Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
So, another lock-down of sorts is with us, though only for 17 days, and not quite as severe as before. Nonetheless, the Cathedral, both shops, and the Refectory will be closed to the public from this Friday evening through to Monday morning, 9 November. However, we are still allowed to record / stream / broadcast services – and so will have the usual Sunday Eucharists on Facebook at 11.15am on 25 October and 1 November, and will be able to include hymns which you can sing at home, we hope! On Sunday 8 November, there will be a special service with an Act of Remembrance at 11am – more details will follow. Friday’s noon Pilgrim Prayers from the Shrine will also continue to be streamed. But there will be no other Sunday services nor a Wednesday morning Eucharist.
We will also continue with our plan for a special service for All Souls at 5.30pm on Monday 2 November, though this will also be on line, without congregation. On the Feast of All Souls, we will remember the names of all the deceased which are passed to us – though these will not be read out during the service that is put on line. If you would like anyone to be remembered, please can you send the names in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile clergy and vergers will continue to say the Offices daily in the Cathedral, but without any congregation present. If there is anything you would like remembered in our prayers, do send an email or let the Office know.
On Monday morning, as we awaited the First Minister’s press conference, this was part of one of the readings at the morning service, which particularly struck me: “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” St Paul’s words from the Letter to the Philippians (Phil 1:3-6) are an encouragement when our heart sinks at the news, and the prospect of what lies ahead. For our capacity to persevere lies in God’s steadfast, unwavering, love for us, and he is the one who will see us through – this is his gift, no matter whether we are feeling strong, or completely wobbly and overwhelmed. So let us remember one another in our prayers, and with joy too as we recall the loving fellowship of which we are a part and with whom we will soon be back together, through the coming fortnight-and-a-bit. And let us also use what opportunities we can, through phone calls, emails, zooms, WhatsApp, etc, to stay in contact and to share with one another the encouragement we have in Christ. If you feel you would like to speak with one of the clergy team, do be in touch directly or via the Office, as we are always available to the parish, even through these strange times (that said, Canon Leigh and Revd Sophie are currently on leave – Sophie is back from 26 October, and Leigh from 29 October; and I am then taking a break from 2 to 6 November).
With much love in Christ