A Loving Response to the COVID-19 outbreak – by Reverend Rachel

Candle

In the light of Government guidance around avoiding non-essential social contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is to be suspended until further notice.

Therefore, with great sadness we have to say that there will be no more Sunday services in our parish until further notice. 

This Mothering Sunday, 22nd March, all churches are called to a National Day of Prayer and Action. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds.

At 7pm this Sunday, if possible, please join with us in lighting a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.

Churches Together in England state:

“…we have the great privilege and freedom to be able to call upon God, wherever we are, individually and corporately, for healing in our nation. We would pray for all in leadership at this time, making decisions about the containment of the COVID-19 virus, for those working in health and social care, and especially for the most vulnerable, whether elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

There are already stories being told of wonderful acts of kindness across neighbourhoods. Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour. We may not be able to touch physically, but we can make connections in so many other ways.

We note that this call to prayer and action comes on Mothering Sunday: a time of thankfulness, remembering especially mothers who have served us, often in very costly ways. It is also a very mixed day for many. For some the remembrance is painful, and for others Mothering Sunday is a reminder of disappointment or loss. In many ways, this period under the shadow of the coronavirus will be prompting similarly diverse reactions and so it seems especially appropriate that the call to prayer is made this Sunday. At this time of uncertainty join in with the National Day of Prayer and Action, lighting a candle of hope.

Already there is news from our villages and communities of groups springing up who are offering help to those who need to stay at home. If we are able let’s throw our full weight behind these groups and support where possible.

In his letter to leaders yesterday Bishop Paul sends his encouragement,

Though we are closing our churches for worship the Church of England is not closing or diminishing in any way in its commitment to serve and care for all those who live in our parishes. This will include practical ways to care for the most vulnerable. There will be new challenges ahead but also new opportunities to make known the love and hope of God. Where possible we should aim to keep our church buildings open at certain times for prayer, though it will be necessary to observe the guidelines for how this can be done safely.

We will be working with the cathedral and some of our larger churches to livestream prayers, readings and teaching which can be available for people across the diocese.

Details of these resources will follow.

As a community we can continue to worship together. Why not set your alarm for 12 noon each day and join us for Midday Prayer? You will soon be able to find resources on our website. Perhaps you have only a few moments to pray the Lord’s Prayer or the prayer below; whatever your words your loving Father in heaven will simply be happy to hear you.

There is also an opportunity for you to leave your prayer requests on our website, or simply to ask for someone to call you.            

And, during this time our churches in Colston Bassett, Granby, Langar and Cropwell Bishop will be open during the day for personal prayer.

In the meantime, please let’s keep washing our hands and remember to join in with the Day of Prayer on Mothering Sunday, including lighting candles in our windows at 7pm.

Let us pray;

Keep us, Good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
Be with those who care for the sick,
And lift up those who are brought low;
That we might find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

With love,

Rachel, Rev’d

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