The Parish Church of St John the Evangelist
Lacey Green, Loosley Row, and Speen
SUSPENSION OF CHURCH SERVICES
from 18th March 2020
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a statement yesterday concerning suspension of Church Services and midweek gatherings until further notice. This statement specifically excludes Marriage Services and Funeral Services from the suspension.
This does therefore mean that our existing Sunday and mid-week Services at St. John’s must be cancelled for the period of the suspension.
In their statement the Archbishops invite us all to join with them in making this coming Mothering Sunday (22nd March) a day of prayer and action, remembering especially those who are sick and anxious, and all those who are involved in our Heath Service. As one action, they call on everyone to place a lighted candle in their window at 7.00pm as a “sign of light and hope in the light of Christ which can never be extinguished”.
The Archbishops emphasise that, although our usual pattern of Sunday Services and mid-week gatherings must be put on hold, this does not mean that the Church of England has shut up shop. Specifically, the Archbishops say that we must look at new ways of serving everyone and they firmly encourage the following:
- All clergy to continue their pattern of daily prayer and, for those parishes which have a practice of a daily Eucharist to continue to do so if it is possible to do so strictly within the protocols of hygiene, self-isolation where need be, and social distancing.
- For Churches who have the resources to do so to consider live streaming to enable people to participate in the life of worship in their own home. Also, both nationally and in our Dioceses, the Church will produce resources for personal prayer and worship for use in the home.
- Together with our brothers and sisters of other Christian churches, for us to be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable, and to offer our services to all those who are beginning to think through how best to provide for those in need.
The Archbishops say that being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. At least for the time being, 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. We may not be able to pray for people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support.
At St. John’s we will be looking in the coming days at possible ways of enabling the Church to be open at specific times for opportunities for prayer within the appropriate protocols of hygiene, self-isolation where need be, and social distancing; to maintain appropriate levels with members of our Church family and the wider community; and also to play our part in supporting community care in whatever ways we can.
Canon Tony Bundock
Vicar of St. John’s