Nativity Service link
Dear St Michael's church familyIt will grieve you greatly, as it does me, to learn that we have decided not to permit church members to attend services in person at St Michael's until further notice.This decision has not been taken lightly, but with heavy hearts and careful thought. I consulted the wardens yesterday concerning the new Tier 4 and its implications. We note what the Archbishop of Canterbury has said:
“Even though attending public worship is permitted, many people may feel it is currently better they do not do so. Clergy and others who are shielding should certainly feel no compulsion.
At this time of year - even this year - we celebrate the birth of Jesus with joy and hope. Jesus came to bring light that shines in the darkness. We need that light now and always.”Whilst it might be technically possible for us to allow congregational attendance, there was a unanimous belief that we just did not feel comfortable or that it was wise.I will be phoning those who have booked in to come to the services to let them know (if you're booked and get this before I phone, pls do email me to say you know - unless you'd like to chat anyway .. which is always nice!).I will keep you posted and can only stress again how sorry I am to have to share this - whilst being sure (such as we ever can be) that we're making the right decision.One of the many things I pray for, for us as a church, is that we are united as the body of Christ. That we are unanimous now, even with a heavy heart, encourages me. May this fuel our prayers for others in our church family - especially those who are on their own. If you'd like to contact someone and don't have their number, please let me know: if I can pass it on, I will.In summary, this means that all previously publicized services will now be on Zoom only, led by just the core skeleton team from the church building. I've written a prayer at the bottom, which you may like to use, as we cry to God for help at this time.With love in Christ
CARLDear loving heavenly Father. When your Son was born as a human, the angels burst into praise in heaven together. The shepherds and wise men each travelled together. Jesus' ministry is to gather your chosen ones together. And yet this Christmas we may not gather together. This grieves us greatly and we cry to you for comfort. We pray especially for those who have been isolating for all these months, for whom this change makes no difference: they have suffered so much. Strengthen them in love for you, we pray; give them each day a growing peace as they wait for the Lord Jesus to return and, in the meantime, for restrictions to be lifted when it is safe. We pray also for those who will face Christmas on their own, because loved ones may not visit now. May they know they are not alone, because you are with them. Help each of us to consider whom we might encourage this week - with a phone call or knock on the door, such as we are able. We pray all these things confident in your power and wisdom to answer them with all your love. Amen.