By now, you will be aware of the government’s latest advice and the growing restrictions being placed on our daily lives. The Archbishop of Wales sent out a message last night in response to Boris Johnson’s statement and further guidance and advice will be circulated later today.
In response to some queries about Paschal Candles; these will now have to be sourced online for those churches that do not yet have one. Clergy may well wish to bless and light them at the appropriate time (late on Holy Saturday or early on Easter Day) either on their own in church or in their homes. Many, I guess, will be wanting to live-stream this for their congregations online. We are becoming increasingly creative in staying connected with our congregations.
Those without internet access
In all the flurry of digital activity that is taking place (and which is wonderful to see), we must not forget those who are not connected to the internet. This will be the majority of the congregation in some of our churches. I hope that we can take as much time and effort in keeping people connected with a regular supply of hard copy resources as we are doing digitally.
Easter Offerings and regular giving
This is not an easy time to talk about money, and some may think it inappropriate to do so, but I would be failing in my duty as your bishop if I didn’t make you aware of the significant drop in income our churches are likely to get over the coming weeks and months. Without the regular giving that comes through Sunday collections, many are worried about their churches going bankrupt. If you are able to maintain your regular giving, and give by direct debit if you don’t already do so, that will help enormously and ensure that when this crisis is over our churches will be well placed to continue with their vital work in all the communities of our diocese.
Please also consider making a special offering at Easter in thanksgiving for all that God has done for us in raising Christ from the dead and raising us to new life in him.
We are aware of many good news stories from around the diocese that are worth sharing with one another. Please keep sending examples of your great work to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are sharing via social media can you please use #goodnewsworthsharing
Funerals and Memorials
Numbers at funerals are now being restricted, leaving many unable to say farewell to loved ones and friends at a formal service. Clergy will rightly want to assure families that there will be opportunity for a memorial and service of thanksgiving for them in due course. However, as none of us knows at the moment how long this is going to go on for, it is important that families are not promised anything that is going to be impossible to deliver. We may have to offer corporate memorial services rather than individual ones, and it may be next year before these can take place.