It’s wonderful that the Government has permitted churches to be open for private prayer and the lighting of candles from Monday 15th June.
St Mary’s will be open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-5.30pm
St Mary’s will be open on Saturday and Sunday 10am-4.30pm
The Good Shepherd will be open on Sunday 10am – 4pm
Do not come to Church if you are self-isolating or shielding in line with Government advice. Hand sanitiser will be available in our churches during this time. Please sanitise your hands when you arrive and leave the churches. Avoid touching things – including door handles – whether you’re wearing gloves or not. Please keep six feet apart from other people and locate yourself somewhere which enables others to do the same. If you are willing to volunteer help clean the church whenever you have time, let me know.
Reasons to come
Many of us will be desperate to get in to Church to pray privately. Others will be unsure as to whether there is a real need. I would encourage you all to come if you’re not self-isolating for three reasons: (1) we need to start getting back to doing what is truly important in life as soon as it is safe (2) in the tabernacle we have the Lord’s Body, His Presence, given for the Church that He might be with us always. This is one reason worship in Church takes us closer to Christ than worship at home. (3) There’s a dangerous individualism that tempts us to thinking we can simply find God in ourselves and this ends up meaning we turn ourselves into gods, a dangerous road.
Keep your eyes peeled
Some changes have been made to our churches. The six main statues in St Mary’s have been placed on wall mounts, which in time will be covered in fabric (St Martin de Porres is in a new location). The Requiem Altar in St Mary’s, near the War Memorial, is also now dressed properly with a black frontal and proper cover. The external vestry has been repainted, as have the backs of the two outdoor noticeboards. The St Mary’s choir will sit in greater comfort in the newly cleared area in the same location as before. At the Good Shepherd, the external doors have been painted and finished off and we’re undertaking some restoration of the wooden floors. The altar has been moved to a different position so as to create some much needed space.
Our churches need to be once again places of invitation, so do let others know of the times we’re open for prayer so they can come along too.
You may read in the press that funerals are now permitted in Church. This is true but, bizarrely, the Mass cannot be celebrated and given the restrictions still in place I do not think it is a viable option yet.
I’ve missed you all and look forward to worshipping with you again soon when that is permitted.