Holy Apostles Church
19th March 2020
The Church Is Changing
I am writing to you at an unprecedented time in our country’s history. I am sure by now you have heard that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said, in line with our Government’s guidelines, that it is now necessary to put public services of worship and mid-week gatherings on hold until further notice.
This may be very upsetting and frightening for some of us as our pattern of life is disturbed but I want to reassure you all that we are not shutting up shop but that we will have to do things differently for a while. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.
Our recent study of Ephesians has reminded us of all the blessings we have in Christ. The hope we have as we remember we are saved by grace and are adopted into God’s family. We have considered how long and wide and high and deep is the love of Christ for us and pondered what it really means to be humble and patient, bearing with one another in love. We have sung with the children about putting our God suits on, and that friends is what we are being called to do now so that we can stand together as one.
We have said before, the church is not a building but it is the people of God. We may not be meeting in the same place but we will be providing ways we can worship God as one people.
There will be podcasts of devotional material and other online resources available via our website. So, if you are able to access these please do and keep checking back as we will be updating these regularly. We are also going to experiment with video so watch this space.
For the many of you without internet access we will be producing prayer booklets and other resources that can be distributed to you in your homes. My hope is that on a Sunday at 10.30 where ever we are we will spend time in worship and prayer using either the printed or online material.
The main way we will keep connected is by phone. By the end of this week Margo, Kate or I will have telephoned you to chat about the phone buddy system we are putting in place and find out who does and doesn’t have internet access. I hope that this will mean that no one is left isolated and everyone cared and prayed for.
Even though we are not gathering on Sundays the amount it costs to keep going will remain largely unchanged and we will lose a large amount of income as groups no longer meet in the hall. Therefore we do ask everyone to continue to give to the church and if you usually do that in the collection on Sundays you will be able to continue to do so by cheque in the post/post-box, directly into our bank or by card payment on the phone to Dave.
There will be people in need in our community, please continue to give to the food bank and baby basics and find ways to serve others demonstrating the love of Christ. If you find yourself in particular need at this time please do contact me.
The archbishops have joined other church leaders in calling for a day of prayer this Sunday (Mothering Sunday) particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services. To this end the church will be open from 10:00-11:00 for you to come and sit and pray. They have asked that at 7pm we each place a lit candle in the window of our homes as a visible symbol of Jesus Christ the light of life. As we do so let us pray a prayer of St Patrick for our church, city and nation:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger,
With love in Christ,