Coronavirus Update

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you again about how we go forward as a benefice in both worship and pastoral care.

Pastoral Care

Firstly, on pastoral care. We are planning to try to set up a pastoral chain among the church family so that no-one is left out if there is any kind of need. Essentially everyone in the Benefice family (St Catherine’s, St. Mary’s, the Centre and All Saints) for whom we have details and can contact will have a person who will keep in touch and ensure that everyone is OK. They will also try to fix up help as it is necessary (not that they will do everything!). We will be contacting you shortly to say who you can contact and who will be contacting you. Needless to say, this will not preclude any other friendship contacts that you already have.

Also connected to the pastoral care is our responsibility in Christ for our neighbours and friends in the community. As Jesus says, “...Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? ’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40)

So, we want to encourage each one of us to reach out to those who are in isolation in their homes. How can I help? We suggest that each of us identifies those who are self-isolating in our part of the village and contact them with a friendly phone call or note now and then and helping them in whatever ways we can. We will be collating advice on how that might be done and sending it out a little later.


The second area in church life that we are working on is worship. On Sunday we will live- stream a Communion service from St. Mary’s. This will include readings and a talk but sadly will only be me in the church (and probably Rich Franks a suitable distance away!). However I will trust that the congregation will be real but just not visible! We hope to do this each Sunday for the foreseeable future. It will be streamed on our YouTube channel, which can be found here. If you wish to have bread and wine with you for an “Agape” meal at home during the service you are very welcome.

In addition, I plan to create a VLOG (video log) each morning from Monday to Saturday with the Anglican Morning Prayer. This will include readings, a short talk, a song and prayers. I hope that you will be able to join me each morning. Again, these will be on YouTube here.

Please keep in contact and please follow the government advice. It is essential for the safety of all but especially the vulnerable.

With every blessing in Christ

COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear friends,

We write firstly to assure you of our support, prayer and love. This is a time of great anxiety and uncertainty where many are worried for health, loved ones and finances. We are writing this as an initial letter to give you some information and will write more fully shortly.

As you will have heard, all church services are suspended. Therefore there are no Sunday services, including The Centre, or midweek services in the Benefice. However, we’re looking into online services and other social media support.

Secondly, we are also looking into how we can give the maximum pastoral and spiritual support for those in any kind of need. Again, there’ll be more information coming out about this very shortly. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to be in contact with John or Marion if there is any urgent need of any kind.


Is belief in God dangerous?

As I go around speaking to people there are some who say to me that belief in God in dangerous. “Look at all the bad things religion has done in the world”, they say, “wars and bigotry and division. If that is what God is like, I prefer to have nothing to do with him.” And I have to say that I agree entirely, if that is what God is like. There is no doubt that some religious movements have done terrible things. This is certainly true of some kinds of Islam today, and indeed at times misguided Christianity. For example, Christians hang their heads in shame when recalling the Crusades. However, I do not believe it is that simple. In the last hundred years or so it has not been belief in God but non-religious movements that have caused the most trouble. Secular movements like Imperialism (think World War One), Fascism (World War Two), Communism (Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot) and tribalism (the Rwandan genocide) have led to the murder of millions and millions of people.

Well, someone might say, that is not my type of secularism. To which I can only say, the Crusades are not my type of Christianity, my type of religion. As a Christian I follow Jesus the Christ. His way to worship God was to sacrifice for others, to love and to die for them. He denounced injustice but also told us to turn the other cheek and to forgive others. He literally died for each one of us, to give us an example but also to win the spiritual war. The way of Christ is to resist evil through self-giving and love.

Belief in God as we see God in Jesus is not dangerous, except in one respect. If you begin to follow him with all your heart you will be completely changed. In that sense there is nothing more dangerous than believing in God, if by dangerous we mean having our lives turned upside-down. But that kind of danger is for our good and for the good of everyone around us. That kind of danger I can advocate whole heartedly!

John Chitham, Rector