On Saturday the Prime Minister announced that new lockdown restrictions will come into force in England from Thursday. The details of what this will mean for our communities are not yet settled but it is clear that this month will be challenging for us all, and for the communities we serve. The way in which we worship will once again need to change, but our commitment to bringing light and hope to our communities remains unwavering.
Detailed new restrictions are due to be clarified in the coming days. Although services in our buildings will no longer be possible, we understand that the new guidelines will allow churches to remain open for private prayer and will also enable online worship to be broadcast from the church building.
The first national lockdown encouraged us to be creative in our use of digital media so that congregations could continue to join in communal worship from their homes. It was also wonderful that so many churches across the diocese served their local communities through the hardship of lockdown, working with voluntary groups, and others to care for the vulnerable. Let us pray for each other that our church communities will once again respond to these latest restrictions with similar devotion, ingenuity, and faith.
The Archbishops and the Bishop of London have issued a call for a month of prayer in response to the lockdown. We would encourage you all to read the Archbishops' letter of encouragement and to join with them in prayer. Like us, the Archbishops are grateful for the energy, hard work, and creativity that you have all demonstrated in previous months, and we pray that this will continue through the difficult weeks ahead.
We will keep you updated as further advice is issued by Government and the National Church, and more information will be available on the National Church website.
With our prayers for you all,
Bishop Tim, Bishop David and Bishop Debbie