17th March 2020

Dear Parishioner

Public Worship Suspended

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday March 16, I have now received the new advice from the Archbishops. With immediate effect, all public worship in the Church of England is suspended. This means no Sunday services and no mid-week Communion services. There will be no church-organised gatherings at all until the advice changes.

Morning prayer will be said in church each day at 8am by me or one or two others. I have to ask you please not to join us.

Our priority is the same as that of the wider church and indeed the government: to keep everyone safe. The Archbishops recognise that in suspending worship and social activities, the church will for a while be very changed. The focus will be on continuing in Prayer and Service.

On prayer, the Church of England will offer resources on its website and the parish in turn is considering what it can offer (clearly not everyone will be able to use these). No doubt, this will develop  as ideas are presented locally. Otherwise, our shared ministry is one of prayer - prayer for each other in testing times, prayer for those who are missing so much of what they value, prayer for those who are unwell, prayer for those who are working in difficult situations and for those of our number who are health care professionals;

On service, my first concern is that people should keep in touch. To this end, I shall spend some time each day on the phone (so do not be surprised if you have an unsolicited call from the Rector). I invite each of you in turn to keep in touch with others. Please think about anyone, particularly those most likely to be alone, and ring them where you can. My contact details are at the end of this email and I will welcome calls or messages - no matter how you are feeling or what you wish to say.

I think for St Thomas's people, drawn as they are from quite a wide area, the emphasis of service (other than keeping in touch) will be on neighbourliness in its most literal sense. If you are able and can do so safely, please attend to those among whom you live.

The Parish Office will be open for enquiries but not for visitors and email is better than phone as I write. I await instructions from the diocese about church meetings and administration but I anticipate that there will be delay and disruption as in every area of life.

Please be assured of my prayers and please do not hesitate to contact me for anything at all. I shall provide more information when it becomes available.

All blessings

Kelvin Inglis
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