In line with the national instruction of 24th March, all activities taking place within the building are suspended, however the Church is still active in our community. Please see below for details of life events – pastoral offices. We’ll send out regular info via our email list, do join up here. Please pray for all who are and are going to be affected, with these or other words:

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Regular worship

There will be no gatherings held for the foreseeable future. We will be exploring how we can share in prayer together over the coming days and weeks. Sadly the church is not open for private prayer either. You can join in worship at home with some of our resources here. Our weekly worship is accessible online and by phone (call 0191 814 1230).

Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals

Baptisms for the foreseeable future are cancelled, they cannot even be held for the candidate, the parents and the godparents. You will understand that as soon as it is safe to begin rescheduling, we will, but for the time being we will not. Please bear with us in this.

Weddings are unfortunately cancelled for the coming months. Please bear with us in wanting to reschedule, as we do not yet know when it will be feasible to do so. We will not plan to rebook for anything earlier than September.
There is a small legal issue around weddings that are due to take place in the late Spring/early Summer – or later in the summer if the situation hasn’t changed, and that is that we can no longer read banns without public worship, so they may need to be marriages by licence. We’ll be in touch with couples to sort this out, it won’t be a problem.

Funerals – this will be very distressing for families whose loved ones die during this time. All arrangements will take place over the telephone. Guidance is only going to allow the very immediate next of kin to be in attendance – at the crematorium or cemetery. We can of course hold memorial services later, but we know that this is going to be very difficult for many people. Please pray for those who are grieving and will be further upset by this. We will be considering how we can minister to people at the time of death and in grief over the coming days. However, we intend to be as present as we can to people, both our communities with those who mourn and our ministers who will ensure for as long as we are able, that everyone who dies and would wish it, is commended and committed to God.

Events

Regrettably, all our small groups, events and activities cease. Also, church hall bookings will need to be cancelled/postponed/suspended – to keep each other safe we all need to work together with the distancing requested. Church leadership is working on how to create and support community online, and to ensure those without internet access are kept engaged.

Joining in worship from home

An individual prayer booklet is available for congregation members and online, along with the parish prayer list. For the moment, please do use your copy of a Brief Daily Prayer – and now would be a great time to pray for the parishes with the parish prayer list.

We join together with St Peter’s for a ‘virtual experience‘ of worship on Sunday evenings at 6pm, which you can follow on the web page or on Facebook or YouTube. You can join in singing the hymns as loud as you like, since no one will hear you 😉

Prayer will continue, by all the ministry team, for the parish. Now might be a great time to read the Bible [again] – someone earlier pointed out that reading 3 chapters a day will get you through the whole Bible in the 3 months that we will be here! You can also pray at home in the same way that the ministry team do, using the Church of England’s prayer app.

Rather beautifully, the Archbishop of Canterbury has also begun delivering day and night prayer from Lambeth Palace, as audio files, and you can listen to them here.

Support/guidance

All those in the church community will be regularly receiving a phone call from one of the ministry team or one of a number of team leaders that the ministry team have divided the community into. This is to ensure that we can keep in touch with all of you, especially those not online. In the immediate instance, this is partly to be sure of everyone’s support network, but then to check in – on health, any needs, to share information and news, to chat generally to keep spirits up, and to collect any prayer requests. Prayer will continue around the parish, so please don’t hesitate to request it.

If you do know of people who are unwell (especially if they live alone without family nearby), or if any of your pew-mates are missing, please do let one of the wardens or vicar know to follow up concerns.

Please spare a thought for those who may struggle, either from isolation or from loss of earnings over the coming weeks/months. Do try to help where you can, keeping our foodbank stocked and checking on needs of elderly or vulnerable neighbours.