The extending of lockdown to include Easter is clearly a heavy blow, requiring us to forego worship in church through Holy Week and Easter for a second year. There is no responsible alternative, and so, under Canon B14A, I have advised parishes to suspend public worship on Palm Sunday, through Holy Week, and on Easter Day. It seems likely that Sunday 11 April will also be affected, so I have given the same guidance for that date also, pending any further direction.
My intention is that I (or Fr Michael) will offer worship or devotion every day in Holy Week and on Easter Day, live-streamed either from the Cathedral or from St George’s, Douglas. I will notify closer to the time, via the diocesan website, which venue and channel is going to be used for each day. In the early days of Holy Week, it may be a simple address or reflection or homily; on the major days, it will be something more. That gives me (or my new chaplain) the opportunity to share something with you every day, an opportunity which I value immensely.
The planned Day of Prayer and Preparation on 27 March necessarily now has a change of emphasis. I have already notified revised timings – 2.00 – 4.30 pm on Zoom – and have given an outline of some of the content. If you would like to attend, please notify your parish priest or Local Minister, and a Zoom link will be forthcoming. Clearly, we cannot do everything that we would originally have wished, and I know that yet another afternoon on Zoom is not attractive to everyone. There is no compulsion or even expectation. But perhaps I can put it like this: I really want to have time for you, to have time for you and with you at a moment of challenge and on the cusp of Holy Week. So I offer you that time on Saturday afternoon, and it is for you to decide whether you would like to take up that offer. I will be there, with anyone who wishes to join me.
We will come through this. God will bring us through this. God, who created life and overcame death, will re-create and overcome all things. All He asks of us is that we remain faithful.
God bless, in Christ.