Brothers and Sisters,
The ‘Circuit-breaker’ period is with us, running from midnight on 06 January, the Epiphany, through to 27 January; a period of three weeks.
It is hard to have to suspend public worship again, this time hopefully just for the three Sundays of 10, 17 and 24 January, but as we do so it is worth bearing a couple of things in mind:
- We have been able to worship freely for the past six months, which has been a unique experience across the British Isles and Europe.
- We have been able to celebrate Christmas fully and joyfully and without restriction.
- The programme of vaccination has begun.
For all these reasons, the prospect of a second and shorter period of closure, whilst challenging, is less daunting than the first. We bring to it also the lessons learned first time around, particularly regarding online and streamed worship. But it will be most difficult for the people in our parishes and congregations who are particularly isolated, perhaps for reasons of health.
I have written to parishes to confirm that public worship will not take place on these next three Sundays. But I ask us all to look out particularly for the isolated friends and neighbours in our midst, living alone and possibly unable to get out even for exercise or shopping. We cannot visit them at home. But we can pray for them. We can telephone. We can possibly email. We can provide practical support in other ways. The value of these means of keeping in contact is huge, and it is central to our life as a Christian community. If we love one another, care for one another, and reach out to our neighbour, then we will be growing in grace and in stature as the Lord’s disciples.