29 Mar Staying connected – this Sunday and more
A message from our vicar, Rev’d Robert Stanier; how to keep connected to church and each other.
Greetings in these strange times.
This is rather a long email, so here’s what’s in it. You can get a cup of tea and read through the lot, or you can just skim to the bit you’re interested in!
As you are probably aware, the church buildings are closed, in line with churches nationwide, in response to the government instructions for what is pretty close to a lock-down. This is likely to last several weeks, including Holy Week, which will be really strange.
Responding to this has been difficult, but one of the ways we are trying to do this is to improve our online presence and this email is one of those ways.
When the 9.15am service for young families started up, there was need to publicise that, and so an email list was created, which would provide information about when and where children friendly services would be happening and all sorts like that. While that continues to be sent out once a week, there hasn’t been such a consistent (or any) email offer for other people connected to the church.
But for now, I would like to point you to some resources.
In general, the best source is our website: www.surbitonchurch.org.uk.
It’s got info about services, but also you may want to see all sorts of other material.
You can check out our archive of Parish magazines, through the News tab. Through the same tab, you can also read my recent ‘Thoughts for the Train’. These are short articles that (until now) I handed out to commuters at the train station on a Friday morning: it’s a short column, I guess, with a Christian perspective on the news.
We also keep upto date through Facebook:
At present, on Twitter, I’m posting a daily photograph of an aspect of St Andrew’s or St Mark’s interior, which you might not have noticed much when you’re inside, but you certainly can’t see at the moment as the buildings are locked.
Please subscribe, if that’s your kind of thing and/or you know what to do. It would be great to have 100 subscribers by Easter.
There are currently two homilies up and available to view, but the plan is that the sermon that would have got preached in church (or something like it) will land every Sunday morning at 9am from now until the coronavirus lockdown ends. (And maybe longer.)
So this Sunday, it’s me preaching about the Raising of Lazarus.
Watch it and tell all your friends to watch it!
(The readings that are set in the Church of England lectionary for this Sunday are all in an attachment to this email, if you’d like to look at them.)
I haven’t got as far as livestreaming anything yet, but I am looking to do something in Holy Week. Life is moving so fast that I just can’t quite work out what will be possible, what music will be achievable, and whether it will be interesting, beautiful or boring. But it’s likely that I’ll be using Facebook or Zoom to do it, so those are the programmes to look out for.
Already, people are doing fantastic ways to help. Just giving your friend a phone call is a lovely thing to do at times like this and if you’re in a position to do someone’s shopping, that would be brilliant. Our curate, Michael, is currently ill with what might well be a moderately mild version of Covid 19, but he will be on this. Email him on email@example.com or me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to point you to someone who can help.
In the immediate term, a group who need support are those with mental health difficulties (often dementia) but who get visited by the therapy unit at Tolworth Hospital on Red Lion Road. They are looking for donations of staples (long life food, that is easy to cook: as the chaplain put it, these are often people who can’t cook much in terms of an oven but can use a microwave – so tinned meat, cereal, biscuits, crackers). They can be dropped off at the Memory Clinic at Tolworth Hospital, which is open 10am till 3pm on Monday to Friday. This is just behind a big green container on your left as soon as you turn into the hospital site.
We’ve already dropped off the biscuits that were going to be used after Sunday worship. They’v also (of course) mentioned toilet roll.
Tolworth Hospital, Red Lion Road, Tolworth, KT6 7QU.
There’s no question that it’s a stressful time. There’s fear around, as we don’t know quite the depth of the virus; there’s unsettlement as ordinary life is upturned, and jobs and income are lost; there’s also a deep well of human kindness as people reach out to each other.
The Bishop of Southwark is encouraging everyone to say the Lord’s Prayer at 1pm or 7pm each day, which I’m going to incorporate into my daily prayers.
Otherwise, sometimes, I do write prayers, but today I thought I’d share with you the one I’m turning to the most at the moment. It’s from the ancient office of Night Prayer, or Compline and you may wish to use it at night, or at any time.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the wary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
With love and prayers,