St. Luke's and St. Mary's will open for private prayer next week

 

Friday 12th June 2020

 

Dear Church family,

It only seems a few days ago that I wrote to everyone with some important items to note, it was actually a good few weeks ago and time seems to have speeded up. Thank you to those who responded to the last letter and to Roger, Miranda, Bev and the Churchwardens who continue to work alongside me to steer aspects of our church life through this corona pandemic. As the lockdown eases, we are able to see a plan emerging of how we return to something like normality.

Prior to the lockdown we commissioned a survey to consider our worshipping life as local churches. Whilst the immediate return to regular church services seems to be still some time off (subject to the Prime Minister making any unexpected announcements) we will return to a slightly different pattern of services. Three messages came through clearly in the survey results: (1) the need for greater variety in the services we offer (2) service times (3) the frustration of ministers leaving almost immediately after a service to lead another service elsewhere. In the coming months we will work towards a pattern of services that responds to those concerns. When we look set to return to something like normality, I will write to you giving further details and we can have a time to meet and discuss these matters as a church family.

As of next week, we will be opening the church buildings for private prayer with restricted opening hours. In order to manage this process, we will start by opening the churches from 10am-4pm each Tuesday and Saturday. We will conduct a clean of most visited areas after each session and do what we can to minimise any potential risk of infection. Opening in this manner does not signal a return to regular worship services. It remains unlawful to arrange a meeting in the church building or to conduct other activities. Those watching Government briefings will know that weddings and funeral services held inside the church buildings will soon be permitted as long as various conditions are followed. Graveside burials and the internment of ashes remains a possibility subject to following conditions laid down by the Government and Church of England. At the moment there has been no announcement regarding baptisms. Any questions about reopening the church for private prayer should contact the Vicar, Churchwarden or Parish Office.

From this Sunday we will be departing from the readings normally set for each Sunday in the lectionary to a sermon series on the New Testament epistles of 1 Peter & 2 Peter. At a time when people are concerned with isolation and shielding from corona virus, I spotted this verse telling that we are “shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed” (1 Peter 1:5). What a blessing that God is always involved in our daily lives. We are never alone and never left unaided.

With every blessing,

Rev. Andrew Axon

Vicar of Lamberhurst & Matfield