A Message from Revd Tony Hand about Our Action in Lockdown 3
Dear Friends at St Laurence’s
Following the announcement of a 3rd Lockdown, I have been working with our Parochial Church Council, Sally McIntyre (churchwarden) and those who help to lead in our worship and make St Laurence’s available for both worship and private prayer in particular, to consider and agree our response.
The government has passed responsibility to churches locally to make the decisions of whether to open for public communal worship and private prayer. This has to be based on their capacity to do so being fully compliant with all the current laws and guidance, and taking account of the fact that during the Lockdown we are asked to stay at home; that the most vulnerable among us are advised to resume shielding; and that there is even greater need for caution in facing a variant of the virus that is more transmissible.
Worshipping together at St Laurence’s Church
I am aware of and thankful for the tremendous work that so many have contributed towards enabling St Laurence’s to be open for public communal worship and private prayer over the past several months. It is with regret that having completed our review of the arrangements that need to be in place to remain open for public communal worship, it has been agreed that we should now suspend this during the Lockdown. We will continue to keep this under review and if the situation changes and new requirements or recommendations are given to churches through the government or the church nationally and locally through the Diocese, we will respond accordingly.
While it may not be possible to offer this in the format that we have grown accustomed to, our worship online can continue. We will be offering a livestream of worship on a Sunday morning via Facebook at 10.30am. While not everyone has a Facebook account, the church’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/St-Laurences-Church-Scalby-744025242301736can can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. It is also possible to find our Sunday worship and other helpful resources later on our Vimeo page here – https://vimeo.com/user122948628 The Church of England is also continuing to offer a National Service for each Sunday that can be found here – https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/church-online/weekly-online-services and our Diocese is sharing news of churches more locally that are able to offer this too – https://dioceseofyork.org.uk/running-your-church/communications/online-church/list-of-livestreaming-churches/
Private prayer at St Laurence’s and occasional offices
Thanks to the care and readiness of those who help make this available we have agreed that remaining open for private prayer on a Tuesday and Thursday morning 10.00am – 12.00noon is still possible and will continue, subject to ongoing review. It is also possible for St Laurence’s to remain available for occasional offices – baptism, wedding and funerals, with each request being reviewed to ensure that all the latest rules and regulations can be complied with, to keep those leading these, opening up the church and attending, as safe as possible.
Supporting the vulnerable within our congregation and wider community.
Through the Covid-19 crisis we have learnt how to respond positively to requests for help along with identifying a number of partners – such as local businesses, who can work together to help and support those in need. Where people can safely do so we can be good neighbours and look to find those able to help where necessary. If you are aware of any particular need for help that we may be able to meet through St Laurence’s please contact myself, Sarah Readman, Sally McIntyre or Tracy Squire and we will aim to respond as helpfully as we can.
Keeping in touch with each other.
Being able to keep in contact with others is a source ofencouragement and a vital way of raising morale and affirming that there is hope even at this difficult time. We can help to maintain contact among ourselves by telephone, email and our Facebook page and website. Also, Lesley Newton has offered to continue with offering local news and access to resources to encourage prayer and worship at home by email and through Facebook during the Lockdown. We can all support this by offering contributions of our own stories and resources that are helpful and positive to share and inviting others to do the same. You can contact Lesley to ask to receive this news and information at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also possible at present to share printed resources with those who don’t have access to the internet or who prefer this form of news and communication. Those able to do this can do so provided the appropriate precautions are taken to reduce the risk of transmission through the printing and delivery of these.
This new year begins with us facing challenges that are now all too familiar, along with those that will be new and unexpected. The year that has passed has, however, prepared us to face what lies ahead as we live through another Lockdown in the coming weeks. Facing this with the faith, hope and especially so, the love for each other and our neighbour, that we find through knowing God in Jesus and discover as the Holy Spirit is at work in and among us, will be vital to help sustain us. Our prayer together will be at the heart of how we journey through this.
Of the many prayers for Lockdown that have helped me to pray, this has helped me today.
Ever present God, be with us in our isolation, be close to us in our distancing, be healing in our sickness, be joy in our sadness, be light in our darkness, be wisdom in our confusion, be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar, that when the doors reopen we may with the zeal of Pentecost inhabit our communities and speak of your goodness to an emerging world. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
(From The Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark
Thank you again for all that you do to support our ministry, mission and worship at St Laurence’s. It is a joy and privilege to be able to share this with you.
In Jesus’ name.
Something new to try. After our streamed worship on Sunday we are offering the opportunity to meet up via ZOOM. It’s 45minutes only and offer’s a social time with some space for prayer – do join us if you can. The invitation will be sent to you separately, by email.