We can start this months update with the good news that we have now began the visa applications for Than Thirasak and Than Gai, and hope that they can be with us again in November.
Than Bank and Than Phan are reaching the end of their two year visas, and we have booked their return flights for Sunday 25 October, this will leave Than Yeam as our only monk for a short while.
Mae Chee Shirley-Anne continues to stay with her mother during the pandemic, but we hope that she will return to the temple soon. She is still holding the Silent Walks in Runcorn and Widnes, and holds the online meditation guidance … all details are on the temple Facebook pages.
Covid-19 continues to dominate the news, and the Merseyside region is being particularly affected. We have carried out Covid-19 specific Risk Assessments for our day to day activities and for specific events so hopefully have taken as many precautions as we can. This does mean that we ask all visitors to abide by the following:
- Wear face masks whilst inside the temple
- Wash your hand with the sanitiser provided
- Sign in on arrival with your name and contact details
- Limit the number of lay persons in the Shrine Room to six
For large events such as Kathina we ask that you book a timeslot with the monks. A waiting area has been set up on the temple car park, and on entering the temple we will take your temperature with a forehead scanner. These are of course difficult times for all, and we continue to follow government advice as best we can to reduce the risks for everyone.
Covid-19 has understandably had a significant impact on donations. In the six months from 6 April to the end of September the total of donations plus Gift Aid was £30,821 compared to the same period for 2019 which was £78,841. These are of course challenging times for many people and the reduction is fully understandable. We can of course look on this positively as we have received £30,821 under the most difficult circumstances.
The Covid-19 restrictions also means that the temple is much quieter at the moment so we have taken the opportunity to redecorate the dining room which has now been completed … it is looking much brighter in there now. Of course, this led us to look at the adjacent refreshments area which now looks quite dark in comparison. We knew that the old shelving hid a window to the front of the temple that had been boxed in many years ago. The shelving and the old counter top have now been removed, and we have started to redecorate this area too. A new kitchen arrangement with breakfast bar has been ordered and we are currently laying new flooring. Together with some lighting improvements we hope that this area will be much more welcoming.
The detailed designs for the foundations, drainage and perimeter walls to the new temple hall have now been completed. Glen has promised to finish the remaining detailed design for the end of October and we can then start to seek quotations.
We have been working on some drainage queries that were raised by Halton Borough Council (HBC) in relation to the Peace Garden and hope that this allows us to progress further with this project. HBC are very keen on the Peace Garden and have included the proposal in their plans for the regeneration grant applications for Runcorn Old Town. They have created a survey which allows people to have their say in the regeneration schemes and the Peace Garden is featured … the survey can be found at https://www4.halton.gov.uk/Pages/business/regen/tdquestionnaire.aspx and we would encourage you to participate.
We have now received our 2021 calendars and these are available free from the temple.
We would like to pass on our sincere thanks for your ongoing support during these challenging times. It has been a difficult six months, and it looks like the Covid virus will be with us for a long time yet … but it will end at some point. Your support, generosity and encouragement keep us str9ong, and we hope that the temple provides support for you too.
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please let us know,
With Metta (loving kindness)