Due to the latest statement from the Archbishops there will be no worship at church at this time we will be livestreaming services where we can.
more information about the official letter can be found here
Each Day this week we will be putting up a thought for the day from one of the ministry team:
Saturday 4 April
We are now at the end of our second week in social isolation and for a pair of raging extroverts, Rolo and I are finding it hard. As we go out for our daily exercise, I make every effort to avoid others (as instructed) but he finds this very difficult and will cross the road to commiserate with a canine friend. But, in the midst of all this, I reflected today on the reality of our situation. I can phone friends, send them quips and jokes and receive them. The internet is proving to be a boon for many because we are using it in the way it was intended, sharing, giving and receiving and keeping in touch with those from whom we are separated.
It’s the giving and receiving that’s the most important. The Pharisees were quick to condemn Jesus because he “ate with sinners”. But that was the whole point, the “so called” sinners gave Jesus hospitality, a warm welcome and took pleasure in his company and Jesus received it. In return he gave them respect and accepted them as the people they were, and he cared for every one of them. At the moment we can’t eat together but we can continue to give and receive from each other through our phone calls, chats and smiles across the road, and above all our prayers.
Friday 3 April
Staying fit. This has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks as we have all adjusted to the new way of living. One of the benefits I have found from living outside of the parish has been the journey to and from the churches each day. These have not only helped to keep me physically fit, as I have walked or cycled to church, but they have also helped to keep me mentally and spiritually fit as well. I use these journeys to listen to podcasts, worship music or just to reflect in silence. Now, like everyone else my rhythm of life has changed and I find myself having to work out new ways of staying fit in this crazy new world. My new keep fit rhythm is evolving - Physically I have been doing PE with Joe on Youtube each week day with the kids at home, mentally and spiritually I am finding times in the day to pray, to meditate and to read. It is important for all of us to find a rhythm that works for us in this new season of life for however long it lasts. If you are reading this then hopefully these short reflections are a part of your new rhythm. I encourage you all to find what works for you physically, mentally and spiritually, so that we can stay strong in these hard times.
Thursday 2 April
I have a soft spot for Samuel Pepys (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Pepys) because I feel an affinity with him. Partly because his diary (https://www.pepysdiary.com/) gives such an interesting insight into life in London during the 1660s - and I was born and raised for eight years in the City of London; partly because I was lucky to spend a couple of years at Magdalene College Cambridge (https://www.magd.cam.ac.uk/) and had the chance one evening to look at the original diaries, which are housed in the college with all the books that Pepys collected; and partly because Pepys himself was such a warts and all person. For example, he regularly complained about preachers giving ‘most sorry’ sermons, and noted that he slept during several of them. In August 1667, he even used the sermon during one Evensong to try to pick up a young lady (despite being married…) and only gave up when he saw her taking out pins from her pocket to stab him if he tried again. I am sure this never happens at St Martin’s or St Paul’s!
Pepys’s diary for 1665 is very topical currently, as that year London suffered from the Great Plague (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plague_of_London). He mentions houses being boarded up, “a red cross on their doors and ‘Lord have mercy upon us’ writ there”. Even then, people were self-isolating, and fleeing infection if they could, and trying all sorts of remedies. We today are much luckier. Although we do not have a cure, we are better informed about the spread of the Covid-19 and the likely symptoms, and that is a comfort. Dedicated staff are busy in hospitals and surgeries to help the sick. People are still working in shops supplying our food and other necessities. We should be very grateful to all of them for their courage and service. And although we may not be able to meet face to face, we can still socialise using telephones and computers.
One thing which has not changed over the centuries is God’s promise to us, seen in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God does not promise that life will be trouble free, nor that it will be easy. He has not abolished the death of the body. But He does offer life beyond death, and life more abundantly (John 10: 10).
These days of enforced self-isolating give us a chance to reflect in stillness on the mystery of God’s love for us and how best we should respond to that love. Whether it is turning to the Psalms (with all their anguish being triumphed eventually by God’s power and love), or reading one or more gospels, or reflecting on one of the epistles, this is a splendid chance to “Be still, and know that I am God!”(Psalm 46: 10). Seize the day: let us pray…
Wednesday 1 April
How often do we say “Don’t worry!” But does it work? Worry is a very wearying emotion and uses a lot of nervous energy that could be put to better use, such as finding a solution to the problem. Worry alone doesn’t achieve anything.
We are all worried at the moment about the situation in the world, about our health and the health of those around us.
Jesus had some significant comments to make about worry, which he condemns as a futile activity. Surprisingly he does say “Do not worry.” (Matthew 6:25) BUT he doesn’t leave it there. “Don’t worry,” says Jesus. “Invite God into the situation that disturbs you and ask him to deal with it.”
Of course we can’t just say that and then get on with life as it was. Everything has changed and we need to adapt and play our part in keeping ourselves and everyone else safe. But we can invite God into the situation. There is little we can do, but God can and will. We can ask him to give us strength and comfort and a quiet mind at this most difficult time. Then trust in the loving God whom we worship.
Tuesday 31 March
Perversely, just as stay at home kicked in, my internet connection started failing. Initial panic, I don’t do internet on my mobile! This made me think about connectivity! How do we normally connect, how much we take it for granted? Speech, words, eyes, gestures, text, all are problematic and dependent in our present situation on technology for those who live alone and for those self-isolating at home. The Christian community connects in that intensely moving moment when bread and wine are shared and this is impossible at the moment.
So perhaps we have to look for a deeper connection to sustain us as those who take the responsibility are working to combat this disease. There must be something in the Christian narrative to ‘speak’ in this situation I thought. Into my head came the words of the Father speaking to the resentful son in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15. ‘You are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’ The story ends in hope and with a party. We must wait for the party, but for now, back to the books. Alan Bennett sounds the thing, ‘Keeping On Keeping On’.
Monday 30 March:
What is a church? It has been a question that been on my mind over this last week. As the guidance from the Church of England has evolved as we have sought to cope with the coronavirus, so our perceptions of church have been forced to change.
Once public worship was suspended, the church building was still there for private prayer and for live streaming but clergy are subject to the same conditions as their congregations, the same separation.
I love our two church buildings, their history and their witness. I’ve felt the bereavement of the last week no longer being able to prayer in them as I had planned as new realities of the current situation emerge. I’ve discovered that my study is a good place to be and I’ve learned how to live stream.
Yet as I live stream from home, I know others are watching-more than our normal congregation engaging with the daily office. As I stay at home, I ring people up and talk to them, sharing thoughts and concerns – I often find their lines are engaged and people are talking to each other.
One day we’ll be back in our buildings and back together as congregations but until then I rejoice in our online services(I never thought I would say that) and our care for each other- knowing that is where church is for now. When we return may we never take things for granted again and may this experience draw us closer to each other and to God.
Monday - Friday live streaming daily: Morning Prayer at 9.15 and Evening Prayer at 16.00
Night prayer at 8pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Sunday live streaming: 10.30 service (non eucharist)
the live streaming can be found here:
you do not have to have a facebook account to watch.
The newsletter for this week, including the reading for Sunday can be found here
If you are looking for resources to help you pray during this time have a look at the church of England resources here
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(taken from the Church of England Website)
Following Government and Church guidance, Fisher Folk, Cheeky Monkeys and all other church events are suspended until further notice.