|Published by Zoe Bell on Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:33|
"May you live in interesting times" is the English expression of a traditional Chinese (no irony intended!) curse. The sentiment is that it is better to live in uninteresting times.
The spread of the Coronavirus has utterly transformed our lives for the time being, including church life. The Standing Committee has undertaken a rigorous parish continuity planning exercise to determine how church life should be organized over this period of crisis. The most important elements are these:
Public worship and activities
The Church of England has suspended public worship. Accordingly, I have cancelled all church services and meetings until futher notice. The church will not be available for non-church activities.
The church will be kept open for those seeking silence and wishing to pray, provided good hygiene and social distancing practices are observed.
I and the ministry team are actively exploring alternative ways of sharing ministry, including live streaming prayer and worship, and information about these will be communicated in due course.
Should I fall ill or otherwise need to isolate, there are nominated deputies who will take over my duties.
Pastoral Care and spiritual support
Where people are self-isolating because they are symptomatic, or have been in contact with someone who has been symptomatic, no pastoral visits will be undertaken, until their isolation ends, though, of course, telephone support will be offered. Where people are self-isolating for their own protection, and a pastoral visit is necessary, it will be undertaken adhering to rigorous hygiene and social distancing practices.
Funerals and weddings will still take place subject to strict rules relating to size of gathering, hygiene and social distancing. We are waiting for guidance regarding baptisms.
In order to give practical and spiritual support to those who are isolated and vulnerable, we would like you to indicate whether you are willing to offer support of either kind, whether you yourselves are in need of such support, and whether you know of anyone requiring such support.
If you are able to offer any support please click Here
If you are in need of any support or would like regular phone calls, please click Here
Martin Luther wrote this in 1527: "Others sin on the right hand. They are much too rash and reckless, tempting God and disregarding everything which might counteract death and the plague. They disdain the use of medicines; they do not avoid places and persons infected by the plague, but lightheartedly make sport of it and wish to prove how independent they are. This is not trusting in God but tempting him. ... God has created medicines and provided us with intelligence to guard and take care for the body so that we can live in good health. ... No, my dear friends, that is no good. Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city." We should remember that Jesus commanded "to love others as we love ourselves". There is a place for self-interest (as opposed to selfishness). We will be no good to others who need our support if we put ourselves needlessly at risk and suffer the consequences.
With my best wishes and blessings Mark