Diocese of Portsmouth

    Worshippers meet for Matins in the churchyard

    20 July 2020

    WORSHIPPERS from one of our churches met for an outdoor service in their churchyard as their first act of public worship together.

    The congregation from St Thomas a Becket Church in Warblington found a solution to the current restrictions around public worship by holding their regular Sunday morning service outside the church, on a gloriously sunny morning in July. (all photos copyright John Jury)

    The striking triangular west façade of the church provided a perfect setting for the outdoor Matins service, led by Canon Julie Price, associate minister in the Parish of Warblington with Emsworth. 

    The Book of Common Prayer Matins service is a regular feature of the pattern of services at Warblington Church. Although it has been offered as part of the parish's weekly recorded online services, worshippers were pleased to be able to listen to and pray the familiar words as part of a congregation again. With singing still discouraged, hymns were relayed around the churchyard by CD player and this was enhanced by the sound of bird song.

    A total of 37 people attended the service, each bringing their own folding chair, observing social distancing and hygiene rules. For many, this was the first time they had met each other in person after the long weeks of lockdown and so there was inevitably much catching up with each other’s news after the service. Many people visiting the nearby cemetery also stopped to listen.

    The parish hopes to be able to repeat this service once a month during the summer, depending on the weather and on the ongoing government and Church of England guidelines.

    Canon Julie Price leads the service in the churchyard outside Warblington Church. Photo: (c) John Jury
    Worshippers make sure to sanitise their hands and give contact details for track and trace purposes as they arrive. Photo: (c) John Jury
    Canon Julie Price leads the service in the churchyard outside Warblington Church. Photo: (c) John Jury

    St Thomas a Becket

    Church Lane, Warblington, PO9 2TU

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