It is with great sorrow, and no small amount of shock, that I have to share with you the announcement made by the Church of England at 1.30 this afternoon that in light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice.
This does not, of course, mean that the work of the church will cease:
Both St Marys and All Saints will continue to be open every day for private prayer and reflection.
I will continue to say morning prayer every day in St Marys on behalf of the church community and the wider parish.
Prayer cards and other resources will be available for use within the church building and to take away.
A regular printed and online resource will be available which will have the readings for the week as well as some prayers and a reflection.
Links will be posted to the many and varied digital resources that are now available online.
As a community, I trust we will continue to offer our time and talents in the service of those who need them, joining with other community groups to support and encourage those who will suffer in the coming days.
We have been asked to give our support to a day of prayer and action this Sunday 22 March, in particular to place a lighted candle in our windows at 7.00 pm as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished. Candles will be available in church for that purpose.
I will continue to pray for you and those you love; please pray for me.
Vicar, Charlbury with Shorthampton
We pray for all those who are suffering because of the coronavirus, may they know your healing power.
When we are afraid for ourselves and our loved ones, give us your strength and courage.
When we feel alone and isolated, reassure us with a sense of your presence.
Give wisdom to those in authority and may our community work together for the good of all.
We give thanks for those who care for others and ask you to bless them in all they do.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, healer and physician.