St Paul’s and the COVID-19 emergency: a pastoral letter from Reverend Susan Bolen

Dear friends,

Following the directives of the Government in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the absolute need to reduce the spreading of the coronavirus, the time has now come to keep our church buildings locked. All public services at St Paul’s have been suspended until further notice. In line with instructions from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, our clergy will remain in their homes for the coming weeks and extend a ministry of love remotely. This is in solidarity with the national effort to control the spread of the disease, protect our NHS and save lives.

We live as part of praying communities and these are not in any way restricted to buildings but to our being part of the Body of Christ. We will continue to maintain the ancient pattern of prayer – Daily Morning and Evening Prayer will be offered and the Sunday Holy Communion service celebrated.  These services will be conducted by the clergy from home on behalf of the whole church community, parish and wider world.

In addition, we invite you to join us and the rest of the Diocese each day at 1 and 7 pm as we say the Lord’s Prayer, the wonderful words of which remind us of God’s ever present reality in our lives. Where it is safe to do so, perhaps you could light a candle in your window each evening as a symbol of Christ’s light in our world at this dark time.

We offer our prayers for those working in our hospitals, those co-ordinating the response to COVID-19, all those working to sustain essential services – supermarkets, pharmacies, transport, our police, care services – our local and national government, and all those who may come under extra pressure as a result of the current pandemic.

A different church…
Going forward we now face the challenge of becoming a radically different kind of Church, rooted in prayer and serving others. We have a small band of volunteers, who have kindly offered their help to the elderly, isolated and infirm who might need assistance with shopping, a phone call or any help.  We will do our utmost to continue to offer this support.

Our main 10 am Sunday Eucharist service, which I will celebrate from home, will be available to view on YouTube each week at the regular time.  You can subscribe to our new YouTube channel – St Paul’s Wimbledon Parkside – and turn on ‘post notifications’ (the bell icon next to the subscribe button) to be notified when new content is uploaded. You will also be able to see and hear Daily Prayer, which I will offer at 9 am and 6 pm.

Click here to go to our YouTube Channel and register:  St Paul’s Wimbledon Parkside

We will be exploring new ways to reach out to our congregation and the wider community over the coming weeks.  We hope to have our services live streamed in the near future.  Please keep referring back to the St Paul’s website for information on new developments

We will continue to serve all members of our community as effectively as possible, regardless of faith.

Reaching out to us
During the period that St Paul’s remains closed to the public, you may reach us as follows:

Guy Booth
Parish Administrator
e:  office@stpaulsparkside.org.uk
m:  07533 652 695

Although the Parish Office will be closed to visitors, normal public hours will remain Wednesday – Friday 09.30 am to 12.30 pm.  If calling outside these times, please leave a message and we will respond to you.

Revd Susan Bolen
Priest-in-Charge
e:  revsusan@stpaulsparkside.org.uk
m:  07540 383081

If you are self-isolating or socially distancing and you need help with deliveries of groceries, medication or other essential supplies, and particularly if you are alone or vulnerable, please contact us and we will help put you in touch with the support you need.

A Prayer for all those affected by Coronavirus
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

With every blessing to you,

Revd Susan
Reverend Susan Bolen
Priest-in-charge
St Paul’s Wimbledon Parkside