It is perhaps timely that in this week’s gospel we hear Jesus inviting us not to carry heavy burdens but to come to him for rest: that companionship with Jesus is characterised by gentleness. Timely, because over the last few days the Church of England has responded to the government guidance for a return for public services in places of worship, and the guidance is extensive and quite complex. I am very much looking forward to the time when I am able to lead our worship with congregations in our churches, but to do that in a way that enables our souls to rest as we worship I need to give more time to making our return safe and gentle.
My plan is to come up with a proposal for each congregation that I then discuss with PCCs and we will keep everyone fully informed of each stage of the return to services in church, which will feel a bit different from those that we left. In the meantime, and even after some worship in churches begins again, I will continue to provide my sermons, liturgy and Youtube reflections by email to enable those who still need to be cautious about contact with others to continue to participate in the praise and worship of God, which is our shared calling.
This Sunday also marks the anniversary of the founding of the NHS and I attach prayers you might like to use during the day and over the next week to remember the vital work of this service. Bishop Jackie is leading a service at 10 am which you can find here:
The Communicatons team at the diocese has set up a survey to get a sense of changing communication patterns across the diocese. If you feel able to respond it is a good way of highlighting the challenges of communication in this part of North Devon to those who shape strategies in Exeter.
Please fill in the survey by clicking on this link: https://www.research.net/r/DOEBuildingstrongconnections
Within the survey there is a question that comes from a group of which I have been part. We are trying to encourage theological reflection on all that we have been experiencing by helping people reflect on the big questions that the last months have posed. If you don’t want to wade through the whole survey, but would be willing to send me an answer to the question I will happily send it on to those gathering questions:
What are the biggest questions that the last few months of lockdown have raised for you about God, faith and the world?
On that note – God bless!