I am sorry that I’m not able to welcome you to any services this Sunday, as owing to the coronavirus outbreak worship is suspended, not just across the Team, but across the entire Church of England. However it is important to stress that our local churches will remain open every day for private prayer and you are more than welcome to make use of them. A prayer for you to use is on the “worship” page of this website. More resources will also be made available very soon.
Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent, a traditional “break point” in the Lenten fast, as Holy Week and Easter begins to come onto the horizon. We remember and give thanks for our mothers, and our mother church, and the nurture and support they give us.
Lent this year is feeling particularly bleak, with the whole world being suddenly thrown onto a war footing – a war not against other nations, but against an alien virus. Viruses occur normally in nature, and they are the creation’s way of controlling the population of bacteria, which would otherwise be unchecked. Viruses and Bacteria are essential for life on earth; bacteria can take inorganic nutrients and turn them into a form that plants and animals can use. But it is often a virus which is the key to making these nutrients available to us, which would otherwise be trapped inside the bacterium. Virus, bacterium, and plant or animal often live in symbiosis, a finely balanced “ecosystem” that is tuned just to its own situation. Many of the viruses that cause human disease are those which originated in a different species or ecosystem and have crossed the species barrier, usually by human agency.
Our own protective measures as churches against the coronavirus take a further step this week with the immediate suspension of Sunday and midweek worship across the Team. Additionally members of the ministry team staff who are over 70 years of age have been asked by the Bishop of Oxford to step back from ministry. This means that only Revd Linda Smith and Revd Kevin Davies are available; they can be contacted in the usual way. Further guidance on weddings and funerals is expected shortly.
In the midst of all the anxiety, especially about isolation, and basic supplies, can I urge you all not to forget the poor at this time, and to please keep making donations of tins, packets, and jars, tea and coffee, at the Food Bank points in your churches. It is those on the lowest incomes who will struggle the most in these difficult times.
Lastly, if you find the news overwhelming, turn it off, and go for a walk. Talk to God about your fears and worries. Phone a friend or relative and see how they are doing. Email Revd Kevin or Revd Linda. Treat yourself to a chocolate, or a good cup of coffee. “This too, will pass.”
May the Lord bless you and keep you always in His love.