Covid-19: Thoughts for today

Published by Giles Goddard on Tue, 17 Mar 2020 07:59
Vicar's Blog

Today's email to St John's Congregation:   17th March 2020 

Dear all

First can I say that this comes with huge amounts of love, care, prayer and thought for you all. Even last week seems impossibly far away now, and it is hard to know how to respond or what to say in this situation. But I am praying constantly and holding everyone in my heart. 

Second, I want to affirm that St John's is here for you however we can be. Most of the staff team here will be working from home but I will open the church at 10 a.m and close it at 6 every day, and will be in and around church or the Vicarage for most of each day. There will be morning prayer at 8.30 as usual, Mondays to Saturdays (but not Fridays as I will still be having a day off) and there will also be a service at 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you can't join us in person, please pray with us. Tomorrow I will circulate the prayer calendar so that you have it at home. 

But Vespers and the Lent Group this evening will be cancelled.  

If you are out for a walk or to get food or something, and want to pop in to pray or touch base, please do so. And I am available on the phone on 07762 373674. Lisa and I are also available on email.

To confirm: Vespers and the Lent Group this evening will be cancelled.  

Third, let's try and make St John's a virtual community while this situation continues. I will send an email every morning. It would be great if this could be a community email! So if you have anything you would like to share or would like to go in the email do please send it to me! I would also like to set up a St John's WhatsApp group so we can all stay in touch. Let me know if you would like to be on that. And our Facebook page  is rather sleepy. Can you help bring it to life? 

On Sunday there will be a service at 9 a.m. and a service at 10.30.  I am reviewing whether we could do something simple which could be livestreamed. 

Fourth, I am in touch with some of our older parishioners by phone. If you are aware of anyone who has any particular need of support, do please either offer your own services or let me or Lisa know. We hope to set up a cascade of support for people in need. 

Finally, for today, I offer these verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 43: 

But now, thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Do not fear, for I am with you.

This is the cruellest kind of crisis because the thing which gives us life - sharing and supporting one another - is the thing which is hardest. My heart goes out especially to those who are far away - Andy Humphreys in South Africa - and those are separated from loved ones. 

It will pass, and in the meantime we have lots of ways to stay in touch. Please share your ideas about what we can do to make the best of all this.

with my love, and prayer, 



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