Letter from the clergy - Friday 11 September 2020

First published on: 10th September 2020

Dear All,

As time goes on it may be that we are getting used to living with uncertainty, and constantly feeling ‘on the edge’, as we watch the rising figures of Covid infection in the Leeds area, but it can feel very unsettling. What can we do to give us a sense of stability and rootedness in these challenging times?

Drawing together as a church family is definitely one thing that can help, and our first reading this Sunday (Romans 14.1-12) has much to teach us about living together in unity in a way which encompasses and supports those who are struggling. There’s a real sense of mutuality, as St Paul encourages his readers to consider the effect on their brothers and sisters in Christ of how they choose to live out and practice their faith. They are not to just look out for themselves, but for what will help to strengthen others in their faith. Kindness and consideration will go a long way to helping people to feel like they are accepted and included, rather than feeling judged or somehow not quite good enough in the eyes of others, and St Paul’s message is just as relevant to us today as it was to the people he was writing to in Romans. This sense of mutual responsibility when dealing with others is something that we are all facing, as a society, as well as a church community, and of course as Christians we have access to the grace of God as we pray, and learn how to live with the wide range of situations that we now find ourselves in. If you are able to do catch up with Shirley’s sermon on this subject, either online or in person in church on Sunday.    

I know that some of you are finding our 9.30am service too early. At PCC this week, we discussed the options, and we feel that we are not yet ready to return to two services each Sunday morning, but we will review this, and hope to be able to widen our service provision in the coming weeks. Do pray for the Wardens and for PCC as we try to make wise decisions, mindful of the capacity of all those involved to deliver worship, both online and in person, that is meeting the needs of our congregation, yet ensuring that we are all keeping safe.  

Some of you may have been concerned by the recently introduced ‘rule of six’ and wondering if it applied to church services. The good news is that no it doesn’t. We can all still gather to worship God in church, so long as we maintain our ‘Covid-secure’ practice of social distancing (two metres), a one-way system, hand sanitising, wearing face coverings etc. Be reassured, we have all these measures in place, and we would love to see you in church on Sundays.

Next week (20th September), we are looking forward to seeing Bishop Chris Edmondson, who is coming to preach (both online and in church) and to take our 9.30am Communion service. Chris was originally due to come on Palm Sunday, so he is pleased to be able to come in person at last. Some of you may remember his cousin, Charles Edmondson, who was organist at St John’s many years ago. If so, I’m sure he’d love to hear your reminiscences after the service.

A Blessing (Niteblessings)

May you find beauty in the ordinary and hidden moments of life.
Amidst your daily choices, may you find the shimmering wonders of grace, hope and love.
May you see the jewel of God’s mercy in the most unusual of places, and may your heart be full of thankfulness.

With grace and peace,
Sue McWhinney         
sue@stjohnsfarsley.org.uk         
07484 181699


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