Church of England Diocese of Norwich St. Peter, Sheringham

Message from the Vicar: 14th June

14 Jun 2020, 1 a.m.

On Monday, many shops and retail outlets will re-open as part of the Government’s exit from lockdown. Indeed, the Government formally announced on Friday evening that churches could also re-open for ‘individual private prayer’ the next morning. Roughly 15 hours notice was certainly not enough for most churches to complete the required risk assessments, re-organise their buildings, purchase recommended PPE and sanitiser whilst also achieving wider compliance with ‘COVID secure’ public health and government regulations, as well as their own liability insurance.

Some Church leaders and Churchwardens may be feeling ‘harassed and helpless’ as wide-ranging announcements affecting their communities and buildings are being made. Zoos have been told they can re-open from Monday. Despite feelings of happiness and relief at the news, the vast majority say they won’t be ready until July and wished they’d been given more notice of what was going to be announced.

Church communities, such as St Peter’s, will seek to allow access to buildings for individuals to come and say their private prayers as soon as is practical, feasible and above all else, safe. We will make public announcements with further details in due course.

In the time it takes our church communities to prepare for a restricted re-opening of buildings, please keep us all in your prayers. Please keep all faith communities in your prayers and all World-faith leaders, as we all seek to support the people entrusted to our care.

Let us help each other to remember that nobody should feel ‘harassed and helpless’ when surrounded by God’s love, as we follow the example of Jesus’ leadership and as we embrace the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remember that although many people love church buildings, they are buildings! Symbols of God’s love in the local community; places of gathering for significant events and worship; prayer-soaked walls that provide hope and comfort; but buildings nevertheless.

The truth is that you, the people, God’s people, are the Church of God. You have been praying in many different and difficult places during lockdown and God heard every prayer. Keep praying for each other, for your neighbours, for those in need, for those who have suffered and lost their lives because of Coronavirus.

Soon, we look forward to welcoming you, the Church, back to our building. Rest in the love of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and be assured of my prayers as we move forward, safely and prayerfully, together.

Every blessing, Christian