Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu have said that it is now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice. But they expressed the desire that church buildings may, where practical, remain open as places of prayer for the community, observing social distancing recommendations.
Coventry Cathedral will normally be open between 10 am and 4.30 pm for private prayer and reflection. You are welcome to enjoy the space long as you are free of symptoms but please keep a distance of 2 metres between yourself and other people.
The Ruins will normally be open between 8.30 am and 4 pm. Again, please keep a distance of 2 metres between yourself and other people.
All services of public worship are suspended until further notice but you can still participate in our prayer and worship. The archbishops invited clergy to maintain the ancient pattern of daily prayer and, where possible, the eucharist – live streaming their worship if they have the resources to do so. We’re planning to live-stream Morning Prayer and Holy Communion at 9.15 am via our Facebook page each day – please click here. If technical issues prevent live-streaming, a recording of the service should be available very soon afterwards. Details of today’s psalm and readings are available here. For those who would like to use our daily cycles of prayer, the link is here.
And they urged congregations to be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable during the crisis.
“Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead,” they wrote.
“Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.
“We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support.
“Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it. Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open. There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable and do continue to play your part in those.
“Then by our service, and by our love, Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that can counter fear and isolation – will spread across our land.”
They added: “This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly are a church for all, or just the church for ourselves.
“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”
The archbishops have joined other church leaders in calling for a day of prayer and action this Sunday (Mothering Sunday) particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services.
The Church is providing a range of resources to enable people to continue to walk with God at this difficult time. This includes #LiveLent daily reflections, prayer for the day audio and text and Alexa and Google Home smart speaker apps.
In the days and weeks ahead, the Church will be significantly expanding this output with audio of a simple daytime prayer and night prayer service, more video content and some live-streaming, new mental health reflections to support people, and webinars to help churches stream sermons, events and make the most of social media. The aim will be to make as much as possible available in simple downloadable and printable formats for those who can’t easily access the technology.
God of healing and hope,
in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear.
Look with mercy on those who have contracted the new virus,
on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger.
Through this time of global concern,
by your Holy Spirit bring out the best and not the worst in us.
Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other,
and of the strength that comes from being one body in you.
Through Christ our wounded healer.
Sam Wells, St Martin in the Fields
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our own children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms round each other,
let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.
Writer of prayers.
Seattle mom & maker.
Generally just bumbling around, thinking about God.