We are in challenging times when many people in our communities will be anxious and fearful about the dynamic changes occurring around us in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The images from Italy and Spain highlight, this is not something to be treated lightly and the virus is not just another ‘flu’; indeed the recent actions taken by the government emphasise that and consequently, so many aspects of our lives must and will already have changed.
This affects the ways in which Christians publicly express our faith particularly as all public acts of worship have now been suspended across most faiths in our country and our churches closed.
These challenging times bring onto sharp focus the need to care for each other; to be attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable and to remain in touch with the isolated and lonely, by all the means open to us. I know many of you are already volunteering your time in so many wonderful initiatives springing up to provide support across our communities; I thank you and I encourage others still considering it, to take up the opportunity and join in where it is safe and possible to do so. Please help support these local initiatives and organisations or contribute to our local food banks, particularly as those on low incomes and those whose occupations have been suspended as a result of COVID-19 are going to be under immense strain in coming weeks and months.
I hope and pray we can come together and find ideas to help ensure we play our part in these difficult times; please do let me know if you identify gaps or areas in which we can provide support to others.
Can I encourage everyone, during these disturbing and threatening times, to join with me in maintaining a regular rhythm of prayer for all in our communities that daily kindness and mutual support for all, will continue and increase.
'The Lord is my shepherd,
There is nothing I shall want.'
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.
Every blessing Neil