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Bulletin no.37 - Wednesday 13 January

2 days, 16 hours ago

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the national lockdown continues, we pray that you are keeping safe. With concerns around the heightened increase in the rate of infection together with the appeal from a number of civic leaders and the Mayor of London that faith communities should voluntarily cease communal worship until transmission and infection rates reduce significantly, a large and growing proportion of our places of worship (see data below) in the Diocese have gone online. The Government has nevertheless permitted public worship to continue. Therefore, whether you opt to stay open (with a renewed risk assessment), or, decide to go entirely online for the time-being, please continue to take all relevant factors into consideration. We ask you to give this matter your continued attention and focus, adhering to public health advice at all times. This will also apply to going back to mixed mode worship in due course – we hope soon!

Across Southwark archdeaconries best estimates as follows:

  • Southwark: 80-85% online – Cathedral Chapter deciding similarly this morning
  • Lewisham and Greenwich: 80% online (with quadrupling of infection rates in just over three weeks)
  • Lambeth: 85%
  • Wandsworth: 70-80% online
  • Croydon: 60-70% and rising
  • Reigate: 80% in more inlying parts and 50% in outlying parts – beyond the M25

The Church of England provides online training for churches streaming online. Training ranges from beginners to more advanced.  Find out more here https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/digital-labs/digital-labs-webinars#na 

Cathedral Closure

A message from the Dean 

The Chapter of Southwark Cathedral met on Monday to discuss the closure of the church. Bishop Christopher joined us on this occasion. In other lockdowns we simply did what we were told to do, in law or guidance.  This is a different situation in which we can legally stay open for public worship and private prayer but in which we are being asked by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and the Leader of Southwark Council, Kieron Williams, to voluntarily close to reduce the number of occasions when people meet. This had to be a Chapter decision. 

After a good discussion Chapter decided that now was the time to close.  In this we are acting with other churches and places of worship in London including St Paul’s Cathedral, which had already made this difficult decision, and in accord with Bishop Christopher’s guidance to all the churches in the diocese that we each must make a local decision.  The closure of the Cathedral takes immediate effect. 

We will reopen as soon as the situation improves, and it will improve.  We always look forward in hope – but at the moment our priority is to keep one another safe. 

Worship will continue to be offered online at the following times:

Sunday

  • 9.00am - Morning Prayer
  • 11.00am - Choral Eucharist
  • 6.00pm - Night Prayer

Monday - Saturday

  • 9.00am - Morning Prayer
  • 8.00pm - Night Prayer

There are a number of ways for you to join us online for these services. You can view the service direct from this website here, or our YouTube page here, alternatively you may wish to join our friendly and welcoming online congregation at our Facebook page here

Mayor of London

In response to an e-mail to him from The Very Revd Andrew Nunn concerning the closure, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan wrote the following: “Good to hear from you Andrew and thank you for letting me know. Whilst the levels of the virus circulating in our communities are high as they are, I agree the safest course of action for all Londoners is to avoid communal worship for the time being. I really do understand how hard this is. Please pass my best wishes to the team at the Cathedral, and look forward to seeing you soon in safer times, Sadiq.”

Let us support and pray for the Mayor and all our civic leaders and the burden they are carrying at this time on behalf of the community.

Here is a link in the Evening Standard about the Cathedral closure https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/southwark-cathedral-closed-covid-b849825.html

Singing

There has been revised guidance on singing in churches. Here is the link

https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

Vaccination Centres

Bishop Christopher will be discussing with Archdeacons this week the question of churches opting to becoming vaccination centres. This is quite a complex process and there is good guidance available here on the C of E website should you be interested.

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-12/COVID%2019%20Churches%20as%20vaccination%20centres%20v1.0.pdf

Vaccination Volunteers

The NHS is looking for volunteers to help in the vaccine roll-out. Find out more here

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/join-the-nhs-covid-19-vaccine-team/#i-am-interested-in-volunteering

Vaccine Hesitancy

There still remains some hesitancy regarding the vaccinations’ safety.  Attached is a vaccination Q and A which should help answer questions that may arise. Here is the link https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-12/COVID%2019%20Vaccines%20update%20v1.0.pdf

Supporting Key Workers

Please remember to continue to support in prayer and solidarity NHS staff and care workers who are all under enormous pressure currently and cumulatively. Please consider making contact with those you may know to express gratitude and encouragement perhaps by making a telephone call.

Remembering those working with the bereaved

Our corporate prayers on Tuesday, focused on Funeral Directors, cemetery and crematorium staff, local and national organisations that support the bereaved like At A Loss. Please continue to pray for them and our hospital chaplains who are on the frontlines in supporting the sick, dying and grieving families.

Thank you for your grace, patience and resilience in adapting to the changing tides that come our way.  You continue to be a blessing to your parishes and communities. We are encouraged by the feedback we are receiving that many of you find these bulletins extremely useful, empowering and equipping.

With our continued thanks and prayers for all that you do,

The Coronavirus Task Group

(Bishop Christopher, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, the Venerable Alastair Cutting, Ruth Martin and Sophia Jones)