Services Online Only - A Message from the Rector

 

My dear friends,

On Monday 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown across England. While the headline instruction was ‘stay at home’, the accompanying guidance stated that ‘you can attend places of worship for a service.’

However, as we know, we continue to be one of the worst hit regions of the country and our health facilities are under extraordinary pressure. We must do all that we can to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and the NHS.

To that end, the PCC and I jointly agreed to request permission from Bishop Andrew to move all services online (with no congregation physically present) until 17 February. The only exception to this to be funerals, and the situation to be reviewed at the end of the month. Bishop Andrew has now given his permission for this move.

It’s a decision which I dearly wish we did not have to make. However, the PCC and I believe it is the correct one, not only because of the rapidly rising rates of infection, illness and death, but also because of the increased strain which continuing public worship services (planning for them, managing them, and often having to clean the building after them) has placed on our wonderful staff and volunteers. I thank them for all they do.

So, from Sunday (10 January) we will revert, in essence, to the arrangements we had in place during ‘lockdown 2’ in November. Only those directly involved in leading the service will be physically present in Christ Church, with the live stream available on our Facebook page and an audio recording being made available later on our SoundCloud channel. Saint George’s West End will remain closed.

The various parish activities currently undertaken via Zoom will continue, and I commend them to you: Monday Choir practice, Tuesday Bible Study, Wednesday Morning Prayer, the Fellowship Group and the Book Group. I would also like to mention ‘DailyHope’, a free national telephone line which offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England. The number is 0800 804 8044.

Finally, in 1972 at a very dark time in the history of Ireland, one of our greatest poets Seamus Heaney gave an interview in which he said, ‘If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.’

It’s a line which has been much in my thoughts lately and seems particularly appropriate in these difficult days. I share it with you as a reminder that however long winter might feel, brighter days are ahead. There is a light which no darkness can quench. The summer will come.

God bless,

Darren.