My Dear Friends
The situation we find ourselves in as a world, a nation, a community and a church has certainly highlighted some key aspects of human beings and human behaviour. We are seeing the very best and the very worst of what we appear to be capable of, and of course each one of us has the capacity to move in either direction. A fundamental aspect of humanity is that we are social, and I suspect that many of us feel deeply frustrated at the restrictions on meeting. I certainly long to pop in to see people, have a coffee and a chat and share news. But if we are all of us obedient to the best advice coming from government and reinforced by our church leaders, we will surmount this major crisis.
There is so much to be praying for. Outside our own country, the situation of people in refugee camps is quite dreadful. Within our shores, the plight of the homeless presents a major challenge. Many of us are privileged to have a good amount of space around us and a garden in which to take a breath of air but what about those who are confined to a high rise flat with no outer space to call their own. And I am aware of the psychological impact on those who are naturally of an anxious disposition. So much to think about and so many people to hold in our prayers.
I am trying to keep in touch with different people every day, by phone and by e-mail and I know that in each of our parishes, people are reaching out and are providing practical help and psychological support for each other. The diocese is producing a lot of information and guidance and the Diocesan website is a helpful resource for all of us.
Let us pray for patience to recognise what we need to do for ourselves and for each other at this quite extraordinary time in all our lives.
With love to you all
By now you should know that all churches in the Church of England have been instructed to close. This means that no forms of worship will now take place within the building, nor is anyone allowed to enter. The only service being conducted will be a funeral at the graveside and that will be short and restricted to immediate family to minimise the possibility of transmitting/catching COVID-19. Crematoriums will have their own rules but are likely to be similar.
British Summer Time
A reminder that the clocks go forward 1 hour on Sunday at 1am. Not that we are going to be late for anything as we are not allowed anywhere.
Although all church activities have ceased, it is still Lent and well done to all of you who are keeping to their Lenten promise. Not long to go now. We have a box of Cadbury’s Eggs bought to distribute on Easter Day. What am I going to do with them all!?
Regular Sunday Worship
Last Sunday Norwich Diocese broadcast the first of a weekly audio podcast service of worship called ‘Sunday Hope’. This first service celebrating Mothering Sunday was led by Bishop Graham, the Bishop of Norwich. A transcript of each service is also available. For further details, including how to access the podcast and the transcript of the service, follow the link below:
The service for this coming Sunday, Passiontide Sunday, is now available led by Bishop Alan, Bishop of Thetford.
The readings for this Sunday are:
Ezekiel 37. 1-14
Romans 8. 6-11
John 11. 1-45
For those who wish to catch up on the Mothering Sunday ‘Sunday Hope’ podcast and transcript they are still available. If you can’t for any reason access the podcast then just use the transcript.
I personally enjoyed this relatively short service (yes even I, the IT dinosaur, managed to access it following the instructions given). Maybe it was the fact that relying on sound only with no visual distractions allowed me to focus solely on what was being said. I am looking forward to this Sunday and hearing Bishop Alan when I sit down in the peace and quiet of my own home.
There are many other podcasts around which may appeal to you more. You can look for services on Youtube and several churches in Norfolk have been streaming their services. You can go to the Church of England website and it gives a list of all churches streaming a service, though not sure whether these will happen with the new rules on church closures.
Other broadcasts this Sunday are:
08.10 Radio 4 Sunday Worship
13.15 BBC1 Songs of Praise
15.00 Radio 3 Choral Evensong
Lift up your Hearts
Starting this week, the newspaper Church Times is producing an A4 leaflet entitled ‘Lift up your hearts’. They plan to produce each week a ‘collection of prayers and reflections which, we hope, will help to support the people who are deprived from the gifts that come from churchgoing’. I have copied this first edition in the next two pages. If you wish to continue to read this leaflet in the weeks to come, you can access it via their website:
The leaflet can be found under the ‘Resources for churches’ on the right side of the home page. If you know of someone who would like to read this leaflet but does not have access to the internet, you have their permission to print it for them. If you have any difficulty, please let me know. I particularly liked the item entitled ‘Not huddled like frightened sheep’. Like so many of you, I remember it well.
There is also much more information on this website you may wish to explore.
I think that is all for now.
God Bless and keep safe.
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