Cautious Steps towards re-opening Sheldon
Sun 17 May 2020
The Sheldon Copse has been a beautiful gift this spring, and the narrow path in this image reminds us that our way ahead is far from clear. We are taking one step at a time in unfamiliar terrain.
We have all been keeping well here at Sheldon and together we continue with our daily working rhythm and prayers in chapel. Jan is building up strength and confidence on her injured knee. Alice is back home from her 2 months of locum nursing in Exeter. She and Andrew are having some 'decompression' time for quarantine and catching up before they rejoin the community 'social bubble'. How strange it is to have to think this way. And before long we will be formally dividing into 3 bubbles/households to manage risk for ourselves, guests and continuity of ministry going forward. The vegetable gardens are getting plenty of attention and Carl will soon have his usual greenhouse full of tomatoes, peppers and chillis. Bit of a competitive spirit around at times, and there were some sharp frosts last week. The first round of sheep shearing has been done to protect the very woolly Dartmoors from fly strike.
The Sheldon Hub
It has been fascinating curating the online Sheldon Hub as the pandemic has evolved - so much change for people in ministry to absorb so rapidly and being leaders in their congregations. There are over 60 conversations running across a broad range of practical, emotional and theological topics. Solidarity and sometimes challenge, sharing of pain, hope and useful resources. Sarah has recorded some interviews with Carla Grosch-Miller on Collective Loss as we try to understand the impact on ourselves and our communities.
The academic research we commissioned with Aston University has continued to bear fruit as the team has been working on analysing the data from last autumn's major survey. We are continuing to push the agenda forward and have produced a hard-hitting paper for the meeting of the bishops on 19th May when we hope and pray they will commit to replacing the Clergy Discipline Measure with a framework of professional accountability fit for the 21st century. Such a step seemed highly improbable just a year ago, but our project has played a leading role in getting this on the table. If successful, there will still be much work to ensure that the replacement really is an improvement.
Re-opening for Private retreats
We have preparations well in hand now for offering private retreats, provisionally from early June. The regulations around lockdown and travel are obviously the main governing factors, but we understand health is a legitimate reasons for travel. Many who we are in contact with us are needing convalesence from mental or physical illness. We are keeping this page on overall plans updated regularly, and setting out our arrangements here for offering private retreats as safely as possible. Do talk to us if you need to come. All other bookings at Sheldon are now cancelled through until mid August, and we will review next steps again at the end of June. Thank you to everyone for patience and good humour as we continue to work our way through making refunds, and an extra big thank you to those who have converted their booking into a donation. We are very aware of the concerns of rural communities and tourist hotspots over the influx of visitors, so we will expect that Sheldon retreatants stay on the Sheldon site or within walking distance for the duration of your stay.
Jan has a small production line going making fabric face masks. They are a snug-fitting design with soft wire to form around the nose, and the option of slipping in an extra paper filter all in a variety of colourful cotton fabrics.
We are extremely grateful to supporters who have sent gifts in recent weeks, and to those who left the legacies which mean that we approach this challenging time with some modest reserves. We are thinking carefully about what Sheldon can offer safely in the weeks, months and years ahead, and how we create a rather different 'business model' for living in 'Covid-world' and beyond. We're working on the basis of a six-figure deficit this year and aware that as restrictions on numbers of people gathering together are likely to continue into next year, our income for the foreseeable future will be significantly reduced. We need to discover new ways of doing things as our reserves will dwindle fairly quickly. All contributions are very gratefully received - you can give quickly now via Paypal, or (lower transaction charges)login to our website and click on the donations tab.Thank you!
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Sheldon bookings updated as we make plans for re-opening.