It is important in these uncertain times that we all keep in touch with each other and support each other as best we can. However we also need to be aware of the risks that exist and have to also care for ourselves and those close to us.
In the light of the announcement on Monday by the Prime Minister and further announcements today from the Archbishops and Bishop Christopher, I want to share with you what will be happening in the Parish.
The Ministry Team and Parish Wardens have been in regular contact with each other and we are committed to continuing to fulfil our main calling to be communities and people of prayer and worship and to exercise care of all God’s people.
This commitment will be expressed in the following ways – and we invite you to join with us as you are able – wherever you are:
Daily Prayer – Morning Prayer will be said by members of the Ministry Team at 9am at St Mary’s. Evening prayer will be said at 5pm.
We invite you to join us at these two times wherever you are, pause and pray and if possible to light a candle.
If you want to join us in the Prayers we are saying then the service is available on the National Church of England Website. We will share the online Daily Prayer : https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer or you can download the Daily Prayer app on your mobile phone or tablet: https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps/daily-prayer.
You are welcome to join us in praying for all affected by the Virus, all who are fearful, all who are isolated from family, friends and community and all who seek to support them …. and to pray that we may all be reassured and comforted by an awareness of the presence of Christ.
Eucharist – we will continue to celebrate the Eucharist daily (introducing a Monday service 10am in the morning and a Saturday celebration 5pm in place of Evening Prayer).
These will be widely advertised and streamed as appropriate on this website and our social media channels. While we cannot enable all to share in the Church we will welcome people to join us in prayer and reflection at those times.
At St Mary’s we will establish the Nave Altar on the Dais and concertina the brown chairs to allow us to spread out the blue Chairs to create more space for those who are at such services or who come into the Church to pray during the day.
Open Church – St Mary’s is a large space and we are keeping the doors open to enable all who wish to come in and use it as a place of prayer and stillness in these difficult and challenging times.
We will strive to be open from 9am – 5pm every day.
Pastoral Care – There will be a team of us (from the Ministry Team and Admin staff) who will be in the Vestry Hall from 9am – 5pm and this will be our base for a Pastoral Care call centre.
We hope to be in regular contact with everyone by email, social media, and phone calls.
If you have any concerns or worries or there are things you need then please do call 023 92 814 444.
We will work alongside HIVE and other community and statutory groups to forward to them requests for support – practical, food, medical, utilities, pet care etc and even financial requests that we cannot meet.
Please again let us know if we can support you in anyway, with prayer requests – or just phone call to say ‘hello’!
Cancellations – I am sure it will not surprise you that we need to cancel a number of events and activities, so please note that Messy Mothering on Saturday; Lent Lunches, Lent Groups (and Fellowship), Lent Reflections; Chew it Over Tuesday; Choir Rehearsals; the Quiet Day; Passover Meal and St Wilfrid’s Spring Fair have all been cancelled.
We will reflect further on Holy Week and beyond next week as the situation develops and becomes clearer.
Sunday Services – There will not be ‘public’ services (at the instruction of the Archbishops) but there will be services lead by the Ministry Team supported by a small group in every Church on Sunday.
St Mary’s services will be live streamed on social media and we will make these available on this website. Please do join with us in these services and be in ‘communion’ with the body of Christ through your participation.
The service will include a short reflection each week and will be shorter than the normal service – so hopefully easier to engage with.
Revd Sam’s licensing will again not be a ‘public service’ but will happen and be live streamed so we can all welcome her and support her as she begins her ministry with us at this time.
I hope this all makes sense and if you are at all unclear please do let me know or ask me any questions. Our focus must be to serve God in prayer and care – and to serve one another and all around us in being reassuring signs of his presence with us as we journey through Lent in a way that we had not imagined.
I am sure we can develop a strong sense of shared prayer and shared pastoral ministry and will support each other with regular contact via email or phone – continuing to be the Body of Christ in this place
With best wishes and prayers
— Bob White – Vicar