Church Services suspended during lockdown period.
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 4<sup>th</sup> January we find ourselves in another period of lockdown. The government has not so far stated that churches should close for public worship. Statements from the Church of England at national and diocesan level indicate that local decisions about whether to remain open may be taken at parish level.
Members of the Marden Vale ministry team have met (via Zoom) for prayer and to consider the way forward. The clear message from the government is that, at the moment, everyone should remain at home and leave for only very limited and essential purposes. Given the vulnerability of many who attend our churches the ministry team feels that the right and pastoral thing to do is to suspend public worship across the benefice for the time being. Some of us are a part of households where people who previously have been shielding have been asked to shield again. In order to reduce the risk of transmission of the new and highly transmissible variant of Covid-19 it seems best to operate with maximum caution. The good news is that vaccines are now available and are being rolled-out and hopefully over the next couple of months our lives will begin to improve and restrictions begin to be reduced. In the meantime we need to keep people as safe as we can.
Whilst we won’t we be opening our churches for public worship over the coming weeks it is our intention to offer times when people can come into our church buildings for private prayer. We will also continue with online worship and do all we can to support people who feel lonely and isolated. The best thing we can all do is to support and keep praying for each other. We do hope you will support us in this decision as to how proceed in the coming weeks. Obviously, we will keep matters under review as the picture changes.
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over the last few months, both in your understanding when we have had to close churches and your patience in following new guidance for booking and attending services when churches have been open. Thank you also for your generosity in terms of financial giving, which is very much appreciated in these difficult times.
“Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me his steadfast love when I was as a city besieged...Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait in hope for the Lord.” Psalm 31.
Rev. Linda Carter (on behalf of Marden Vale Ministry Team)