Following further advice from the Bishop of Southwark, we are sorry to announce that St John’s will be locked until further notice.
We are no longer able to operate as a church in the way we are used to, but we will find ways of being church in this unprecedented situation. Please read the letter below from Fr John and Fr Daniel.
Last week we informed you that acts of public worship were being suspended in churches as part of the plan to stop the progress of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in the UK. At that time we planned to keep St John’s open for private prayer so that people could still find comfort in the church building outside service times.
We are very sad to have to let you know that the Bishops of London, Southwark, Rochester and Chelmsford decided yesterday that all churches in the London area should close completely in order to underline the importance of staying at home as far as possible and, if we have to go out, of distancing ourselves physically from others. The bishops’ statement says:
“Our most profound desire is to come together with our neighbours. Christ taught us to come together as His Body to celebrate the sacraments. In all the history of Christendom in these islands, we have not before taken such a step. Partly, this is our modern understanding of how disease is communicated, which in the times of former plagues had not developed. But it is also born of the teaching of Our Lord that the two great commandments are love of God and love of neighbour. The very love of neighbour that leads us to want to come together requires us to sacrifice congregating for a season.”
Although the church doors will now be shut, we will continue to observe the usual pattern of worship: daily Morning and Evening Prayer, two weekday Masses, and the Parish Mass on Sundays. The Sunday Mass and Mass on feast days will be made available to you online, and we will help you to find other ways to nourish your faith day to day.
We hope to live-stream Mass on Sundays and feast days via our new YouTube channel: you can join us live, or participate in the mass later. On Wednesdays you may wish to tune into Choral Evensong on Radio 3 at 3.30pm. BBC Radio 4 also broadcasts Sunday Worship at 8.10am every week, and BBC Radio 4 LW broadcasts the Daily Service Monday to Friday at 9.45am.
As well as participating in worship being offered elsewhere, we hope you will take this opportunity to offer your own prayer and worship. Some of you may already have a regular pattern, e.g. praying when you wake up or before you go to sleep, but other possible ways of praying are:
- using one or more of the Church of England’s services: Morning Prayer, Prayer During the Day, Evening Prayer, or Night Prayer (https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer)
- using an app offering scriptural reflections, such as Pray As You Go
If you have children, please pray with them at home. The Church of England has some suggestions here (http://www.going4growth.com/growth_in_faith_and_worship/faith-in-the-home), and the parish email will include a link to Junior Disciples material for you to use with your children if you wish.
Our Facebook posts will continue, and you can also follow us on Twitter @StJohnsSE19, so please engage with those if that’s your thing. Please be assured of our prayers, and please pray for us and each other during this time of national change, as we learn new ways of being church and community.
Yours in Christ,
Fr John Pritchard Fr Daniel Trott