Church Services Suspended
Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Coronavirus represents the single most significant challenge for our world, our country and our community have seen for many years. The role of our churches must be to provide a sense of comfort, support, and above all hope in what are very bleak times. We cannot expect to explain the reality and risks away with banal, empty, meaningless turns of phrase. We have to be open and honest that it can be hard to square such experiences with faith.
But at the heart of Christianity is an enduring tale of suffering overcome by hope, darkness overwhelmed by the light, death transformed by resurrection. We will face many difficulties in the coming weeks but we will move through this. We as a church need to demonstrate our values of faith, hope, and love to all who surround us.
The Church of England has this afternoon taken the difficult but necessary decision to suspend all public worship across its churches. Further information can be found by clicking here. A letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is attached to this post. We in Cheam Parish fully support this decision and it has been implemented in our three churches with immediate effect.
Although we are unable to offer public worship, we are looking to make sure that we can continue the life of our worshipping community, keep our churches as centres of prayer, and ensure that the message of comfort and hope we have to offer to Cheam continues to be communicated in these challenging weeks. We are looking at the following options:
Times when our churches can be opened for personal prayer, allowing for proper hygiene and social distancing.
The printing and distribution of 'Prayer at Home booklets.
The publishing of resources on our website.
The recording and streaming of worship and other events on our new TouTube channel - click here.
Ensuring that prayer continues in our churches, even if public worship is not possible.
Please keep an eye on our website and Twitter (@cheamparish) for updates.
A prayer for our current situation:
God of healing and hope,
in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear.
Look with mercy on those who have contracted the new virus,
on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger. Through this time of global concern, by your Holy Spirit bring out the best not the worst in us.
Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other, and of the strength that comes from being one body in you.
Through Christ our wounded healer. Amen.
The Rev’ d Dr Sam Wells Vicar of St Martin’s in the Field