12th March 2020

Update: I regret that we have had to suspend all catering at church events with immediate effect. So that we can still enjoy fellowship with one another, if you are well why not invite someone from church for coffee or a meal? We will try having the Lent Lunch at the Vicarage this week. 

St John’s and Coronovirus

As followers of Jesus we are called to love God and one another. We are taking some steps at St John’s in line with Government and Church of England advice to help us show that love to those around us during the coronavirus. This is a rapidly evolving situation, so please note that this advice is changing regularly, and we will seek to update our response to it as necessary; check the church website for the latest. If you have any concerns about what we are doing please do not hesitate to speak to me of one of our churchwardens, Helen King and John Marshall.

Good hygiene
Government advice is that the best way of avoiding coronavirus is to remember good basic hygiene. In particular we should all

  • carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes, and bin the tissue; there is a good supply of tissues in St John’s.
  • wash hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or use sanitiser gel to kill germs. Please think about doing this as you enter and leave St John’s with the gel provided. 20 seconds is about the time it takes to say the Lord’s Prayer so why not use our increased handwashing to pray more? We could also use the time to pray for those who are affected by the virus, those who are worried and those who are caring for the sick and vulnerable.

We have arranged for door handles and other surfaces we touch often to be regularly cleaned to reduce infection risks.

Communion
We will no longer all have the opportunity to drink the wine at Communion. The person leading the service will drink it on our behalf. I assure you that you have had full communion when you just take the bread. When we give a blessing we will not touch the person, just rest our hand above them. Please still do come up as God will honour this just as much as when we place our hands on you.

Collection
We will not pass round the collection plate during the coronavirus crisis. The brass collection plate will be cleaned then put on the font for you to put your collection in as you arrive at church. It will then be brought up to be prayed over as usual. The person receiving the collection will remember the money given directly through the bank as well as any cash in the plate in their prayer.

Bibles, hymn books and service sheets
We will be putting books and reusable service sheets away until the coronavirus situation is over. The Bible reading will be on the notice sheet but please think about bringing your own Bible to church if you wish to follow the readings or look them up on your smart phone (Bible Gateway is a free app and we use the NIVUK version of the Bible). We will create single use service sheets for Wednesdays.

The Peace
We will not shake hands but please do wish each other God’s peace. 

Love your neighbour
As followers of Jesus we are called to imitate Jesus. He cared for the vulnerable, the lonely and the sick so we should too. We can do this by:

  • praying for our nation, our health service and all who are affected by the virus
  • checking our neighbours are ok. If they are self-isolating, it is better to do this by phone
  • not buying more than we need in the supermarket so that others can find things on the shelves
  • remembering to donate things to the DENS foodbank as many of its users will be particularly in need at present

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5.7

with love and prayers

Rebecca