Message from Revd Justine
Things are beginning to fall into place regarding the singularly unprecedented event that is Covid-19.
As such, we at St Michael’s (like all other places of worship) have had to face some tough decisions. As you know, all formal worship in churches and other places of worship ceased as of Tuesday 17th March.
For further information regarding occasional offices (Weddings and Baptism - call the church office on 01823 332371). Funerals will take place under strict guidelines as outlined by your funeral director.
As ‘Self-Isolation’ is in place for many in our community, ‘Social Distancing’ is to take place between all others. It is clear that our foreseeable future looks markedly different to our recent past. In this time, we are to take heart that our God is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and our ministry as a church is as it ever was. To pray for all souls in our parish, to reach out (even by phone) to those in most need and to gather in worship, even from afar.
Our pastoral team and others are busy contacting and connecting each of you and others within our church community, electronically and by way of a post box and rubber gloves. We want to encourage one another with love and welcome, even when we feel apart.
We shall be joining together in Morning Prayer each day at 9.30am using the link below:
And Evening Prayer at 6.30pm using the following prayers:
More simple resources and a lectionary (bible readings) will be hand delivered to all those without email on Sunday.
Ann Goddard, Sue Dunn and myself will produce reflections on Sunday services for all to read or maybe in the future listen to or watch. These will be found here on Sunday mornings.
I shall continue to say a simple service on Sunday mornings at 10.00am in church.
St Michael’s will remain open for private prayer during the time the Church Office is open.
Cleaning and hand washing remain a priority and we shall commit ourselves to cleaning all doors and surfaces on a daily basis.
We provide directions to hand-washing facilities on entry to the building.
Please click here to see guidance on hand-washing technique.
These are strange times indeed, but our God knows and loves us and Easter is coming.
God bless you at this time.
A reflection for this time
(A similar but age-appropriate message was delivered on Friday 20th March in all classes at Bishop Henderson School, with chocolate).
Where our future lies.
This morning, I was struck by the reading set for the day. We are in the middle of Lent (the build up to Easter) and yet the reading was of Mary, Joseph and the toddler Jesus packing up their home and fleeing to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod, on the advice of The Wise Men.
I was struck by the fact that wilderness for Jesus was not a new thing, a 40 days only thing. It was something that had featured in his life, different times of isolation and separation from his wider family and friends and community.
I guess that it helped me to know that if God is truly God and yet truly human, then the human aspect knows what it means to self-isolate, to be socially distant. By choice and by virtue of someone else’s decision.
The thing is, that for Jesus, the purpose of his ‘Self-Isolation’ in the wilderness, was change, an end of one thing and a beginning of another.
As a young boy his ‘Social Distancing’ was about his safety and securing the hope of a future for all.
We are all in a position of lockdown in this nation and globally, for many to secure a future for all.
We already are beginning to see change, in our regard for one another and for our world. We are aware of what we are using, what we are wasting, what we need. We are conscious of our neighbour, of our community and of our local services, simply because what we know is being pared down. So many people have said that they feel more connected than ever, even when they are not seeing one another.
Our phones are being used... for phone calls!
Our kitchens for baking,
Our beings for helping each other,
And our churches are being used for prayer.
When things resume and all is back to ‘Normal’, may we remember all this change because it could well be where our future lies.
May God be with you and all whom you love.