A message from the rector
Today we reopen St Peter’s Church at 10am to celebrate a Eucharist of thanksgiving for St Peter. We transferred this from 28th June (the usual date) so that this could be our prayerful focus on this first Sunday when public worship opens-up our churches again throughout the UK. I am delighted to welcome Canon Sue Wallace, recently Canon Precentor of Winchester Cathedral, as our guest preacher in church.
Yesterday I shared a Eucharist for St Peter on YouTube so that everyone might drink more deeply from this well of devotion, and, particularly, for those who are shielding and vulnerable, and have already been deprived of the sacraments for three and a half months. It is good to be able to sit quietly with God at home and make our spiritual communion.
Today, as well as the church service, I am delighted to welcome you to our regular video service. It can be accessed on YouTube by way of this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLtNnJTn2D8
These services will continue – for they clearly meet a need.
During this coming week I shall preside at the Eucharist at 10am on Wednesday at St Stephen’s Church, for the first time since we went into lockdown. I hope that we shall be in a position to recommence 10.45 am Sunday Solemn Masses next Sunday, 12th July. As with St Peter’s, if there is renewed lockdown, a second spike of the virus, or local difficulties (many of the retired priests who help us are aged over 70 and/or shielding), then we shall pause these Sunday services – if necessary, at short notice, as we had to do in March. Be patient with us in all this, please. We are all ‘sailing in uncharted waters’ as we make our way through this pandemic. But I shall provide you with the sacraments as often as I can, and I see it as a high priority to keep our church buildings open for prayer as much as possible.
Graham Turner wrote this prayer, which you might find helpful:
Lord of Life,
today we are a fearful and anxious people.
As the viral illness intrudes deeper into our lives
we feel its threat and the menace of its violence.
We are prone to panic, causing us to think the worst
and hoard resources that we do not need,
thus depriving others of vital supplies.
The daily breaking news makes us feel naked
in the face of this unstoppable sickness
that migrates across the globe.
In these difficult days, give us a viral love
that will infuse into others’ lives.
Heal the sick and use us as agents of hope.
Protect the vulnerable and strengthen us to take care of others.
Pour your abundant wisdom into our leaders and give us concern for their well-being.
For the sake of all humanity we pray.
Similarly, Jan Berry has written this prayer:
Even as we struggle with re-opening after lockdown, bristling with risk assessments and facemasks, and taking care not to light church candles after we have just sanitised our hands – ! – we are shocked by the awareness of how much of our predicted income we have lost through not being allowed to hold public worship.
If you can make up the ‘back log’ of what you would normally have given whilst churches have been closed that will ease our worries, please. It has been the case for some years that if everyone who worships in the Church of England simply gave an extra £5 each week (Gift Aided) then we would be ‘home and dry’ in terms of much of our financial planning. Forgive me even mentioning this, at a time when lives are being lost on a global scale, and everyone’s finances have suffered – yes, mine too. In all responsibility, you might need to reduce your giving – but if you can afford ‘the cost of a cappuccino’ per week, it will make a big difference. Please, think and pray about it.
Do let me know if I can help you in any way. Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the best way to contact me.
Keep safe and well.