Dear friends,

I hope that you and your household are keeping well in the midst of all that is happening.

I wanted to mention a few things in this little update to keep everyone informed of all that is happening and all that we are trying to set in place during this time of national and global crisis.

During the past few days a magazine has been written which we are trying to deliver to all the households that normally receive it and it is also available online to download from our website. It contains some prayers and resources for devotion at a time when we are not permitted to assemble together.

I’m conscious that not all our parishioners will be online or have access to the internet so, if you find something of relevance, please phone those who may not see these updates.

I recorded my first little service yesterday as part of an audio recording which will have a Bible reading, a sermon and some prayers connected to the situation we are all living through at the minute. All of this is very new to me and I hope with the technical assistance of some others this audio file will be available on Sunday to listen to from our website or Facebook page.

There may be some who might like to receive a CD of that recording. We have a limited number of CDS and they can only be used once, but please contact me at the rectory if you would like that recording and we will try to get one to you.

Many have been enquiring about the church being open for private prayer and, for the foreseeable future, I regret to say that it will not be open for that purpose. We do not have the supply of hand sanitisers or facilities for people to wash their hands and for everyone’s safety and the strict observance of physical distancing we cannot put those who are most vulnerable at risk.

We are doing our very best to make resources available online, including a number of resources from the childrens ministry department, to enable you to continue to share the faith with your children. We are so indebted to our dedicated Sunday school teachers and organisation leaders and these times are very difficult to be imposing such restrictions. I do believe, however, that they are the most important way we can all play our part in seeing this crisis through and observe strictly all the guidance we have received in terms of best practice to keep people safe especially the most vulnerable.

I am also in the process of setting up a system whereby 50-60 people will phone 4 or 5 more people who are vulnerable or living alone on a regular basis. If you get a call from someone who you cannot place from St. Finnian’s Church be assured it is genuine and I have asked them to make that call. I know people have already been doing this and it’s such a comfort to hear another voice, especially if we are self isolating or living alone.

While we cannot be together physically at this time its important to stress we are a community of faith and prayer unites us in a very special way. I cannot emphasise just how important it is to pray for each other in these days. I was out walking with Lucy in her buggy early this morning and, as we walked past streets where we knew people, we prayed for them and for their situations.

Lastly, today many who attended the 11.30am service will remember Mrs. Betty Stewart, who died on Tuesday past. Due to the current restrictions, Betty’s Funeral service will take place in Roselawn crematorium tomorrow with a very tiny number of immediate family present. Could you please pray for the Stewart Family circle at a very sad time for them as they gather tomorrow at 10am for a very short service? 

St. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, wrote these words. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5 verses 16-18). Its not easy to stay joyful and give thanks in all circumstances and yet, when we reflect on all we have in each other, in the kindness of people and in all that God has done for us in Christ, these are important words. Let’s not forget in the midst of uncertainty to keep continuously praying and asking God to guide, to heal, and to intervene.

With very best wishes,

Jonathan Pierce (Rector)

Telephone 02890 793822