It does seem strange to be celebrating Easter all locked down, a stark reminder of that first Easter when, after His resurrection, Jesus tell His disciples to go back to the Upper Room and wait. They were to await the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That’s not a bad thought for us. Let’s get to a place where we can await a fresh outpouring of God’ Holy Spirit.
I hope that you and your families are well and coping with the many restrictions and changes which have been imposed on our lives and the lives of those whom we love and for whom we care?
I know that some have been struggling with Covid-19 infection and that some of you are also coping with the death of a family member, loved one or friend.
The last time we were able to gather together for worship in St Cyprians was 15th March. How much has changed for all of us since then!
It has been amazing just how many of you have offered help for others picking up shopping or prescriptions and in a variety of other ways – thank you! As Jesus said, ‘For as much as you do it for the least of these; you do it also for me’.
I don’t know when St Cyprian’s was ever closed for worship previous to this, perhaps David Peet knows? I suspect that Covid-19 has done what even the Blitz failed to do!
In terms of our life together we have tried to carry on, in spite of the fact that our website company seems to have gone out with the tide. We have been using Zoom, with varying degrees of success, to proclaim the eternal Good News of Easter. The numbers attending have been encouraging and I know many have found the regularity of Evening Prayer helpful.
I now many of you have found Zoom difficult/strange we are conscious that we haven’t got everything right yet, we need to appoint a Zoom verger to oversee the technical aspects. Other problems have been concerned with older computers, people sitting to close to their computers, talking too loud and creating background noise. We’ll get there somehow. Whilst we have been physically separated, you have remained in the daily prayers of myself and Fr Simon. We have tried, where possible to make a phone call or an email to check if all is well with you and I would like to thank you for your messages of support and encouragement.
St Cyprian’s is about so much more than just a building, the building is being kept safe and secure. Our 3 ‘employees’, Julian, George and Stoyanka have been ‘furloughed’.
Where do we go from here?
At the time of writing, I have no more idea than you do about when the church will be open again, nor do I know what restrictions will be put in place to allow people to gather together safely when it does.
Whilst the House of Bishops have sanctioned the opening of church for the streaming of services neither Simon nor I will avail ourselves of this concession given that we do not have the technical capabilities to undertake this and this may be a premature move given the risks associated with this virus. I shall be discussing this with our Wardens who will be in touch with Church Members.
So, in the meantime, please check out our notices online services and keep praying and serving those around you. Together with Fr Simon we are looking at ways to gather more people together, virtually, through Bible studies, prayer gatherings and hopefully social events. Please share with me any ideas you might have.
The first such event will be a quiz night to coincide with Christian Aid Week. This will be on the 18th May at 7:30pm and I hope there will be a goodly number joining us. We shall open a ‘Just Giving’ page for your donations. Christian Aid is one of the oldest, largest and most respected charities operating from and within the UK.
If you had any other ideas for events, we might do together please let me, or Fr Simon know.
One of the most truly amazing things to emerge from this has been your generous response to our financial appeal. With the exception of your donations just about all of our income has dried up, yet our expenses must continue to be met. If, for example, I told you that our insurance alone is £850 per month it will give you an indication of the scale of the challenge If you can continue to support us financially it will be much appreciated. Can you please consider moving your weekly cash donation to a monthly transfer from your bank to help continue our work and to ensure that, when it's safe to do so, we can open our doors once again? Our church Bank details are as follows: NatWest plc., Baker Street Branch.Sort Code: 56-00-14. Account: St Cyprian’s Parochial Council. Account Number: 12138126
I’m sorry to share with you two negative effects of this crisis, John Blackburne, one of our churchwardens, has had his ordination postponed, a new date will follow. Alexia & James are now planning for their wedding in November. Nanda Melwani has been in and out of hospital but seems to be stable at present. Please continue to hold her and Dinesh in your prayers. I am grateful for your good wishes and prayers for my brother-in-law, Gary, he has been in ICU now for over a week and on a ventilator, he his holding is own at present but showing slight signs of improvement.
Please be assured of my prayers and the prayers of Fr Simon and if there’s anything we can do to help, do please let us know. My number is 07495 726006 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Your priest and friend, Fr Michael
Some words of Saint Mother Teresa: ‘When you look at a crucifix you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Eucharist you understand how much Jesus loves you now!’