St Mary's Church, Billingshurst

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

17 March 2020 21:30

Dear friends,

Many of you will have heard on the news that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have taken the decision that we should suspend public worship in the Church of England for the time being in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. You can find their advice to us here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/archbishops-call-church-england-become-radically-different-public-worship

It is with sadness therefore that I have to write to you to say that we will be suspending all services for the time being, suspending house groups, and suspending all social and other activities in church and in St. Mary’s Room. It has become very clear from the news today that we have to keep social mixing to an absolute minimum to reduce the transmission of this illness. The Church Office will not be physically open, however emails will be dealt with and the answerphone checked for messages.

However, whilst we may no longer be meeting, it’s vitally important to realise that we are still the church of Jesus Christ in this place. We are still called to worship, to pray, and to serve. We are going to have to find new ways to be church together, and I will be writing again shortly to let you know what we are planning to do, and how we are planning to serve the people of Billingshurst in these difficult times.

Please pray: for our community, for our country, for those who are affected by the disease, for those who are afraid and for those who are struggling with being isolated. And please be assured of my prayers for you all.

Psalm 46 has really spoken to me today, and so I offer you these words to reflect on:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.’

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

With my love and prayers

David