Parish Update For Lockdown #2
This morning, we all woke up into the reality Lockdown #2. This brings with it a multitude of further restrictions on our lives. Whilst this lockdown is not quite as extreme as the one we faced in March, the cooler weather and darkness, along with the cumulative effects of nearly eight months of the pandemic, bring with them a feeling of gloom. Having experienced some relative freedom over the summer and early autumn, the instruction for us to ‘stay at home’ once more is made considerably harder. Yet, we must all heed that instruction for the sake of the National Health Service and the most vulnerable in our society.
Under the terms of the lockdown, all places of worship are required to close for public worship. This means that we will be unable to join together in person for services until the restrictions are lifted. This will hopefully be on 2ndDecember, but this is not guaranteed. During the coming weeks, we will be offering worship online on the parish’s YouTube channel and publishing a booklet of simple prayers to be used at home. We will also be opening each of our churches once a week for private prayer. Please see the notices below for details of all that we are doing.
On the last Sunday of November, before the end of this period of lockdown, we will begin the season of Advent. This is a time when we prepare ourselves for our celebrations of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. This is a time that is characterised by themes of waiting, expecting, longing, and hoping. This is a time when we look forward to the birth of the one who changed everything, the one in whom God was truly present. In the opening paragraphs of John’s Gospel, often read at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the Evangelist writes of Jesus that, ‘what has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’ (John 1.3b-5).
Among all the darkness and gloom that seems to surround us, we need to focus on those expectant themes of Advent. We need to yearn for the inextinguishable light that Jesus brings us. If we find this light and keep it within us, then we too will not be overcome by the darkness. This light will help to guide us through whatever we are faced with in the coming weeks and will remind that these difficult times will come to an end.
If you want to be reminded of this light, a good thing to do is to keep a candle that you light (safely!) once a day. You might want to say the following prayer as you do so:
It is you who lights my lamp, my God who lights up my darkness.
Bring your light into the dark places in our lives and in our world.
Bring your hope into the hearts of those who feel down and defeated.
Bring your love and compassion to those who feel pain.
May I be guided to your light through your Son, Jesus Christ.
With love and prayers to you all,
The Reverend Dr Nicholas Peacock The Reverend Beth Lewis
Team Rector Team Vicar
Worship and Private Prayer
· Eucharist: Sundays at 9.30am (livestreamed on YouTube from St Dunstan’s)
· Midweek Prayer – a short, reflective service (pre-recorded and uploaded on YouTube each Wednesday)
· We will be preparing a booklet offering a service that can be used at home. If you would like a copy, please contact the office.
Our churches will be open for Private Prayer each Sunday as follows:
· St Dunstan’s – 10.30am-11.00am (with the exception of Remembrance Sunday)
· St Oswald’s – 10.00am-11.00am
· St Alban’s – 10.30am-11.00am
Other Worship Resources
We also recommend:
· The Church of England weekly worship, available online each Sunday here.
· Worship broadcast from Southwark Cathedral, details of which can be found here.
· The ‘Daily Hope’ phoneline (0800 804 8044), which has been set up specifically for those unable to join online services.
Remembrance Sunday – 8th November
An Act of Remembrance will be livestreamed on YouTube at 10.55am.
There will be no Act of Remembrance at the Cheam War Memorial. The previously planned in-person Acts of Remembrance at St Dunstan’s, St Alban’s, and St Oswald’s will not take place.
Our planned Family Service at St Dunstan’s at 11.15am on Sunday 15th November will now be held on Zoom – we will be in touch with further details next week.
We will offer Zoom coffee once again at 10.45am on Sunday mornings, with the exception of Remembrance Sunday. We will circulate for Sunday 15th November details next week.
Archbishops’ Call To Prayer
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have suggested that this lockdown should become a month of prayer for the nations. They are asking all Christians to pray each day for a specific group of people, ideally at 6pm. The suggested groups are:
· Sunday – family, friends, and loved ones.
· Monday – schools and colleges, children, and young people.
· Tuesday – the elderly, those who are isolated and the vulnerable.
· Wednesday – businesses, workplaces, and economic wellbeing.
· Thursday – the NHS and other key workers.
· Friday – all who are grieving, those suffering with physical and mental health.
If you would like us to pray for someone or something, please email the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Louise will compile a weekly prayer list to be used at our services.
For reasons of privacy, we will use first names only and the person for whom you are asking us to pray should be happy for you to do this.