A letter from the Vicar
Saturday 21st March 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
These are challenging times in which we live. This last week has seen the national and even local picture change beyond recognition in so many ways.
As human beings we have an innate desire to be with other people physically, mentally and spiritually. That is certainly true for our communities in Northumberland and within the life of the Church. We invest so much of ourselves in building people up and promoting fellowship. This is why our necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a struggle for us to adjust to. Now we are for a time being urged to maintain physical distance and to cease our usual gatherings.
You will most likely be aware by now that the Archbishop’s of Canterbury and York have instructed us to hold off all acts of public worship for the time being. This comes as a huge shock, and we are very quickly trying to look at how we can be church even without coming together as the Body of Christ. Sadly this means that we can’t have any services at Saint Bartholomew’s until further notice.
Whilst this is proving to be painful and stressful, I fully support the reasoning behind this decision. I also believe that the work of the church continues in Newbiggin as long as we keep praying and serving our neighbour. Of course, many of us will need to self-isolate over the coming weeks. If this includes you then I would urge you to follow the guidance to do so. One way that we can continue to be church is to pick up the phone or drop and email. Please keep in contact with one another as best as possible. I too would love to hear from you… so please drop me an email or a call to tell me how you are. I also want to say that if you find that you are in need, then don’t suffer it alone. Let someone know. One of the great things that has come about from this situation is that people in our community are stepping up and offering practical, emotional and spiritual help. Perhaps this has brought out the best in us in some ways?
For the coming weeks you might like to visit the Church of England webpage for prayer resources that can be used at home. These offer some common material that can help to remind us that we are still members of one Holy Church. The link is https://www.churchofengland.org/
For the time being let us see this situation as an opportunity for reflection and renewal. We know that Jesus went to the wilderness for prayer and rest, and so it is that this just might be what God is doing for us now.
Once again, please keep in touch and be sure of my prayers for you and this parish.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Anthony O’Grady
Tel: 01670 817220 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org