Many thanks for the responses and offers of help following yesterday's email. I have set up the St John's WhatsApp group - it has about 20 people in it now, and if you'd like to join do let me know. Several people have offered to be on the end of the phone if anyone who is at home would like a chat. Several people have offered to help with shopping if anyone needs anything. Many people have offered prayer support. And many of you simply appreciated the contact.
If you are aware of anyone who has any needs, or if you yourself would like anything - a chat, some shopping, some prayer, anything - do please get in touch with me or Lisa and we will respond quickly either ourselves or by asking someone who might be able to help.
These completely unprecedented times demand unprecedented responses, and I am very thankful for the sense of love and mutual support which is so palpable. Mike Mullins suggested doing the Lent Group by Zoom last night - about 10 of us joined, each in our living room or bedroom, and it worked very well. I am hoping to repeat that for next week's Lent Group. Further details will follow.
As you may have heard, public worship is no longer permitted. So we will create a livestream for Sunday's service. Not sure what the best way to do that is, yet - it will probably be FacebookLive or Zoom.
But clergy are permitted to pray in church, and so Morning Prayer will continue at 8.30 in church every day except Friday. And the church will continue to be open from 10 till 6. You are welcome, if you are out and about, to pop in.
For me, and I suspect for many of us, the worst part is the not knowing - not knowing how long this will go on, not knowing if the virus is being incubated, not knowing what will happen tomorrow...
I think that is when prayer helps: for it puts our lives in the context of the eternal, and reminds me that we are being held in the hand of God. I am reminded of Mother Julian's vision of God holding the universe in the palm of God's hand, no bigger than a hazelnut.
Many of you have made suggestions for this daily email too - poems and pictures, ideas. Keep'em coming! Today, I offer you Psalm 23, which says it all, really:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff- they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
With my love, and prayers for you all