Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Church Measures to deal with Coronavirus
As you all know we are in the midst of a major health issue that puts certain members of the community at serious risk. H.M. Government is taking bold steps to reduce these risks and the leaders of our church are encouraging us all to comply with that guidance.
Consequently, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued instructions to all clergy which we need to implement with immediate effect:
All public worship to be stopped for a season. This means no public Sunday services and no weekday services.
The usual pattern of daily prayer will be continued by me in church – but not in the context of public worship.
St Cuthbert’s church will be opened each day. I have put out some prayers on a table focusing on the concerns about Coronavirus which include prayers for us to remain calm, prayers for the sick and suffering and prayers for medics and those caring for the poorly.
People are welcome to come to church for private prayer. Whenever people enter, they should wash their hands. Facilities for hand washing are available at back of church.
Each day at 12 Noon I am asking everyone who is able, and especially those who are self-isolating, to stop and pray for a few minutes. We will be united as the church at prayer.
One possible prayer is:
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.
I shall be issuing further suggestions for prayers to use at home soon.
This coming Sunday 22nd March is Mothering Sunday. We have been asked to make this a day of prayer and contemplation. Please hold the crisis in your prayers, the sick, the dying and all who are concerned with assisting in the alleviation of its effects. Pray especially at Noon.
Then at 7.00 pm on Sunday evening I am asking everyone to join in the Archbishop’s initiative and to light a candle in their window as a public demonstration of our unity under the leadership of Christ the Light of the World. Our hope remains in the Lord.
Please, therefore, join us in this great challenge; and pray for our Government and nation, for each other, and especially for those who work in our health and emergency services.
With every blessing, John McDermott.