(Updated 28th March)
We are living in very different times at the moment, and my prayers and thoughts are with you as we, together, find our lives suddenly contracted and restricted with self-isolation and social distancing. But the key word here is 'together'- our church services may have been suspended, but that doesn't mean that 'being church' in our two Benefices changes. After all, church in its very essence is the people of God, and not the building, however beautiful and ancient it is.
So many spiritual support networks have been set up- a lot of them for those with access to a computer, but also 'phone ministries' are being set up by friends and neighbours, amongst other initiatives. Also, we can still pray and worship and offer help to those around us who are vulnerable. We can be the presence of Christ in our own homes and communities, and be a praying presence wherever we are. Our own Archbishops have said: 'Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day'.
Do you remember those words from Romans 8? 'For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord'.
Revd. Gary Noyes