My dear friends,
I want to take this opportunity to speak about the extraordinary situation facing us as a worshipping community and parish over the coming weeks and, potentially, months.
As many of you will now know, on 17th March 2020, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York took the unprecedent step of suspending public worship in all places of worship in the Church of England. This includes Cathedrals, Benefices and Churches. This is in response to Government guidance regarding COVID-19 aka Coronavirus.
This means that for the foreseeable future there will be no public Eucharist, Taizē service or other Morning Prayer in our building.
I know this will come as an enormous shock to many of you, and rightly so. The Archbishops would not have made this decision unless the situation generated by COVID-19 was unprecedented.
While I understand that some have thought that this virus is of no greater threat to public health than many other viruses, the fact is that it presents a potentially catastrophic jolt to our public services, especially the NHS. If nothing else, I hope that those of us in high risk groups take the Archbishops’ decision as a signal that we should take public health advice seriously.
Nonetheless, we remain a worshipping, serving and loving community. Just because public worship is suspended, it does not mean that prayer, worship and practical love is suspended.
In short, we are St Nick’s. We are still the wonderfully diverse, passionate, questioning and faithful community we have always been. We are not the kind of community which cannot face unprecedented times.
Indeed, now is the time for us to recommit ourselves, in this time of Lent, to prayer and service.
The leadership team – Lay and Ordained – are absolutely committed to finding ways for the congregation to pray together in coming weeks. This, inevitably, will not be ‘face-to-face’, but in this digital age, we are looking for digital solutions to help us.
Over the coming days, the Clergy and Wardens are going to work together to share online and offline resources with the congregation. I shall be in touch again before the weekend with further information about this.
We also want to ensure that those of you who may be self-isolating or feeling vulnerable are not alone. Please contact me or the Wardens if you or anyone you know needs help with shopping. We have people who are keen to help.
Please remember: God is Love and where there is Love there is God. There is so much love between the members of this congregation and it inspires me. Let us maintain it. Do not be afraid, for God is good and promises to be with us, till the end of the age.
Love and Blessings,