CHURCH CLOSURES All Church of England churches are to close with immediate effect, including for private prayer, in an effort to help limit the transmission of the coronavirus COVID-19. However we are still open via Email, phone, Social Media and Zoom. Here are the updated changes on church closures from the 5th of May
Messages from Rt Rev Bishop Christopher:
Thought from Bishop John
I read that in Venice now, with the drastic decline in water traffic, the water in the canals has become clean and clear and the fish are coming back. In this season, so full of challenge, we also have God given opportunities. One of these is to go deeper with God in prayer. As time goes on, we may have time to lay aside the ‘busy traffic’ of living in 5th gear in our thinking and our doing and being still in the presence of God.
We have the opportunity to be more present to the presence of God and, as it were, to ‘reboot’ our lives in Christ. Our fruitfulness in ministry flows from our rootedness in Christ. This evening’s reading from Jeremiah reminds us of this:
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, they shall be like a tree planted by water sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when the heat comes.” Jer.17.7-8.
Just as the now clean water in Venice is attracting new life, so our lives, entrusted to God, can become sources of the abundant fertility of God.
A message from Archbishop Justin Welby on responding to coronavirus
As we continue responding to Coronavirus, a lot of us are wondering how we can walk in faith, resist fear, and support those who are most vulnerable.
The first thing to say is that following the advice of experts – especially about washing our hands regularly and self-isolating if we have cold or flu symptoms – is a really important place to start.
But what else can we do? Well, the thing about having hope, faith and courage is that although they are gifts from God, we can do our bit to nurture them.
We can take some time to sit quietly and pray, letting God know about those things that are on our hearts and minds. When we do that, we make that connection with God that nourishes and sustains us.
We can pray for those who are physically vulnerable. Those who are financially insecure and worried about needing to take time off work. Those who live in countries without public healthcare systems. Those who do not have family or friends and are facing this situation alone.
We can pray for healthcare workers and political leaders who are responding to this crisis and bearing the incredible responsibility of trying to keep us safe.
That brings us to resisting fear. One way to avoid being overwhelmed by fear is turning our attention to helping someone. Is there a person in your life, or your community, that you could call on the phone and see if they’re okay? Maybe it was someone that you prayed for?
Perhaps they can’t get to the shops – could you pick up some groceries for them? Perhaps they are self-isolating and feeling lonely – could you call them on the phone and see how they are?
If you have some spare income, or some spare food, could you donate to your local food bank?
Let’s remember that we are in this together. Let’s look after ourselves and our communities, gain courage from each other, and walk together in hope and faith.
As it says in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”