My dear friends
When I sat down at the beginning of 2020 I was looking forward to the plans we would make together and all we would do and share. I’d certainly not anticipated all that we are facing now.
In the light of recent announcements from the Government and The Archbishops of Canterbury and York I am writing to let you know that we will be exploring ways of doing church differently. Due to the restrictions on gathering together, we will not be able to meet as usual so meetings and normal services are suspended.
But the work of God goes on – although in a different way. St James’ will be open everyday from 11am to 1pm and everyone is welcome to come and pray, leave requests for us to pray for someone, light a candle or reflect in quiet. You can also leave donations for the Food Bank, which is likely to see a marked increase in demand. During the week Fr Hugo and I will say Morning Prayer at 9am and Evening Prayer at 5.30pm as usual, so, if you hear the church bell ringing you know that we will, as usual, be praying for you.
Although we cannot hold a public service, I will celebrate Mass on Sunday at 9.30am and on Monday at 9.30am, Tuesday at 6.30pm, Wednesday at 10am and Saturday at 9.30am and so you will know when we are able to say prayers for you and the parish. Please do contact either of us if there is anything or anyone you would like us to pray for.
Here is an Order of Service for Worshipping at Home (please click) which we encourage you to use, maybe at the same time as you know we will be celebrating the Mass on your behalf at St James’. We can then pray for you and with you. The Church of England website also contains some excellent resources for prayer. We will also be posting regularly on the St James’ Facebook page to show that the worshipping life at St James’ continues.
Each week we will email to you the week’s collect and readings, a pew sheet to keep in touch and other resources and reflections you might find helpful. We will also deliver our magazine to you at the beginning of the month. This will for now, be free.
This Sunday is Mothering Sunday and we are encouraged to join in a day of prayer to remember especially those who are sick or anxious and all involved in our Health Service. The Archbishops have asked us all to place a lighted candle in our windows at 7pm as a ‘sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.’ I hope you will join us in doing so.
Both of us will be in regular phone contact with you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do – and whether you know of anyone else who needs any kind of help. We might not be able to visit you, but we are always available.
These are difficult times. Our response must be to continue to play our own valuable parts in living, serving and praying as the Body of Christ.
From the Parish Priest