As we in the Diocese of Norwich join with the rest of the country and enter a second “lockdown” in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 it is understandable that many of us feel that our previous efforts have been fruitless in the path of a relentless enemy. We may be feeling that the good intentions and high hopes of earlier days have evaporated and a long and difficult winter lies before us.
Understandable as this may be, it is hard to hold onto our belief in our Lord, the risen Christ, and a God who is good, all the time. We MUST do that however and continue to pray for deliverance and for the continuing efforts of all of us in our endeavour to overcome, whatever may befall us.
We were much uplifted then, by sight of a letter, circulated by Bishop Graham yesterday, from our Archbishops and the Bishop of London setting out an encouraging message for clergy and lay ministers throughout the country. Perhaps we can do no better than print some extracts from their message. The writers are well aware that as a country and as “church” we have learned a lot since last March and can offer practical and spiritual advice for the future:
But this second lockdown will also be different in other ways. There is much that we have learned from the first lockdown and there is much to celebrate and be proud of. Of course we are full of gratitude and respect for the amazing courage and commitment of all key workers, especially those working in the NHS. Their contribution is rightly and widely recognised. We also applaud the many creative ways that churches up and down the land have been serving their local communities and working with others to make sure that the hungry are fed and the vulnerable cared for. We have managed to maintain and, in many cases, extend our outreach by streaming worship online and by developing other ways of building community online. We are grateful for people’s energy, hard work and creativity in making this happen and we hope and pray this will continue. We are grateful that the new guidelines being introduced on Thursday not only allow churches to remain open for private prayer but also enable online worship to be broadcast from the church building. We were cautious about these issues during the first lockdown – perhaps overly so – but in this second lockdown we want to encourage church buildings to remain open for private prayer wherever possible, making sure that their buildings are Covid secure in the ways that we have learned in recent months, and to broadcast services from their church buildings.
The writers, in this letter set out a clear message for all Christians to pray and to do so continually throughout this month of lockdown. We are all invited to join with them in this effort, to keep praying and to serve communities in any way we can.
In light of this the Secretariat of Norwich Anglican Cursillo invite all members of the Cursillo 4th Day Community to join with them, our Bishops and Clergy, in prayer for the strength, guidance and fortitude to overcome whatever presents itself during the coming days.
We pray: “Within our darkest night, You kindle a fire that never dies away.” Amen. (Taize Community)
Go Well, Keep well.