvation,
we pray you to support us in fighting the chains of exploitation and injustice
and help us to maintain chains of solidarity throughout the World;
please don’t abandon us to the fear of contagion,
but even more to the contagion of fear
for Christ Jesus our brother and saviour.


Rev. Mirella Manocchio
Presidente of OPCEMI (Opera per le Chiese Evangeliche Metodiste in Italia)

Music Selection

Humpty Dumpty


We Didn’t Spread the Virus (Billy Joel Parody)