News Article

Church life at this very unusual time

The image above the main doors of St John of Jerusalem shows the disciples in a boat during a storm. Jesus comes to them walking across the water.

"It is I", he says, "be not afraid". John 6.20

We're in a storm that doesn't involve water. Really important that we hear Jesus's words during the storm that we, and people around the world, are going through.

Dear all,

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours at this time.

I want to describe the shape of church life at this very unusual time.

This Sunday Morning (22 March)

You may have seen that our Archbishops have said that public worship needs to come to an end in Church of England churches, for now. We can gather, for the moment at least, in groups of ten or so, as long as we adhere to appropriate 'social distancing'. Between 10am and 1pm, there will be short reflections and prayers every half hour. If a lot of people come at once, we will need to restrict numbers so that appropriate 'social distancing' can be maintained.

So, if you'd like to come to church on Sunday, it would be great if you didn't all come at 10am when we usually meet.

Sundays After That

For now, the church will be open for private prayer between 10am and 12 noon with short prayers every half hour. Numbers will need to be around a maximum of ten and we'll have to be well spaced out. Government and church rules may change, and we'll change accordingly.

Staying at home on Sunday

If you're staying at home, for this Sunday we've copied below the Sunday readings and Collect. We'll get more imaginative about this as we go along. We want to provide for people a range of resources over this whole unusual period – however long it goes on for - so that prayers can be said at home by people. There are also a wide range of online resources which you can access from home. Return to the homepage and take a look.

Supporting Each Other

For now, I'd like to ask whether you would be willing to be part of a group of three or so, along with other members of the congregation. My thought is that we could form some small groups. People would simply commit, very informally, to making the odd phone call to one another - to see whether they are alright. If needs arise, they could be passed on to me and to other members of the Staff Team so that we can do our very best to address them. The idea is that each member of the group could offer support, but also be a recipient of support - should the need arise. A member of the congregation, Niul Dillon Hatcher, has very kindly volunteered to field any replies from members of the congregation to say whether they would be willing to be part of such a small group. The idea is that each member of the group could offer support, but also be a recipient of support - should the need arise.

Please could you write to Niul if you would be prepared to join such a small group on:

Niul will note down who would like to participate in this scheme, and we will then link people with one another, consulting with them about contact details.

General Wellbeing

Our spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing is going to be crucial over this period. I really want to focus on that and send out material that might be helpful to people.

Local volunteering

It's really important that we should offer care to the wider parish and not only within the congregation. I've been working with a group who have been leafleting individual streets offering support which is practical and safe. Generally people have been focusing on their street, or block, or on their immediate neighbours. The aim is to cover the whole of South Hackney.

If you'd like to do some leafleting, or organising, please fill in this form:

and then press 'submit' at the bottom. Please also forward the link to others who you think might be interested.

Prayer this Sunday Evening

Our bishops have asked us all to observe a National Day of Prayer this Sunday. In particular, we are all being invited to place a lighted candle (safely!) in our windows at 7pm this Sunday (22nd March). If you have any safety concerns at all, please forget about the candle and say a prayer at 7pm.

Services During the Week

We've been told that we have to cancel all Public Worship. So no midweek Eucharists on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Morning & Evening Prayers, however, are allowed to be said at 9am and 5pm between Tuesday and Friday. You'd be welcome to come to those services, though we'll have to be very careful about 'social distancing' and ensure that the chairs are two metres apart.

Prayer Every Day

I would also like to invite everyone to stop and say the Lord's Prayer every day at 12 noon during these challenging times. We can think and pray for one another at that time, and pray for the needs of the world. Please do that if you possibly can.

Please be in touch if you're in need of support during this period.

My number is 020 8985 5145.

Every possible blessing to you all. Andrew.

These are the readings, the Collect and the prayer requests for this Sunday, Mothering Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Lent

Collect: God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Reading: Colossians 3.12-17
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Gospel: John 19.25-27
Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, 'Woman, here is your son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.