March 17th 2020

Dear Friends,
As of this afternoon the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have suspended public worship in our churches. This means we have to find new and creative ways of being church together and for the foreseeable future this will mean we continue to send out a weekly Point to Ponder relating to our seasonal readings. Hopefully, at some time in the week, we can all, in our own homes, ponder the thought and maybe ring one another up and chat about it as we enquire also after one another’s well-being. We might be required to adopt ‘social distancing’, but what this really means is, that for a while, circumstances require us to be physically separated. Let’s remember we are a united parish, and ‘nothing will separate us from the love of God.’

As the incumbent of the parish I will still be celebrating Holy Communion within church once a week, as the Archbishops suggest that we do, and in this way, although we cannot physically be together in worship for a while, hopefully you will feel assured that we are together in spirit. As ever, specific prayer requests can be forwarded to me and I commit to ensuring that all requests are incorporated in the worship. So often we have all repeated the refrain, ‘Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.’ It remains my firm belief that even when prayer is not answered as swiftly as we might like, God is indeed faithful and listens.

In practical terms of lovingly supporting one another and our communities I am working with others, firstly here in Bassingham, to ensure that everyone knows of our desire to do whatever we can to help at this time. If anyone you know needs our help in terms of posting mail, fetching shopping, being taken to hospital appointments, or simply receiving a friendly phone call on a regular basis, then please let me know. We have an increasing number of volunteers who are prepared to help. It is the plan to ensure we support all of our parish and support those already getting support groups underway elsewhere. How we support the most vulnerable in our community is a real measure of us as society. I genuinely thank God that in my years as Rector I have seen so many examples of excellent community support and have every confidence that this will only increase. What will change for some is the need to ask for help when the norm is to be the one to offer help. At some time over the next weeks and months we are all going to need help one way or another, so let’s learn early on the lesson of asking with gratitude and humility.

With love and prayers for you all and those whom you love.