16/06 – We are getting more information on how the diocese thinks we should organise ourselves for services and what needs to be put in place. So it all seems to be heading to restoring the use of the church in July for worship. The church is open for private prayer. However, by appointment only. Please contact the office or the vicar by phone or email.
29/05 – I have had this email form Bishop Peter, Bishop of Barking and acting Bishop of Chelmsford that I think will interest people.
“Many of us were expecting to hear the Prime Minister say something about places of worship, alongside shops and parks, in his statement on Thursday evening regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions. On scientific advice, the Government has however, decided church and other faith buildings must remain shut to the public until at least 4 July, which is targeted as the next milestone for easing restrictions beyond the current announcements.
I know that, like me, a lot of people will feel disappointed and frustrated by that. While, of course, the Church is not a building, for many people our sacred spaces are incredibly significant in their lives and faith as well as being at the centre of community life, especially at times of deep need as at present.
The Church of England bishops, led by the Bishop of London in this case, continue to work with the Government to ensure that we can begin to reopen our places of worship in a phased way as soon as it is deemed safe and practical to do so. Active planning is in process to that end, and detailed advice is being developed to help local churches plan for the practical challenges of enabling opening for individual prayer, weddings, funerals and other important rites to take place and then, in due course, a resumption of public worship services.”
12/05 – I thought this was quite useful, the full image is a comparison between Ireland and the UK in easing lockdown. Note that early July is the time indicated for places of worship to reopen.
06/05 – There has been nothing to report of late, but at last something worth hearing. The House of Bishops have backed a phased approach to revising access to church buildings. The bishops agreed that the timing of when to implement the revised advice on ministers or worship leaders praying and streaming from their church buildings should be made by individual Diocesan Bishops, depending on their local situation. That seems good news, so I will wait for any update from Chelmsford Diocese on access to our church building. Though I note it is only ministers or worship leaders who will be given access. I’m not sure that streaming a service by oneself is that simple.
We are experiencing a higher amount of items than usual being left outside charity shops in the borough at the moment.
Please store any items you are looking to give to charity responsibly at home, until the charity shops reopen. Please do not leave them in front of charity shops as they are now closed until further notice.
Any items left in front of charity shops will be classed as fly-tipping. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council are working closely with charity shops and anyone found to be fly-tipping will be prosecuted.
These are going to prove difficult and testing times for many, we need to support each other as much as is possible, without putting them or ourselves at risk. However, I personally think it is a time of great opportunity, but it will take a while to get our communications established and working well. This page will update you on what we are doing and the information we have from the Church of England and the diocese of Chelmsford..
FURTHER UPDATE FROM CHELMSFORD DIOCESE – 25th March
We have become aware this morning that there is some confusion and indeed disagreement over the use of our church buildings in the current coronavirus restrictions. It seems this arises out of a difference between the current government advice and our own diocesan guidance based on the national church’s instruction yesterday. The Church of England’s advice does go further than the governments guidance and comes from our own medical advice. In light of that advice we believe we need to take the lead in demonstrating how important it is to stay at home and that we can still be the church without our buildings, hard that is at present.
FURTHER UPDATE FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – 24th March
The Church of England strictly observes the new guidelines on staying at home and only making journeys that are absolutely necessary, such as shopping for essential items and to take daily exercise. Our church buildings must now be closed not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well and this includes the priest or lay person offering prayer in church on their own.
FURTHER UPDATE FOR THE CHELMSFORD DIOCESE – 22nd March
From Bishop Stephen. 22nd March – Because of the very large number of people contracting Covid-19 in London over the past 24 hours, from 6pm today all churches in London are being asked to close their doors. In solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Barking Episcopal Area and in anticipation of the fact that we may all have to do this shortly, I am asking every church in the Chelmsford diocese to now close its doors to those coming for private prayer.
Previous update from the Church of England
In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice.
This is taken from the Church of England website
We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.
We are your people God, giving and loving,
wherever we are, whatever it costs
For as long as it takes wherever you call us.
Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference