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Closure of Church Buildings - from the Rector

The Rectory, Monday 23rd March 2020

To all parishioners,

Re: Closure Of All Church Buildings

Yesterday evening, clergy in Southwark Diocese were informed that all church buildings are to close fully with immediate effect to help curb the advance of Covid-19. This means that our churches must no longer be used either for private prayer or for worship behind closed doors.

This is obviously extremely disappointing after the success of our live-streamed service for Mothering Sunday from St Dunstan’s, which I know many of you enjoyed. At one point, fifty people were watching the service live and we have had many more subsequent views. The closure of our buildings is, however, absolutely the right decision to have taken. Our church buildings must now remain closed until further notice.

We need to learn in our parish how to be a church not as a gathered community, but as a scattered community. We must find ways of continuing our life of prayer and worship physically apart, but spiritually together. Our identity is not defined by our buildings. It is defined by our common faith in Jesus and the life to which he calls us. With God’s support and our combined determination, we will continue to be church within the current restrictions.

I hope to be able to live-stream a Eucharist each Sunday morning at 9.30am from the Rectory. This can be found on our YouTube channel. Other videos will be uploaded too. We will be developing more resources for prayer on our website. Updates can be found on the latest news section and Twitter.

One immediate practical impact is that we have to move the work of the Parish Office to allow our administrator, Louise Page, to work remotely. She is currently able to receive emails but the office telephone line is effectively out of action for the time being as we cannot pick up messages. Please bear with us for the time being. We hope to resolve this by the end of this week.

In the meantime, I would like to reinforce the very clear message from the government:

With further assurance of my love and prayers at this traumatic time,

The Reverend Dr Nicholas Peacock

Team Rector, Cheam Team Ministry

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