Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This afternoon Parliament voted to approve the Government’s regulations for another lockdown beginning tomorrow. This lockdown will be different from the first. Last time we knew little about COVID-19 or the effects of lockdown. There are also different rules: you will be able to meet one friend from a different household in an outdoor public place, schools and universities remain open, support bubbles exist whereby a single adult household can formally link with another household, click-and-collect services will be available in non-essential retail.
Places of worship, however, will close for public worship (other than funerals). This is an immense sadness. In a joint letter, Bishop Jonathan, and other bishops, have said,
All that we do as God’s people flows from our worship. The Mass is and must always be the very heart and centre of our lives, our gravest duty, our sweetest joy. As we meet the Lord at his altar, we are inspired to serve and to witness. Without the Mass, ministry becomes meaningless and any acts of love and service are swiftly rendered unsustainable. We can never allow our worship to be seen as dispensable, nor can we collude with a culture that wishes to see it as one activity amongst others.
In these parishes, the current live-streaming from St Lawrence’s will continue on Sunday mornings. The weblink for this will be sent in the weekly email. If you do not receive it already you can sign up for it on our website: www.heavitreeparish.co.uk The weekly email will also provide any news updates, spiritual resources, and, in due course, information about re-opening when the lockdown ends.
The bishops went on to say,
Our nation is facing a crisis of a scale and proportion unknown for over seventy years and as we write we are acutely aware of the desperate needs of those whose work is insecure, whose businesses face bankruptcy, whose education is being disrupted, whose mental health is being damaged by fear and anxiety and who can barely afford to feed their children.
Please keep in your prayers those for whom this lockdown brings further anxiety, in particular, the self-employed, small-business owners and those who are worried about their work, and those who live alone. In this week when we have celebrated the feast of All Saints, let us pray that through our prayers and care for one another, the light of Christ will shine into the darkness, filling us with hope of the inexpressible joys that await us.
Yours in Christ,