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We live in unprecedented times.  We worship God who is sovereign, hears our prayers, is still loving and in control.  So we go on, wisely and sensibly and trusting in the Lord.  However, the latest government advice places more restrictions on social gathering and we heed their warnings to avoid non essential meetings, and for particular vulnerable groups to self-isolate.

I therefore took the step of cancelling PCC today and Open to God tomorrow.  I am happy for home groups to decide themselves whether to meet, considering them “private gatherings limited to a few known friends”, an activity permitted by the World Health Organisation, with caution.  Clearly if you or someone in your household has any of the symptoms, an underlying condition or is over 70 then you should be self isolating.

I await further instructions from the Bishop as to whether we should meet for Sunday services and I will keep you in touch.

It is important to ensure we offer pastoral support to each other, primarily by phone, and offer support to the wider community safely and sensibly.  We can do this by circulating the flyers distributed on Sunday, with our contact details to our neighbours (see attachment below).  We are having some postcards (available Wednesday) printed with the same information, but making it clear we represent the church to reassure neighbours we don’t know so well.  Please consider supporting your neighbours in this way; it will be such a good witness.

If you yourself are self isolating, then please let us know, so we can pray for you and support you in practical ways too.  Do this via your home group leader or if you are not in a group call one of the Pastoral Care Team (contact numbers on the attached leaflet).

Finally, if you don’t know how to pray in these uncertain times, here is a link to the Church of England website, with suitable well-crafted prayers.
https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
and from Pete Greig and the 24-7 prayer movement here:
https://www.24-7prayer.com/blog/2855/a-coronavirus-prayer

Keep safe, keep in touch and keep trusting in the Lord.

Rev Chris Youngman
Vicar