On Saturday 14th August, starting at 2.30, Chris Stock will be reading the entire Gospel according to John in St Mary’s Church, West Chinnock, to a local audience. It is anticipated that the non-stop reading will take in excess of 2½ hours. He writes:

“I’m doing this to raise funds for 2 causes very close to my heart, the less well-off across the globe so severely impacted by the Coronavirus epidemic, and the preservation of our wonderful rural churches, specifically in this case, St Mary’s, West Chinnock. All proceeds raised will be split equally across these 2 causes.

“1. Although it’s fantastic that, as at 11th June 41,291,331 (66.2%) of the UK population have received their first vaccination dose against Covid-19, and 29,450,653 (47.2%) have received their second dose there are, by contrast, many lower and middle income countries who simply can’t afford, or don’t have the logistical where-with-all, to vaccinate their own people against Covid-19, the biggest global crisis since World War Two.

“As at 13th June, there had been 175,668,875 confirmed cases of Coronavirus globally, resulting in 3,795,554 deaths, partially because only 12.4% of the global population have received an initial vaccination, and only 6.4% have received their 2nd dose; many of these who have been vaccinated live in the wealthy ‘developed’ world.

“As a caring society, we need to be able to vaccinate as many people as possible across the entire world, and to do so as quickly as we can. UNICEF have vast experience in delivering vaccines worldwide and so, through their association with the COVAX programme, will be major partners in distributing vaccines to the very poorest in the world. But the vaccines still have to be paid for. You can read about UNICEF’s support of the COVAX programme by clicking this link.

COVAX: ensuring global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines | UNICEF Supply Division

“2. The church of St Mary’s, West Chinnock in South Somerset, is highly unusual in having a nineteenth century saddleback tower, but actually has a history going back to the thirteenth century, and possibly earlier. Maintaining such a property, and its churchyard, is an onerous task for the small local community, so unless financial support can be raised, there is real concern that the building may deteriorate over the years to come. For example, repairs to the tower roof which are currently underway, will cost approximately £18,000 and, as the parish church receives no financial support from either government or the Diocese, without grant funding and personal donations, these critical repairs would simply prove unaffordable.

“I am a Lay Minister (Reader) in Bath & Wells Diocese which includes St Mary’s, West Chinnock, the village where I live. I had previously trained in Salisbury Diocese.”

If you would like to come and support this initiative, you would be very welcome to come to the church, either briefly or for the entire reading; refreshments will be available.

And if you are able to offer financial support, then please visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/johnsgospel where full details of the campaign are available.

As we are aware, “In the beginning was the word . . . . . “