We are temporarily suspending in-person services in church, effective immediately...
This week we have had to knuckle down to another lockdown and its implications. Although the government has not yet mandated the closure of places of worship, the message from the scientists and NHS staff to ‘stay at home’ in the face of this new variant of the virus is increasing in weight. Locally, our bishops have given a clear steer that we should take this message very seriously. The numbers are not good and, although the vaccine is not far off for the most vulnerable amongst us, it is not yet here.
The PCC and I have jointly decided, therefore, that we should suspend in-person services for the time being for the following reasons:
* There is a considerable risk of infection from the new variant of the virus and its presence locally when we meet for worship in-person, even when we take all the precautions;
* Gathering for worship may give a false sense of security to elderly or vulnerable members of the congregation; * Churchwardens and others with roles in a service may feel under pressure to attend worship in order to fulfil their duties even though they may be vulnerable or very anxious about this;
* It is almost impossible to stop mixing socially before and after services! * Those involved in cleaning the church are particularly vulnerable;
* Pastorally, we do not want to place anyone at greater risk than is necessary at this difficult time.
This has not been an easy decision and we will inevitably feel a sense of loss. We recognise that the suspension of in-person services will be particularly difficult for some, not least because it means that we cannot share the eucharist. But some of these losses can be mitigated, and it is only a temporary measure (we will review at the start of Feb and thereafter). Our prayer, worship and Christian living can continue in other ways.
I<span style="font-size: 1rem;">f you have not already discovered them, please do make use of the well-received, locally created, weekly ‘Worship at Home’ service (the audio version is now also available via Spotify and similar) or the ‘live’ Sunday Zoom Service, or the many other opportunities and resources, including the ‘Daily Hope’ phone line for those without IT access (see separate posts for this Sunday's audio service and Zoom services). </span>
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">The church building will be open for private prayer on Sundays. (It is still available for funerals subject to government regulations, and with discussion with the vicar and church wardens.) P</span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">lease to pray daily for each other, for the village and for the nation. </span>
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">If you have particular concerns, or challenges that you are facing, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me privately via phone, email or Messenger. And please do join me and others for a Sunday catch-up at 10.15 – 11am on Zoom if you would like to. Details are in the weekly email. DM me if you would like to receive it. </span>
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">The God of all times and all places is not confined to buildings with pews, altars and ancient stones. My prayer for you is that you will find him and know that you are his beloved child, wherever you are.</span>