Church of England Diocese of Norwich Beeston St. Lawrence

Christmas Day Worship 2020

From the Rector:

Dear Friends

In a letter to all licensed clergy earlier today, Christmas Eve, Bishop Graham indicated the concern over the rapidly increasing rates of infection and hospitalisation in our local areas.

In particular, the Bishop noted:

"Infection levels and hospitalisations in Norfolk and Waveney are very concerning with steep increases. The most worrying increase in case rate is seen in Breckland, with an increase in cases of 106% since last week. Rapid increases are also seen in Broadland (90%) and North Norfolk (71%). The case rate in people 60 years and older is highest in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk at 153 per 100,000 and Breckland at 138 per 100,000. This is likely to spread across the county in the coming days."

These increases indicate that the new, more infectious strain of Coronavirus is now present in our area and spreading rapidly, and is of course also the reason we are about to be placed in Tier 4. In consultation with the churchwardens, the Rector has concluded most reluctantly that continuing public worship services is an unnecessary and unjustifiable risk to our congregations, especially given their age profile. This is a decision which no parish priest ever wants to announce, but the current local progress of this new Coronavirus strain is such that we believe this to be the only safe and sensible course of action, until we can see that the spread of the virus is being brought properly under control. Our churches will remain open for individual private prayer at what have become the normal times. In the meantime, our weekly on-line worship will continue.

This is not the Christmas any of us would have hoped for, but please stay safe and know that the core message of Christmas is that God is with us - always - Emmanuel, so that we can still wish each other "Happy Christmas", while staying as safe as possible and of course looking to the needs of those around us wherever we can safely help.

David Smith, Rector