A Statement on the Corona Virus
At the request of the government, we have had to cease all public acts of worship and events. In order to ensure Church is as safe as possible, we are following strict guidelines and putting in place a contingency plan.
Sadly, at the direction of the government the church is no longer able to be open for private prayer and reflection, but we are doing all we can to ensure that the people of our villages remain safe and spiritually cared for. It is really important that we keep our spirituality nurtured during these challenging times and that we pray for this situation. Our prayer and Christian discipleship will be very important to our communities over these coming months.
Please don’t lose hope and try not to panic or fall into fearfulness. Our Lord is a great strength to us in times of adversity such as these. It will be difficult for us all to adjust to the way that we need to live over these coming months. I would urge you most strongly, however, to follow the direction of the government and medical experts. If you fall into any of the categories that need to self-isolate, please do so. I know this will be a challenge, but amidst the slow-down perhaps there is opportunity to deepen our faith and use the time that we will have to read, pray, exercise and reflect. It is a good opportunity to slow down a little. Above all, we must do what we can to support one-another, being mindful of the correct protocols for keeping ourselves and others safe.
At the direction of the government, public acts of worship have now been cancelled for the foreseeable future in order to minimise the risk of infection.
So included in this pack are a few things that might help in the weeks ahead.
We will live stream as many services as possible via Facebook and over the telephone – a brilliant way to get your spiritual fix if you are stuck at home.
You can access many of our services on Facebook at www.facebook.com/boxriverbenefice/
You can listen to many of our services live on your telephone by calling 03300 881939 and then entering the access code 120899 when prompted to do so.
A Holy Eucharist will be offered on behalf of the entire benefice at 11am each Sunday. Whilst I appreciate that not physically receiving Communion will be very difficult for many of us, this service will offer the opportunity to engage in spiritual communion together. We will still be the Body of Christ as we are united through the sacrament and our coming together in worship, albeit not in the same building.
Morning Prayer will be at 8.30am Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Evening Prayer will be on the same days at 5.30pm.
Also included in your pack are:
- An updated Holy Week schedule.
- Service sheets for both Morning and Evening Prayer for you to use at home.
- A copy of the lectionary readings for the next 3 months so that you can keep in sync with the readings that the church will be following.
- A short book of prayers. Why not say some when you wake up, at lunchtime and before going to bed?
You can also access regular services on BBC Radio 4 longwave at 9.45am each day. The Bishops are also streaming regular services here: www.facebook.com/BishopsCofESuffolk/
The Benefice does not currently have a contact list for all its parishioners. Therefore, I enclose a contact details form. It would be tremendously helpful if you could fill it in and return it to me. That way we will have some way of contacting you (other than by post) should the need arise during these coming months.
Working together with the Community Council, we have put in place a phone tree in order to support those who are sick. The Community at Newton have put together something similar specifically for the people who live in Newton Green. We wish to do all we can to witness to our Christian calling of care and compassion and to aid those experiencing illness or isolation. If you know of someone who is ill and could do with some support or a spiritual boost, do let us know:
- For loneliness, pastoral, general wellbeing or spiritual care needs call Box River Benefice email@example.com or 01787 210434,
- For practical needs whilst isolated (such as shopping, supplies, walking the dog etc.) call the Community Council Hub on BoxfordCommunityHub@gmail.com or 07395 914959 (Boxford, Edwardstone and Groton)
- If you live in Newton call: 07881383998 or 07802872707.
- For medical assistance call NHS Direct on 111
There may come a time in the future when we need to seriously look at how we can provide basic food and supplies to people in need. This is not a necessity yet, but may be in future months. In light of this, it seems a good idea to gently introduce something informal now so that we are ready should there be an escalation of need later on. So St Mary’s, Boxford and the Community Council have together set up a Bring and Share centre. This has some basic supplies available for people to help themselves to if they are in desperate need. It also encourages individuals that have a few extra supplies they don’t need to drop them off so that others can make use of them. This is a wonderful Christian witness, please do support it. Just dropping off a few bits when you are passing the church would be a great help. And, of course, please do use it if you find yourself in need.
Our churches are likely to experience financial struggles over the coming months, and we will incur unexpected expenses as we try our best to do our Christian service to our villages. Because public worship cannot now happen, our income is likely to reduce significantly. Please be mindful of this and try to continue giving, if you can. That way our ministry can continue to be resourced.
Thank you very much indeed for all of your support. Stay well and keep safe. And don’t forget to call if you or someone you know is isolated and needs support or a spiritual boost.
Wishing you every blessing during these challenging times.
May God bless you and all those you love and care for,