Church of England Diocese of Chichester Goring

Fr Keith's weekly pastoral letter

3 Jul 2020, 10:15 a.m.

Psalm 95: 6-7

O come, let us worship and bow down,

let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

Dear friends,

You will have heard that the Government has ruled that the Church may, from

the 4th of July, once again gather for worship in her holy buildings, albeit under a

number of restrictions. The accompanying newsletter explains how these new

rules are to be followed in this parish, and it is intended that our first services in

church (not as Church!) will be held at St Mary’s on the 12th July, 2020.

It is true that many of us have envisaged the whole congregation coming

together in one sitting (so to speak), but given the nature of the conditions we

are facing, this was always improbable. However, our being able to worship once

more in the Lord’s house is no less an occasion for joy and thanksgiving! Worship

will, I believe, have a different – perhaps more contemplative- atmosphere;

perhaps this is consistent with the precious “slowing down” process that a

number of you have become aware of and remarked upon. We may experience

elements of the worship with a much clearer focus, rather than their passing us

by unnoticed; to be able to anticipate a deeper reception of the loving activity

and presence of the Lord is surely something to celebrate!

The way forward will require a good deal of patient faith and spiritual

attentiveness- and it will also require a fair amount of practical help, so please, if

you can, offer an hour to help with cleaning the church in order to ensure that it

is a safe as possible for worship. Remember that doing so is in itself a service for

the Lord, and a devotion in the Lord’s house.

You may like to know that our on-line services – both live streaming and

recorded worship- will still be available- indeed, it is likely that we will offer

more, not less, content in the time ahead- for example, we are planning to live

stream the 11am Eucharist for those who are unable to be present in church.

I do hope, my brothers and sisters, that you are encouraged by this longed-for

development, and I am greatly looking forward to being with you soon.

In the meantime, prayers and blessings for you all,

Fr Keith