Welcome second weekly e-bulletin

Welcome to the second weekly e-bulletin from the Heart of Norfolk Churches office. 

In future weeks, we will be sending this bulletin via 'Mailchimp'. If you have not already been contacted and would like to sign up to our e-bulletin, click here.
This bulletin includes:
  • suggested prayer intentions for your prayers
  • a link to this coming Sunday's gospel reading
  • and a meditation written by Fr Christopher. 
 

Coronavirus: limiting the spread - updates

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Statement, 23rd March

We now know that all Church buildings must be closed until further advice from Government. Suggested closure notice is available here. Following a hastily-written post on Nextdoor on Tuesday morning (24th March) about closure of churches, I was privately messaged to remind me that churches are people – it’s the buildings that have been closed. He was quite right – (ecclesia ‘church’ means gathering of people) and we are exploring new ways of doing just that.  We’re just having to learn to be church in a different way.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement, The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written again to clergy (24th March) with further guidance. These are the headlines with my comments:

Our church buildings are closed, “not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well and this includes the priest or lay person offering prayer in church on their own.”

If you are a key-holder to your Parish Church, please do not enter the building until we have further guidance, even for cleaning or to admit contractors, unless it’s an emergency.


It seems that this will also mean the suspension of Post Office services offered at Bawdeswell All Saints’ and Bintree St Swithun, as the post-master did not arrive at Bawdeswell on Tuesday. Please be mindful of people needing these services, especially if they are collecting their State pension – we cannot do this on their behalf – please see State Pension or your local voluntary support group – see Volunterring Norfolk information.

  • Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.
     
  • No weddings in church buildings until further notice.

    Wedding couples for 2020 are already aware of this and have postponed. Please keep them in your prayers.

     
  • Funerals can only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside (Church funerals). Crematoria have advised (25th March) a maximum of 10 mourners and coffins to be brought in on wheels, rather than carried.

    Again, please keep bereaved families in your prayers. This can only compound their grief and confusion. We are offering a Service of Thanksgiving to be held once we are past this crisis, when we can celebrate the life of a loved-one who has died.  

     
An earlier letter from the Archbishops (19th March), also made it clear that acts of worship held outdoors cannot take place. In announcing this, they wrote: “we all need to take responsibility for keeping to the letter as well as the spirit of our guidelines”.


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