|It is with heavy hearts that the PCC have decided to suspend ‘in person’ worship at Saint Peter’s until, at least, 21st February. We discussed the merits of continuing to offer Eucharist publicly, adapted our risk assessments and measures to keep people as safe as possible but it was felt that these were not enough to help defend the vulnerable against the more virulent strain of the virus that we are suffering with at the moment.|
This is sad for all of us and it is right to grieve the loss, not only of physical fellowship and all the benefits that we receive through that but also the participation in the Eucharist with Christ. For many, however, this has remained a time of ‘fasting’ from the Sacrament and I, as vicar, continue to pray for you all in that. It is also the painful and ongoing experience for many to lack engagement in corporate worship which is so easily taken for granted and undervalued that I am acutely aware of. With that in mind, Michelle, Bess and I will be looking at ways in which we can respond to any of you who need to engage, even if it is a morsel, to sustain you on the journey.
We will continue to offer a live streamed celebration of the Eucharist on our Facebook Page each Sunday at 9.30am and that will be available afterwards in the video section of that Page. Afterwards you can engage with the S8 Mission Partnership YouTube service (visit www.youtube.com and search for “S8 Mission Partnership” clicking on the latest video, or click on the link on our Facebook Page on Sunday morning). Then, at 11.15am, each Sunday we will gather on Zoom for fellowship, reflections, prayer and worship. Click on the following link to join us, then:
Meeting ID: 834 4275 6049
I want to conclude with the image that I touched on at Vision Sunday this year. How do we travel as a fellowship without sharing the immediate journey together? It is important that we all acknowledge and intentionally identify what sustains us on the journey. In baptism we are placed within the Body of Christ, the family of God, not because we necessarily need others to have a relationship with God or to receive his grace but because it is better to journey with others who can look out for us and help us to keep going. How might you be being called to keep your eyes and ears open for sustenance and nourishment for your fellow pilgrims at this time? How might you receive from them gifts for the journey? This call to be a collective people together is more important than ever. This should not be heard as more things to do, another addition to an already stressful and challenging time but, rather, as an invitation to be held, encouraged, inspired, strengthened by God.
I am reminded of that familiar story of the person caught in a flood and they pray for God’s help. The waters are at their knees and along comes a jeep offering them help. They refuse saying that God will help them and that someone else will need the jeep. Then they are treading water and along comes a small boat offering help. They refuse saying that God will help them and that someone else will need the boat. Then they are on their roof, surrounded by water, and along comes a helicopter offering help. They refuse saying that God will help them and that someone else will need the helicopter. Finally they drown and they end up in heaven. The person approaches God and says, “I prayed for your help and you didn’t come. Why?” And God responds, “I sent a jeep, a lifeboat and a helicopter, what more did you want?!”
Do not struggle alone or hold out and wait too long for spiritual sustenance and nourishment. We are here for you, to help feed you with what ever you need. We just don’t, necessarily, know what you need or want. Please tell us! If you want to do a Bible study, or you want to have a rhythm of prayer that works for you, or you need someone to help you process life, please get in touch… I mean it.
Finally, pray. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Pray for your neighbours. Reach out and encourage one another with stories of God’s faithfulness, hope and joy. And, if I can model the vulnerable requesting I am encouraging you to do, please share with me how God is working in your life so I, too, can be encouraged.
Much love, in Christ,