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Another little letter about Covid and All Saints


Dear Friends,

The PCC (Church Council) met this evening to consider how we respond to the change in the Government guidance as we move to this next stage.  We are very mindful that, although it seems hospitalisations are at a lower rate because of the numbers who have been vaccinated, cases are at the highest level we have ever seen locally and still appear to be rising exponentially.

We are acutely aware that there are many different opinions and responses to the latest changes, but two things stood out in our consideration.  Firstly Bishop Pete and Bishop Sophie encouraged us to consider the verses in Romans chapter 14 where St Paul says

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

+Pete and +Sophie said “We take these texts to mean: go at the pace of the slowest!”

Secondly the PCC was very mindful of these verses from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians Chapter 10 verse 23

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

Having considered all that, we have decided to take things slowly.  During August we would normally scale back what we offer at All Saints to allow for extended rest and recuperation and it feels particularly necessary this year, so we are continuing with that principle.

At least until the end of August Live Stream Faith on Facebook will remain as our principal act of worship together as a Church Family, alongside the Telephone Church Community who gather by slightly less technological means.

We are going to continue with Communion@4 throughout the summer, but we are going to ask everyone to continue to socially distance and to continue to wear masks where possible.  We want to move slowly towards what might be possible in the coming weeks and months but we have decided to encourage and allow folks to sing quietly at Communion@4 whilst wearing masks.  We think this one small change will make a huge difference to those who come and will feel like another tiny step towards what we all long for.

We are very sorry if you are disappointed that we haven’t chosen to open more fully.  We are aware of Churches who have gone back with no restrictions, as they are allowed to do, but we felt that this more cautious approach better matched the mood of the PCC and those in the Church Family we had spoken to.

Hang in there.  We are closer to the end of this than we were, but we don’t think we’re there yet.  Indeed I leave you with a quote not from the Bible but from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.  Gandalf says these words to Mr Bilbo Baggins, just before the battle which concludes his grand adventure….

“Things are drawing towards the end now, unless I am mistaken. There is an unpleasant time just in front of you; but keep your heart up!”

Let’s keep our hearts up, let’s trust in God, Care for each other, Be kind and gentle to those with whom we disagree and continue to travel this life trusting in God’s Grace and with Jesus as our Captain, our Brother, our Rescuer, our Friend and our Companion on the road.

Every blessing

Stephen

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