Letter to parishioners, 28 March

Letter from Revd Stephen to Parishioners, dated Saturday 28 March 2020

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Just four days ago I had the sad task of writing to you about the closure of our churches and churchyards. The Archbishops and Bishops instructed us to take this extreme step as a way of showing that the Church is taking seriously our Government’s response to the spread of the Coronavirus. This closure is total and without exception – even Revd Aron and I are told not to use our churches. And so, we all find ourselves in the strange position of having to re-think the way we can continue living our lives as Christians without the day-to-day reality of being able to pop into our church buildings.

Since the first century, immediately after Jesus’ resurrection, Christians have found ways to gather and praise and pray. Very often, as in the case of the early Church, those gatherings have had to be held in secret, making the best of challenging and dangerous circumstances. Even today, there are Christians in this world who can only ever gather in secret because to do otherwise would result in persecution, or even death. We are not in that position. Whilst some speak of attrition and war-like restrictions that is not the world in which we find ourselves. We are being actively encouraged to find new and inventive ways to ‘gather’ and praise and pray.

Living, as we do, in the first quarter of the twenty-first century we are greatly blessed with the fruits of human ingenuity. We have telephones, computers and the internet which enable many of us to stay in touch during these days of enforced isolation. For those who do not or cannot access these forms of communication, as well as for those who do and can, there is the spirit of human care and compassion. Throughout our group of parishes I have been hearing so many heart-warming accounts of people helping and supporting the lonely and the vulnerable. I pray that those initiatives may flourish and go on well beyond the crisis in which we find ourselves at the moment.

As a Church community we have set up a website that can be easily accessed from any device that connects to the internet. The address is: . On that website there are pastoral letters, sermons & reflections, and recordings of services to help you in your prayer life. There is also a simple daily prayer service and a recording of the Office of Compline for all to use. Please spread the word about our website, and do let me know if there is something you would like to see added to the contents.

The Church is about to enter the most solemn and holy time in its calendar. We are about to recall the journey of Jesus to the Cross and beyond. We are about to share in his agony and earthly death, but we are also soon to be celebrating the joy of his resurrection. I urge you, during these challenging days, to stay firm in your faith, to continue to pray and to continue to support each other in any ways you can. And I urge you to do all this in the name of Jesus Christ who is our Saviour and our Lord.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen