From the Vicar
You may have heard by now that the Church of England has considered it wise to suspend public worship immediately as we take our part in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic.
I know many of you will feel anxious about this and I wanted to write to reassure you.
First I want to make it very clear that we have suspended our public services but we are not closed.
The Church (which has always been the people and not the building) is very much alive and open – we are possibly working harder right now than normal – and we are doing all we can to support you.
Meetings are still taking place over the telephone and internet – technology is our friend in these times and we encourage everyone to join our Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as checking our website on a regular basis – we shall be using these to keep in touch and I will publish a weekly sermon. If you would like this posted to you please let us know.
My mobile is 07464 960345 you are welcome to call me at anytime – it does not need to be an emergency – it can be just because you want a chat.
Suspending public worship is a very important step to take in order to protect and support our NHS, essential services and the most vulnerable. It is therefore one of the most Christian things we can do right now – putting others before self. It is painful but it is necessary.
We encourage everyone to stay home at the moment as much as they can but especially those who are over 70 or those who are routinely given the free flu vaccine. If this is you and you need help with shopping, collecting medicine, walking dogs or anything else please contact me either by phone 07464 960345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We have a list of willing volunteers who are ready and wanting to help you. You are not alone.
This Sunday the Archbishop of Canterbury has urged us to have a day of action and prayer for the pandemic. Therefore in the morning we shall open the church building from 8am-12 if you want to drop off donations for the food bank – in this time of panic buying and hoarding – the poor are particularly vulnerable and the food banks are short of the basics: soap, toilet roll, beans, canned foods. If you feel able to drop off a donation please remember to practise good hygiene and social distancing.
In the evening we are encouraged to take a candle and put it in the window – and at 7pm candles across the nation will be lit as we pray together.
I suggest we use this prayer from the Church of England and you may like to add your own.
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You might want to make this a spiritual discipline for the rest of Lent – lighting a candle at 7pm and praying for our world. I shall be doing this. And each morning I am praying for you all too – if you have any specific requests (however small) do let me know and I will be very happy to pray for you.
May you know that you are held and loved by God himself, and may the peace of God, which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.
With love and prayers,
Vicar St James Malden