If during this time you are worried that something bad is happening to someone you know, such as a neighbour, a local child or a friend, please remember you can ring our Safeguarding Officer, Joan Link, who will take action if this is necessary. Joan’s number is 01629 593993. You can leave a message if she is out in the garden or walking.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest
How many of us are feeling a bit like the psalmist right now? Be honest, how many of us are wondering where God is in all this, whilst we are in this predicament. But I have been asking myself, is God becoming more distant from us or are we distancing ourselves from God. When Jesus walked the earth, God as man, His friends could speak to Him face to face, eat and drink with Him, even embrace Him if they wanted, when they need to feel His presence there to support them. Christ was fully human during His time on earth and suffered human emotions. He too felt abandoned by God, which is why he recited the words from Psalm 22 whilst on the cross. He felt fear and desolation, but towards the end of Psalm 22 in verse 24 the psalmist tells us how God
[For] he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
God listened to Jesus on the cross and listens still, when we cry out in despair.
Although we can’t embrace the Lord, there are times I’m sure when we have all felt His loving arms around us. We can speak to the Lord, He is always there to listen.
Like Jesus rose again, we will come out of the other side of this time of darkness reborn and eat again at His table.
Fr Mark will upload videos of Morning and Evening Prayer as well as Eucharists held in private on our behalf. In this video he invites you to join him in prayer from the safety of your own home. You can see the videos on Facebook or subscribe to the youtube channel (See below)
The YouTube Channel can be found by clicking here.
Some resources are currently available and new content will be published in the days and weeks ahead for all to use at this time.
A range of Christian resources is already available:
- #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation – the Church of England’s Lent campaign for 2020. With weekly themes shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. This daily audio content is available via the app and daily emails. Sign up for free.
- The BBC’s Daily Service and Sunday Worship – radio programmes will be using some of the themes from #LiveLent as part of their broadcasts.
- Prayer for the day – each day the Church of England publishes audio and text of the Prayer for the Day.
- Smart speakers – daily prayer and #LiveLent audio content can be accessed via our smart speaker apps.
- Live streaming services – users can watch live streams of services from a range of churches and we will be improving AChurchNearYou.com in the days ahead to make this clearer.
Read a blog which outlines how a church can inexpensively stream a sermon, service, event or thought for the day.
What will be developed in the weeks ahead?
In the days and weeks ahead we will be significantly expanding our output:
- Simple daytime prayer and night prayer service – building on the existing daily prayer feed, we will record audio to accompany daytime prayer and night prayer per day, which will be available via an updated app and accompanying podcasts.
- More video content – this will include video services and more content for Holy Week and Easter. In addition, we will make Holy Week audio content available.
- Using AChurchNearYou.com – signpost those churches that are live streaming services and events. Churches need to add the ‘Livestream’ tag to their services and events that will be broadcast. Remember to add into the description, how people can watch this. You can add a link to the platform you’re using to stream, such as your Facebook Page or YouTube Channel. Find out more about live streaming services and events.
- Mental health reflections – daily reflections to help people, especially at a time when they are feeling lonely, isolated or anxious.
- Increasing the number of webinars – to help churches stream sermons, events and make the most of social media. Sign up for free.
Alongside the use of audio, app, smart speakers and social media, one of the main principles we are working to is to make as much as possible available in simple downloadable and printable formats for those who can’t easily access the technology.
Prayer and liturgy
A new page has been created containing:
- Prayers and intercessions for personal or group use
- Special prayers for use if it isn’t possible to meet in church
- A simple form of prayer for the morning and evening, which can be downloaded, printed, and shared with those remaining at home or who are unable to access the Internet.
These resources are offered to help those who are struggling to find words at this difficult and stressful time, and to enable Christians to worship in solidarity with one another even if it is not possible to gather in church.
Archbishops call for Church of England to become radically different as public worship put on hold to help stem spread of coronavirus
In a joint letter, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice.
But they said that far from having to “shut up shop”, the Church of England must face the challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.
It comes after the Government announced unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of the virus, with restrictions on public gatherings, transport and working.
The Archbishops expressed the desire that church buildings may, where practical, remain open as places of prayer for the community, observing social distancing recommendations.
They also invited clergy to maintain the ancient pattern of daily prayer and, where possible, the eucharist – live streaming their worship if they have the resources to do so.
And they urged congregations to be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable during the crisis.
“Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead,” they wrote.
“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 with 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.
“Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it. Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open. There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable and do continue to play your part in those.
“Then by our service, and by our love, Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that can counter fear and isolation – will spread across our land.”
They added: “This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly are a church for all, or just the church for ourselves.
“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”
The archbishops have joined other church leaders in calling for a day of prayer and action this Sunday (Mothering Sunday) particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services.
Further information on what the suspension of public worship will mean will be available as soon as possible on the Church of England website. This page will be regularly updated.
The Church will be providing a range of resources to enable people to continue to walk with God at this difficult time. This includes #LiveLent daily reflections, prayer for the day audio and text and Alexa and Google Home smart speaker apps.
In the days and weeks ahead, the Church will be significantly expanding this output with audio of a simple daytime prayer and night prayer service, more video content and some live-streaming, new mental health reflections to support people, and webinars to help churches stream sermons, events and make the most of social media. Read more here. The aim will be to make as much as possible available in simple downloadable and printable formats for those who can’t easily access the technology.
Notes to editors
- In normal circumstances, individual incumbents and parochial church councils would apply under Canon B 14A to bishops for dispensation from holding the public services required by the Canons of the Church of England. However, on the basis of legal advice, and in the light of the Government’s advice on preventing the spread of infection, we consider that the canon law doctrine of necessity can be relied on and that the public services required by the Canons need not – and should not – take place until further notice.
- This advice covers the public services which the Canons normally require to be held every Sunday and on principal feasts and holy days (Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayer) as well as the weekday Daily Offices.
- Read the full letter here.
‘I have lived with the conviction that unearned suffering is redemptive. There are some who still find the cross a stumbling block, others consider it foolishness. But I am more convinced than ever that it is the power of God to social and individual salvation.’
Martin Luther King