A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
(English Standard Version)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Today, the Archbishops have written to all clergy that all public worship in our parishes be put aside for a time. This means our Sunday services and midweek gatherings, and also any baptisms and weddings that we planned into our diary. This is painful for many, a disappointment for some and a relief for others. In difficult days, emotions can be very jumbled up, can’t they. At St Wulstan’s we will continue to be family and continue to be present at the heart of our Warndon community. Just bear with us as we work out how that might be and what it might look and sound like.

As the challenge of the coronavirus grips the world, and as the Government asks every individual and every organisation to rethink its life, we are now asking the Church of England in all its parishes, chaplaincies and ministries to serve all people in a new way. Public worship will have to stop for a season. Our usual pattern of Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold. But this does not mean that the Church of England has shut up shop. Far from it. We need to look at new ways of serving everyone.

Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu
17th March 2020

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