Last updated 22 March 2020

Following that advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York we are suspending public worship at St Mary's from now on. We are also suspending all group and business meetings except those which are essential to responding to the current pandemic.

In their letter the Archbishops said that "Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day."

We know that the current situation is a frightening one and that some of you are particularly vulnerable to this illness. Please be assured of our prayers and pray for one another, our nation and the world and give us a ring if you need someone to talk to.

Continuing the Church's Ministry at this time

We are taking a number of steps to continue the church's ministry at this time.

From 6pm on 22 March, unfortunately the church building is now closed in line with the Bishop of Southwark's latest guidance. The clergy will still be praying for St Mary's and the team following our usual pattern, but the church will be locked.

The Parish Office will remain open as a communications hub, but it will not be possible to visit in person. Please contact the office via email or the telephone.

Pastoral Care and Support

The clergy will all be available by telephone and we are going to be at home much of the time. Do give us a ring is you need something, or you just need someone to chat to.

We have set up a buddy scheme with volunteers for ensuring that we can get groceries and over the counter medicines to those who are ill or self-isolating. It is best to contact your pharmacy about ensuring the supply of prescription medicines.

If you have practical experience and expertise in organising this sort of scheme I would be very glad to hear from you.

Food Bank

Please also remember those who use the food bank. They are likely to be the people who suffer most at this time. We will get in touch again about how we are going to organise that nearer the time of our usual collection.

Pray and be a good neighbour

Please look out for your neighbours, especially if they are elderly or chronically ill, pray and keep washing your hands.

A nice hack for Christians with hand washing is to say the Lord's Prayer as you wash your hands rather than singing Happy Birthday twice. It takes the same amount of time and is a good way to be regularly praying for those affected by COVID-19.

You are all in our prayers.

Yours in Christ

Mandy and the Ministry Team.