21/03

Coronavirus – A Message from our Vicar

           St. James Church, Shilbottle, part of the Benefice of Acklington,    

                            Shilbottle and Warkworth

Dearest Friends,

                    I am struggling to get my head around our current situation and I know I am not alone. The current state of affairs is clearly going to put many of you (family, friends and members of our wider community) under quite intolerable strain, either physically, emotionally and/or financially in the coming weeks and months. It is especially hard that on this Mothering Sunday of all days when the church family traditionally comes together in the physical space of the mother church, and at a time when we need the reassurance that such gatherings and praying  together brings more than ever, we are asked not to gather.

There has been no moment like it and it’s perhaps best not to think too much about what the future holds as it is unknown and ‘ today’s troubles are enough for today.’ (Matthew 6:34). But what we do know is that ,whatever we are going through, individually and as a community(locally and internationally), all the power of the living God is ours to sustain and equip us to face whatever challenges are ahead. And so, whilst I am personally terrifically sad about the ways in which so many people are affected, I am not afraid and I pray that you won’t be either, because we ‘can do all things through Him who strengthens us.’ (Phil. 4:13).

Our Churches remain open between 10am and 4pm daily (11am to 4pm on Sundays at Shilbottle and Acklington). The services of Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayer will continue to be celebrated at regular times in each parish but you MUST please follow the instructions of our Archbishops NOT to attend – indeed the churches will be closed at these times. However, you are invited to join us by praying with us at home, and service sheets will be available for delivery, download or collection each Saturday. Copies of Prayer During the Day (you might like to join me and others in saying this at 12 noon) and Night Prayer are also available . More details to follow.

I would ask you all please to keep in mind those you have been gathering with at church, give them a telephone call or drop them a note so that we ensure that we continue to feel connected even  when we are not able to come together.

If you have not already been contacted by one of the Pastoral team but would like to be, please make contact  with Cynthia Bishop (575705 or email cynthianortheast19@gmail.com) in the first instance  if you are happy to share your details to enable us to keep in touch with you in the coming weeks. No personal details will be shared with anyone other than those responsible for and for the purposes of pastoral care.

Finally, the Archbishops have invited us to put a lighted candle(safely) in our window at 7pm on Mothering Sunday as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.

I have found receiving  Holy Communion this week on your behalf the most overwhelming and awesome experience. You are all on my heart and in my prayers. I hope you have, with this, an order of service  and a copy of this week’s sermon (also available on line) so  that we can worship together as (anything but) usual.

With love, Helen

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