There are times when words can not fully describe all we would like or feel we need to say. I find myself in one such moment. Ever since the news came through that all acts of public worship have been suspended I have been trying to come to terms with what this means. I was physically shocked and moved to tears as the enormity of the announcement sank in (thank you to those who were there to hold me – you know who you are!). I, like you, have many questions and very few answers as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to escalate. It is very hard not to feel fearful of all that may be. Many have expressed deep anxiety as life has been forced to change. Self-isolation driving us further into loneliness, the possibility that we may have already said a final farewell to loved ones, the economy on the brink of a meltdown, empty shelves replacing abundance of choice and now it feels as if Church has shut up shop and gone home
The truth is all our acts of Public Worship have had to stop and we cannot meet as we have done (in a sense the doors are closed), and all we do will have to take a new form (it will not be all we have been used to). This does not mean church stops – rather that it will transform. Together we will find ways to continue our sharing, our support, our love of each other and of all in our community. I am sure many ways of ‘being with one another’ will begin as we adapt to all that now is, seeking new ways of strengthening our commitment to each other in the light of all we face.
Regarding our church services we have worked hard and are now at the point of being able to offer a live stream from church. This means that on Sundays I will lead worship from St John’s which will be accessible to all who so wish to join me all from the comfort of your own homes! We are also working to produce a list of resources that we hope will help when you are unable to attend life events such as weddings and funerals in person due to the current limitations in place. We are here for you and the doors of the church are open!
Every day we will be opening the doors of St John’s for anyone who may simply wish to pop in and be for a while. We have set up hand washing facilities in the tower and have established a new cleaning regime. If you do pop in please wash your hands upon entering and if others are there, hold the advice on social distancing in mind and honour the 2-metre rule!
Below are details of how to receive the Live Stream of our Sunday Services and other resources which we hope are helpful (we will be adding to these over the coming days).
Above all may I take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful response you have made to requests of help from neighbours in need. Thank you for the loving support you are giving to each other. Thank you for your passion to reach out to all in our community. Thank you for being good neighbours. Thank you for bringing light and love into the world. If you wish to know what hope looks like in these days when for many it feels to be ebbing away, then look at each other. It is this – it is you, who by your lives, are shining hope into the world. Each act of loving kindness, every gesture, every word allows hope to grow.
Holding you all in my prayers.