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Priest-in-Charge: Rev’d Liz Cox The Vicarage, 27, Gillingham Green, Gillingham. KENT ME7 1SS

Tel: 01634 321546 Email

18th March 2020

Dear All

The follow up letter I promised. I hope this will set the way forward for us in the next days and weeks. I will continue to send these by email and paper copies to those who do not use email. If I have any hint of disease, I will send the electronic copies to someone else to deliver the paper copies. If you do not wish to receive these, please let me know. Or if you can receive them by email also let me know.

I have been principally thinking of how we can worship together, the following is what I have come up with. This morning a group of us on What’s App are “meeting” for Morning prayer. I will continue to do this every morning either from my study or St. Mary’s. Feel free to join me, either by saying it on your own or joining the Whats app group. I am attaching a paper copy of the liturgy for anyone who does not have a book at home. I will update this every week and send out the readings and psalms. For those with phone/internet access there is an app available to download from the church of England website. I will also be saying night prayer at 9pm every evening from my study. Again, that is available from the web site and I am attaching a copy, this does not change through the seasons.

On Sundays, although there are services on radio and TV and Rochester are looking at some live streaming, I would like us all to “meet” together at 10am. I will be saying my service in one of the Churches. I will put out a sheet every week, using prayers and absolutions that anyone, not just a priest can use. I will also put out a weekly “thought” which you can use or not as is right for you. As time goes on, those who are isolated will have an increasingly important ministry of prayer for all.

Everyday Mondays to Saturdays, starting tomorrow I will be in St. Mary’s from 9.15am to 10.15am with the doors open so that people can come in for private prayer and St. Barnabas from 2pm to 3pm. I know there is a suggestion of opening the churches during daylight hours for people to pray, if they can be cleared and all valuables locked away and no pcc members object, I think this is a good thing. People are always welcome to pray individually, although we must not be seen as a gathering. During these times the foodbank boxes will be in the porch for people to drop off items, this is vital as the foodbanks will be needed more than ever. There will be more for those of us not isolated and well can do, this will emerge as time goes on.

When it come to other services the advice is that marriages and funerals can still take place, although very much scaled down. Baptisms will be postponed for a while. I will be on touch with our bride in June and ask what she wants to do. There will be special arrangements reference banns.  The Maundy Thursday service at the Cathedral will not go ahead, but there may be a live streamed service.

I am working with others on a system that makes sure we make contact with every church member at least once a week, this is proving a little more tricky!

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

God Bless us all

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