Letter to Parishioners

19 March 2020
Dear Parishioner,

Suspension of Public Worship

As you will probably be aware by now, the Church of England has taken the difficult decision to suspend all public worship. This means that there can be no public services at St Peter’s until the suspension is lifted.
This is very sad for all of us (especially as we are approaching Easter and the high point of our Church Year) so I wanted to tell you what the Churchwardens and I are planning to do.

1. Practical help: I know that many of you will already have been in contact with each other to offer help and support. Please let me know if any of you need practical help – shopping, prescription collection, child-minding etc, and I will do my very best to ensure that we find a way of supporting you.

2. The Church: St Peter’s will remain open and I am grateful to those on the Open Church rota who are assisting with this. For those who feel able to go out, the Church is a place to which you can come with minimal risk and where you can find peace and calm. I would encourage you to visit. We will be providing a candle stand so that those who wish to, can light votive candles. There will also be a Prayer Book on a table by the font, in which anyone who visits can leave a prayer request. I will offer up all prayer requests daily.

3. Pewsheet: We will continue to produce a version of the weekly Pewsheet which we will circulate by email, on our WhatsApp Group and by post. We will also print a few and leave them in the church. This will have the readings and prayers for the Sunday and a brief reflection from me.

4. The Eucharist: Although public worship is suspended, I am still permitted to celebrate the Eucharist if one other person is present. I will therefore be continuing to celebrate every Sunday if I can and, although the Sacrament cannot be distributed, it will be placed in the Lady Chapel afterwards, for the rest of the day, so that anyone who wishes to may come and pray before it.

5. Finally: I know this is a time of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone but, as Christians, we draw strength from the knowledge that our lives are in God’s hands and that He has promised us that He will accompany us on every step of our journey.
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.
With every blessing
The Revd Rachel Hawes (Associate Rector)

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