My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With a heavy heart, today's guidance from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, leaves me with no alternative but to announce that all Public Worship, home groups, lent study activities and other social gatherings organised by the parish - are hereby suspended until further notice.
Where possible our church buildings will remain open during daylight hours to hold a holy space for people to rest, think, reflect and pray in.
As the Archbishops have wisely said, these precautions are taken because of our responsibility to love our neighbours (not to contribute in any way to the spreading of the COVID-19 corona virus). It does not mean, however, that we stop being ‘The church'. Rather, we are invited to experiment - and be creative - with praying, worshipping and serving differently.
Going forward, Sam and I will be meeting to say Morning Prayer and the Eucharist every day for as long as we can in accordance with the new guidelines. We will make sure those details are made available to you to so you can join us in prayer at home.
In the next 24 hours or so we will make available some extensive resources to enable you to sustain your prayer life at home. We will also share craft activities following the Sunday lectionary to enable children and families to continue to explore their faith in the days ahead. There will also be resources to be used in the lead up to Passiontide, Holy Week and the season of Easter. For now, you can find a link to the Church of England's liturgy for Morning and Evening Prayer here: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer
Our overall aim will be to offer support to those who need it, and the opportunity to continue connecting with God through the ministry of the church throughout the coming crisis. I will be updating details as they arise or change.
Please do contact me or Sam, our Readers and Wardens if there are things we can do or organise to support you if possible. We will be working to draw together a wider group of people to keep in touch with you all in the coming days.
Please also take note of the cards that have been printed for you to distribute to neighbours in need offering practical support. These will be available in our church buildings. Please fill the card with what you are prepared to offer in terms of help, but only offer if you are not at risk yourself.
This coming Sunday I invite you to join me in a Day of Prayer and Action for all those who are ill, fearful, socially-isolated and their families and friends and all healthcare workers, and at 7pm to place a lit candle safely in your window as an act of solidarity and love. Full details of this will be available in the comings days
Please join me in praying regularly for all who may feel anxious at this time and all of our healthcare professionals.
With love and every blessing through this unprecedented time,
Vicar of the Parish of Mill End and Heronsgate with West Hyde.
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