Vicar's update 17th March
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When I wrote to you on Sunday afternoon I reflected that events were moving quickly. I had no idea how quickly or that I would ever be writing to you with these details.
I now write to inform you that, in light of the Government announcement yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today decided that all church services, gatherings and events should be suspended. This takes immediate effect and will last for many weeks. That means that there will be no public services on Sunday, no midweek services, no Connect Groups or social events. Sadly, this year we will not have any services during Holy Week or to celebrate Easter. We will, however, continue to provide the final two weeks of the Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter.
Christian Churches in England are calling us to pray on Sunday and we have already called the St Stephen’s community to a day of prayer and fasting next Wednesday (25th March). More details about both of these will be sent out soon. However, we will ensure that St Stephen’s is open on Sunday morning from 9am to 11am for people to come to pray individually.
The St Stephen’s Leadership Team are meeting soon to work out how best to support our church and the wider community at this difficult time. Clearly, a number of our regular helpers and care givers are older people or in the vulnerable groups. If you are a bit younger and now have more time on your hands and can help to support someone else by checking that they are well and getting any shopping, please let me know.
Obviously this is a serious and difficult time for us all. Let’s all pray for God to change the course of this virus.