Coronavirus - Updates

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you”.

1 Peter 5: 7

As you will know by now the Archbishops of Canterbury & York along with their fellow Bishops have decided that, as well as public worship being suspended, all church buildings in the Church of England will be closed until further notice. This has been a very difficult decision for them but a necessary one in the current health climate. We, of course, in both our churches will comply with this directive.

I am writing to you to let you know that you are very much in my prayers at this time. Our faith in God is has not changed & though our churches may be closed the life of God’s kingdom cannot be stopped. As the Bishop of Manchester said in his letter, “Over the coming weeks, the Church of England will be very much “open for business” but it will not be “business as usual”. We will pray, and we will serve our communities, loving God and our neighbour...” This will mean that we will need to look at new ways over the coming weeks & possibly months as to how we serve our communities, which have within them some of the most vulnerable to this virus. I want you to know that if I can help in anyway please don’t hesitate to contact me on my mobile number which you’ll find at the bottom of this letter. These are difficult times for everyone but please be assured that the church is there for you not only through prayer but in practical ways, like doing the shopping, or simply speaking on the phone, & by this we can make connections in so many different ways. Please continue to support the Mustard Tree Food Bank which will be needed more than ever in these times & perhaps you could put your weekly donation to one side each week to bring to church when things get back to some sense of normality.

We are quickly approaching Holy Week, the most important & significant week in the Church’s calendar. Palm Sunday is the 5th April & I will be celebrating Mass behind locked doors in one of our churches. Unfortunately I will have to be on my own, as I will be for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil & Easter Sunday. This is how it has to be in these difficult times but I would encourage you to pray at home when these services take place & in that way we are all joined together during this holy time. The service times are:

Palm Sunday        10.00am

Maundy Thursday    7.00pm

Good Friday        3.00pm

Easter Vigil        7.00pm

Easter Sunday    10.00am

I must stress that you are not being asked to come along as this is not allowed but simply pray at home or wherever you are during these times.

Our Diocesan Bishops have written, “In the coming weeks, matters will continue to change, perhaps in ways we cannot as yet predict. What remains unchanging is God’s unfailing love for us, shown in Jesus Christ, who himself went through the pains of suffering and death for our sake. As St Paul assures us, nothing can separate us from that love. Love God, love one another.” 

Thank you as ever for the privilege of serving you & may God bless you in what are very strange days.

Yours in Christ,

Father Ian Hall SSC

Parish Priest