Closing doors, opening hearts

Tue 24 March 2020

Today seems like a good day to re-open the Sheldon blog which has been dormant for a few years. 

Today is our first day of being Coronavirus-closed. 

Our social media channels (see links below) will continue to be places where we post things to keep you cheerful - lambs, flowers, views, etc. We know that things to smile at are much needed in hard times. We'll use this blog for the bigger news. If you'd like to stay tuned then please subscribe and you'll get an email whenever we post an update.

A week ago we closed Sheldon for all group activities but hoped we would be able to carry on with private retreats a good while longer. However, it's a fast moving situation and we made the decision to close completely on Sunday, ahead of the government lockdown announcement  yesterday. We've been contacting people, arranging refunds, credits and transfers, shutting up the accommodation, etc. Monday was the last day at work for our staff team, and our final guest headed back home. Bookings are obviously our main income source. Almost everyone has needed a refund or a credit and we don't know how long we'll have to stay closed or how quickly bookings will recover once we re-open. We are therefore availing ourselves of the government scheme to keep paying all but one of the members of our staff team while they are 'furloughed' - the government covers 80% and we are topping up the 20%.

And what of the Community? Well we're here and looking after the place and eachother. Three of us come into 'vulnerable' categories so we are effectively self-isolating as an extended family. Alice and Andrew only joined us in February so this is early days in our life together. Alice is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in haematology and we are hugely proud to be seconding her back to the job she finished in Exeter in December. She will start work there on Thursday and will be living with their son in Exeter for the coming while. We also have another family living with us temporarily who are doctors and waiting for their deployment and redeployment. They will remain safely distanced from the community members. It's good to feel we can be playing our small part in supporting just some of the medical folk who will be doing difficult work in the coming weeks. 

The only member of our staff team who hasn't been stood down is Darren who is the managing editor/curator of the Sheldon Hub The Hub is our online support resource for people in ministry and is a mature (3 years old) community of peer support and resource sharing with 1700 members. We are not rushing about at this stage because it's not clear yet what the additional needs will be. There are already plenty of forum threads on the personal and professional challenges for people in ministry. Each one is having to discover what church leadership means when churches are shut, pastoral care can't be done face to face, many are themselves in 'vulnerable' categories, and their roles will ramp up as there are more dead to be buried and bereaved to be comforted.

We will continue to pray daily at 8am, and at other times although our pattern may vary. We welcome any prayer requests you would like to send us.

We are immensely grateful for the messages of support, goodwill and prayers from many Friends. And for those who have donated all or part of their booking refunds, enlarged their standing orders, sent gifts, or planning to hold a virtual birthday party in aid of Sheldon! You know who you are - thank you. We do have reasonable reserves we can draw on thanks mainly to a couple of generous legacies a few years ago (bless you Pat, Mary and others), so we are reasonably well placed to come through this. But it will be a challenge for us all as we work out what our calling is day by day, what our ministry looks like day by day, and how we keep each other and ourselves safe.

Our prayers are with you, and we welcome your prayers for us. 

Do keep in touch by whichever of our blog or social media channels suit you best.

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And we'll keep this page Sheldon bookings updated if we need to cancel beyond 21st June and/or when we start making plans for re-opening.

Comments and prayer requests

Sharrran Ireland - Apr 08, 2020

You are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Our prayers also go out all who are suffering from this virus and those in bereavement. Bless you all. Sharran and David

Mally Yates - Apr 07, 2020

Thinking of you all and praying that you may know the joy of the Resurrection . May God bless you all

Margaret Trapp - Mar 26, 2020

Good to receive your blog .You are always in my prayers with thanks for lovely memories of Sheldon.

Philip Abrey - Mar 25, 2020

Thank you for the update.You remain in my prayers. Today we have faced a challenge at work...the sun has been shining and given us hope. In the darkness the light shines. God bless and keep you all. Love and prayers. Phil

Susan Wing - Mar 25, 2020

in my prayers, every blessing.

Anon - Mar 25, 2020

Good to hear from you all. Not surprised that you have closed. A difficult time. My husband has made good progress since his operation and very thankful for all the prayers that have been offered. We are so thankful he isn't in hospital at the moment. Our prayers are with you all. We are walking in the local woods and loving the peace and birdsong.

Wendy Earl - Mar 25, 2020

In my thoughts and prayers.. but the sun still rises and the stunning beauty of springtime is all around us and the time for sowing and planting is here for which I thank God...

Alison Mathalone - Mar 25, 2020

In the darkest times, a single light burns brightly.

Mavis Wilson - Mar 24, 2020

Thank you for this connection. I am joining you on prayer . May God bring new things and resurrection in ways we do not yet see.

Joanna Thornton - Mar 24, 2020

These are very strange times - and I am so sad you have had to close. Really, really hope and pray that you will be open in August for the family holidays...… Sending loads of love - elbow bumps and virtual waves. Stay safe all of you and remember how precious you are - as individuals and as a community. x

Christine Curd - Mar 24, 2020

Thank you for this. Thoughts and prayers with you.

Deirdre Fyfe - Mar 24, 2020

Keep safe and thank you for being there.

Hillary Hanson - Mar 24, 2020

hallo from the shepherd

Jenny Garrard - Mar 24, 2020

Have been, and will continue, to hold you all in prayer. Jenny

Bridget Smith - Mar 24, 2020

Thank you. We wish you all the best. X

Baroness Perry - Mar 24, 2020

Looking forward to regular contact .

Maureen Wright - Mar 24, 2020

Thank you for bringing the blog back! Keep safe & well.

Anne Stennett - Mar 24, 2020

Blessings on you day by day

Comments and prayer requests

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