Closure of Church Buildings
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
We have now been asked to close our church buildings. But we know that that Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is not made of buildings, but is made up of all of us who worship in spirit and in truth. We are the Body of Christ, and we are always open for business.
And our business now is to care for each other-- to care for our families, neighbors, communities, nation and the world. For some this will include doing shopping for those who cannot go out, phoning people to check on them and just enjoying a friendly conversation, using social media to stay connected with friends and family, or even video chatting. We need to help people stay mentally as well as physically health. So don’t be shy, phone a friend.
We also need to consider what we can do to support our wider community. Please support the Welcome Centre in Huddersfield and other charities as you can, they will be key in making sure the most vulnerable are cared for at this time.
Prayer: We are people of prayer. We know that God is with us at all times, but we most powerfully experience the grace of God in prayer, and through prayer most fully join in God’s love for Creation. Through prayer we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which penetrates and transforms our situation. It is the Holy Spirit that will strengthen us and enable us to be God’s hands in this world, at a time when we are all so vitally needed.
Spiritual Communion: I will be celebrating the Eucharist in the morning each day during this time and each of you can receive the Eucharist spiritually through this celebration, and also through your own act of spiritual communion. Nick, Bishop of Leeds encourages us in this in his recent letter. He tells us that: ‘The Eucharist can and should be celebrated … by the priest, but, in keeping with Catholic [i.e. universal Christian] tradition, Communion can be taken by the celebrant and received ‘spiritually’ by anybody else’. I have attached to this e-mail a guide I have made to help you make your own spiritual communion, and also another guide published by Church of England. Whatever you choose to use, spiritual communion will help sustain you during this time and I encourage all of you to make your spiritual communion regularly.
Morning and Evening Prayer: I will also be saying morning and evening prayer each day, during which time I will pray for all of you. I would encourage all of you to engage in some form of daily prayer, and to especially pray for NHS staff who will bear the heavy burden of this crises, some as in Italy will even be called to give their lives. Pray also for the police who will be caring for our communities, and all the volunteers and charities that will support and sustain us. Pray for our leaders that they will be guided by the best medical and scientific advice.
I feel blessed to be with all of you during this time.
May God’s blessing light upon each of you, and sustain you in all goodness.
Revd Jessica Malay