As this situation is constantly evolving and changing, I wanted to update everyone on some decisions affecting our gatherings scheduled for this week.
In taking these decisions, I am very mindful that we have a sizeable number of people who attend our services and events who are in, what is described as, a highly vulnerable category if they were affected by the virus and we, as a parish and faith community, have a duty of care to them.
In the first instance, anyone displaying symptoms of the virus, like a cough or fever, is asked not to come to any public events, self isolate at home and seek medical guidance.
Divine Healing Ministries has taken the decision to suspend its services until after Easter, when this will be reviewed in the light of the situation at that time.
We will be suspending our Midweek Holy Communion and Thursday evening Lenten Services for the next few weeks and making decisions about our Holy Week and Easter Services at that point. We will update parishioners through the website and Facebook page as we are clearer.
These are very difficult and painful decisions to take from someone who values public worship and the sense of community that is so important to us.
The Easter Vestry scheduled for next Tuesday the 24th March has been postponed and we await guidance from the Central Church as to how and when the Easter Vestry might be conducted.
As the situation is constantly changing, we await guidance about this Sunday’s services and, while there may not be the services at the usual times, there will certainly be the opportunity for people to gather in the church for private prayer, asking people to ensure they are at least 2 metres apart. I await guidance on this matter still.
The Select Vestry meeting scheduled for Tuesday and the The Ladies’ Friendship Group scheduled for Wednesday afternoon will not be taking place.
I’m very conscious that this is a frightening and anxious time and it’s also a lonely time for those who are self isolating or are feeling unwell. I’m very happy to phone and support in any way I can and I encourage all, who are in a position to do so, to check in on their neighbours or more vulnerable people they know.
It’s also a devastating and worrying time for those who have lost employment and a very challenging time for all our health professionals. Can I please ask people to pray for all who are under huge pressure in these challenging days?
In the short term, I have followed guidance and am suspending private communions. I’m very happy to come to see those who need anything, but will be observing those guidelines about social distancing and will, of course, be in touch with many by telephone in the coming weeks.
It’s most definitely a time for intentional prayer about the situation and we remember all who are ill and affected by this virus in all kinds of ways and their families. Some will be separated from family at this time and making decisions about not visiting those in the more vulnerable category, which adds to the sense of worry and isolation. Phone calls and cards and letters can be especially important, so let’s do all we can to support one another as we hold to the conviction of the Psalmist, ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.’ (Psalm 46 verse 1)
With very best wishes
Jonathan Pierce (Rector)
Telephone – 02890 793822