Priest in Charge Letter March 2020
It is with great sadness I write to announce that all public services are suspended in our 3 churches until further notice. I am following advice from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and do so with a very heavy heart. We are living in difficult and troubling times. Many will be feeling isolated, uncertain and even scared. I hope this prayer will help you in these stormy days:
Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm; still me, Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease, enfold me, Lord, in your peace. Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm; still me, Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease, Lord, enfold me in your peace. Amen.30 Oct 201
On Monday I led a confirmation Group for a class full young people. We talked about the church not being just a building but the people. We even built a church out of 8 bodies. We are the body of Christ and though we can’t be physically be together we have to find creative ways of being church. After prayerful consideration I have 7 ideas in mind.
1. Wales, Harthill and Thorpe Salvin Parish Churches will remain open every day between 9.30am and 4.30pm. A candle will be lit in each of the 3 churches as a symbol of our prayers for the parish. It is also a symbol of prayer for those who are affected by the Corona Virus and hospitals, general practices, emergency services and caring agencies who are continuing to work.
2. The good news is that the BBC will be broadcasting a church service on local radio on Sundays 8am and are looking into doing the same on BBC One. Isn’t that marvellous?
3. For those regular members of our churches not online we will be distributing the Morning Worship booklet. If you know of someone who would like a copy please let me know. Hopefully people can use it daily and especially on Sunday’s. Obviously when this blows over we would like the booklets returning.
4. For those of you that can access the internet I will be producing podcasts and video recordings of services which will be made available on the 2 church websites, on Facebook and the new 3 Church Friends Whats App Group. These will include daily prayer and compline. Please go to the churches websites which are listed below and click on Media Services.
5. A Service will be broadcast on Social Media at 10.30am every Sunday. I will take it in turns going round the 3 churches each week. It will start with Wales this week so please do tune in together with family members. We will be celebrating Mothering Sunday and you will be able to view it on my Facebook page live. The recording will then be added to the churches Facebook Pages, websites and Whats App Group.
6. The Archbishops are encouraging us to light a candle at 7pm this Sunday 22nd March as a sign of prayer for those affected by our current situation. There will be prayers before and after the candle lighting and I hope you will join me at 6.55pm for a short 10 minute service.
7. The weekly Wednesday communion service will be broadcast live on my Facebook page every week.
Just a few more points:
I’m not that tech savvy so this is a very steep learning curve. Let me know what you think. I’m sure we will improve things as we go along. It’d be great to have people contributing to the service eventually with videos or voice recordings of bible readings and prayers.
Our 3 churches are ancient, historic and sacred. They have proclaimed the glory of God and the new life of Jesus Christ for centuries. Down the years they have withstood HIV, Aids, WW 2 & 1, Spanish flu, small pox, Cholera, and Black Death. Worship will continue even in these times of Covid-19. We stand firm in the Christian faith trusting in a God who is our rock and defender. We continue to proclaim that the light of the risen Christ will overcome the darkness of fear and death.
DON’T BE ALONE – talk to someone!!!
If anyone is self isolating currently or needs to in the future please feel free to contact me on 01909 771111 or on firstname.lastname@example.org you can also message me on FB messenger or the 3 Church Friends What’s App Group. Members of the church and I are available to listen to your concerns and point you in the right direction if help is required.
With regards to baptisms, weddings and funerals these may still take place but from next week are limited in attendance.
Finally, please keep buying locally and buy just what you need. Please keep supporting the New Hope foodbank (use the baskets provided at the local supermarket and churches).
Here is another prayer which I hope you will find helpful:.
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us. Amen.
Be blessed with hope
Vicar of Wales
Priest in Charge of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin