As you have probably heard on the news, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Church of England has suspended public worship with immediate effect. None of our regular services will run for the foreseeable future.
But that doesn’t stop us being church – we are just going to have to do things differently.
- Different ways to worship and pray.
- Different ways of caring for each other.
- Different ways to serve our community.
We are working to put those new things in place, but key to them all will be good communication. We will be putting information on our parish website, blog and Facebook page. In addition, we will be providing information via E-mail to those who are on our family list. If you are not on the family list but want to be kept informed by E-mail, please let us know.
We are aware that not everyone has access to or uses electronic communication. It would be extremely helpful If those who have access to electronic communication can pass on information verbally (via telephone) to others. We will also be delivering information/service papers to appropriate people as far as we can.
Our church magazine production will continue, as will the delivery to those who usually receive them this way (as far as is possible). There will be regular updates in the magazine.
Different ways to pray and worship:
Praying at home is an important way in which we can make a difference. Please pray for the coronavirus outbreak, those all who are ill, those who are anxious or feel isolated, for hospital and medical staff, for research scientists, for countries across the world and leaders of the nations in their decision making.
St. Margaret’s Church will be open for private prayer between 8.30am and 9.30am (Monday to Friday) and from 6.00pm-7.00pm (Monday to Thursday). Only come if it is safe to do so and please take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and others. Gel will be available at the entrance and there are facilities to wash your hands. Please choose a seat that enables adequate space between you and others. Please wash your hands/use sanitiser on exit. In the event of advice from the government for ‘lock down’ this will cease. For those unable to come, if you can pray in those set hours at home, we can be praying the body of Christ at St. Margaret’s, even though we may be physically dispersed.
We will continue to provide our weekly service sheets which will have the Sunday readings, people to pray for, hymns, updates and prayers. These will be on the website, E-mailed and where appropriate, posed through letter boxes. Digital resources will be put online over the next few weeks as well as times of radio and TV programmes which provide services.
We are also exploring other digital ways of ‘doing church’ and will send a separate mailing with information on that in the coming days.
This Sunday, 22nd March, has been designated as a day for prayer for the nation. It is suggested that that at 7.00pm we light a candle as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ our source and hope in prayer.
Different ways of caring for each other:
We will set up ‘WhatsApp’ group so that we can have contact each other and offer support and encouragement.
Revd. Deborah will, over the next few months, ring everyone on the church family list to check that everyone is OK.
A team of people led by Revd Sue and Andrew Ginn will make contact (via phone) to those who fit into the groups identified as ‘vulnerable’.
If you are in one of the non-vulnerable groups and are able to do simple shopping for people who are ill or in self-isolation, please do so.
Different ways to serve our community:
Serving our communities is an important part in putting our faith in action, particularly in times of crisis. As I am sure you are already doing, we encourage you to offer any support and help you can to those in need.
We encourage you to keep supporting porch boxes. If you have any contributions, please leave them in a bag by the church gates on Thursday morning between 8.30am and 10.30am.
By our service, and by our love, we pray that Jesus Christ will be made known at this time, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that will counter fear and isolation – will spread across our land.
With our love and prayers as we enter a different phase of our church’s life.
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.