Our message, echoing that of the Archbishops, is that the church has not shut up shop, but we will be doing church in new ways. While still working this out, I can confirm the following:
- all public acts of worship and other midweek gatherings have been put on hold
- with one or two others to assist, I will be saying daily prayers in church and the Eucharist on Sunday.The bell will toll before the service on Sunday to declare we are praying for Barnes
- in some form we will record or lifestream the Sunday service, so this can reach as many of you as possible.
- I will be sending further resources to help you celebrate Mothering Sunday, which the Archbishops want to be a day of prayer and action. If I can get hold of the flowers, I hope to distribute daffodils out and about in Barnes on Sunday morning
- the church remains open daily from 9am to 4pm for prayer and reflection. People are asked to keep 2 metres apart while doing this. Do mention to others you know that the church is available in this way.
- I will be sending out a simple service of prayer and readings you can use at home. A suggestion from the Bishop of Southwark I would encourage is that we say the Lord’s Prayer at 1pm and 7pm each day, knowing that many others will be doing the same.
- Churches Together in England have also suggested lighting a candle in your window each evening, if safe to do so, as a symbol of Christ’s light in our world at this dark time
- I will be meeting with other Barnes agencies to discuss more about how to help those self-isolating. Many thanks to those who have offered to volunteer, we have a central list and will be calling on you shortly I’m sure. Please also let us know if you are self-isolating, just call the church office on 0208 741 5422 or email [email protected] The Pastoral team is phoning all those we can identify so far.
- don’t forget the Foodbank, at a time when many are facing hard times. There is the collecting box in church, near to the font, or deliveries can be taken to the food bank at the Castelnau Community Centre, 7 Stillingfleet Road, Barnes SW13 9AQ, 9.15am-11.15am on Friday mornings.
It is a time of great uncertainty, but also one in which many lights are shining in the darkness. Keep safe, and be assured that God is with each one of us, and may you know his strength, peace and compassion.
With every blessing,
Rev’d James Hutchings
Barnes Team Rector and Vicar of St Mary