Dear Friends,

It’s Mothering Sunday and, in a couple of hours, I was due to celebrate the baptism of little Louis Hall as family gathered from Cardiff, the Isle of Man, Dungannon and Belfast. Instead, I will be in the church alone for a couple of hours, celebrating Holy Communion, praying for everyone and doing a little more work on my lists for people to phone and stay in touch with.

We hope some may be able to access the audio file for today’s service which is more about our current situation than mother’s day as it was recorded on Thursday via the church’s website or facebook page. Don’t forget to invite others to follow our page and in that way they may be able to be kept up to date and if you know people without the internet keep phoning them the news.

We have been advised that the next few weeks are critically important to observe physically distancing ourselves from other people as far as possible. I would ask all of us to do all we can to follow these guidelines as we all try to play our part in slowing the spread of this virus.

I would ask you to pray particularly this morning for our frontline health workers, those who provide care in the community to vulnerable people, those who are Doctors and nurses and work in hospitals as domestic and catering staff and in administration. Can we pray too for our pharmacists and shop workers as they work under very pressurised conditions to supply prescriptions and supplies as people are understandably frightened and anxious.

Mothering Sunday can be a poignant Sunday at the best of time as we think of those who no longer have their mothers with them on earth and this loss can be very keenly felt. We also think of those who would have loved to be mums but never had that opportunity and it’s a day when we feel all these emotions in a heightened way.

For some others it’s a day when we might normally be visiting grandparents or going out for lunch as a family and in the current climate we cant do these things. 

On Mothering Sunday in church we often reflect too on the concept of mother church, that as a community the church is like a mother nurturing, encouraging and loving us as we grow in the faith of Jesus Christ. 

So whether you are on your own or with a family group please be assured that while the doors of our church building are closed you will be lifted up in prayer and I close this little update with the words of the collect for today.

Collects are special prayers we use in the Church of Ireland to mark a particular day or season in the church’s year and the one for Mothering Sunday is especially relevant to us all today I believe.

God of compassion

Whose son Jesus Christ the child of Mary,

shared the life of a home in Nazareth,

and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:

Strengthen us in our daily living

that in joy and in sorrow

we may know the power of your presence

to bind together and to heal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

With very best wishes to everyone

Jonathan Pierce (Rector)

Telephone 02890 793822