“ Many thanks to everyone who sponsored
Ruth Rogers and Richard Jones to take part in North Staffordshire Walk for
Christian Aid on the 28th March.
Of course the event was cancelled this
year but the need for the work of Christian Aid is greater than ever so we
shall both do the walk when it becomes possible later in the year. We hope you
trust us to do so. When the church opens again we will retrieve the sponsorship
forms and collect the money and send it to Christian Aid.
A suggestion originating from Bishop Keith (our Acting Bishop of Chester) for a simple way of praying on your own but still feeling connected with your church family 🙂
Take one hand and look at…
• Your thumb – pray for your family and church community, for all those who minister in our parishes and chaplaincies; • Your first finger – pray for the NHS, all emergency services, carers and support workers, all patients suffering from other diseases or chronic conditions, and for medical researchers looking for a vaccine against COVID-19; • Your second finger – pray for the Government and its advisers, for local government councillors and employees, for the self-employed, for those on universal credit, for those who make policies and laws, and all those making tough decisions; • Your third finger – pray for care homes, for staff working in retail, utilities and education, for all volunteers and charities, for the homeless, prisoners and all refugees, and those working with the most vulnerable in our communities; • Your little finger – pray for particular individuals known to you, for those whose relationships are under strain, for the anxious and fearful, and for yourself as a special child of God.
Each prayer focus for each thumb and finger could itself open up into prayer personally, locally, nationally, and globally.
Take the other hand and read out loud: “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12) and let your thumb and each finger represent one of these “clothes” we are to put on:
Thumb – compassion First finger – kindness Second finger – humility Third finger – meekness Little finger – patience
Then put your hands together, and let the “clothing” of one hand touch the people and places in the other, as you offer up your heartfelt prayers to God…
Maybe prayer like this could become part of our daily rhythm in this strange new time for us all. This Sunday night, if you can, wherever you are, light a candle at 7.00pm, and cry out to God in prayer for ourselves, our country and our world.
“Trust * Hope * Believe” are the words on a recent bookmark posted out to members of our congregation. As you know, sadly all places of worship nationally have been closed for public worship services in our collective effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest guidance is that church buildings may now be re-opened for public worship from 5 July onwards if it is safe to do so. The required risk assessment has been carried out. As our building development project is still very much a work in progress, we have decided that regretfully, for the time being, it is not yet practical or safe to open our doors for private prayer nor for public worship. However, we do encourage you to continue praying at home or out on your daily walks instead, especially following our “10 for 10” scheme together. Thank you for your ongoing patience and faithful support. We will continue to act in line with Government and Diocesan guidelines and will of course review this decision as the summer unfolds. With love and blessings, Veronica
The following letter from Bishop Keith is clear:
A number of queries have been raised following the new government and Church of England guidance about the reopening of church buildings for public worship, in particular how the government and Church guidance is clear that this can only be done when it is safe to do so, and the requirement of the Canons for there to be public worship every Sunday.
My view is that the Canons are like the skeleton in the body; they need to be strong and tough so that the body can thrive, but the skeleton is not the whole body. The Canons remain and are there for our good and the good of the whole church. They were not designed or are able to cover every circumstance of the Church’s life; they are not the muscles, the flesh, or the bloodstream, and without the Holy Spirit they are dead. As the guidelines make clear, the priority is safety, and I want to make it clear that if anyone asks for my direction in relation to longer-term delay in the opening of buildings for public worship my view is that we dishonour the intention of the Canons unless we open safely, and I will be very sympathetic to the incumbent and PCC as I make that call.
I hope this is helpful and enables us all to balance permissive and prescriptive well. Of course, in the Lord’s mercy, so much more has been given to us over these last weeks, especially with those who have joined our worship online. I am praying that as a diocese, we don’t miss what God has been giving to us in the responsibility we now have to reopen safely. Perhaps the time of July and August will help us in this preparing for this next stage and enable us to keep learning from what we have been through.
Can I repeat so many thanks to everyone for the resilience and endurance (even when it may have felt anything but) over these last weeks and reassert the recent message in the pastoral letter about rest, holiday and sabbath.
With love in Christ
(Scroll down for more recent news…)
St Oswald’s Church building will remain closed until further notice
There will be NO PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICES at St Oswald’s and NO REMEMBRANCE SERVICES at the COLUMBARIUM – until further notice.
Please do let the Vicar or Churchwardens know if you are self-isolating, or if you are aware of someone else who might need us to keep in contact with them by phone for reassurance or to assist with shopping etc. Alternatively you can contact us using the form below. Thank you.
Some current services will continue to be live-streamed from there, albeit without congregation or full choir.
Cathedral Precentor Jeremy Dussek has provided some prayers for the current troubled time:
For the world God of love and hope, you made the world and care for all creation, but the world feels strange right now. The news is full of stories about Coronavirus. Some people are worried that they might get ill. Others are anxious for their family and friends. Be with them and help them to find peace. We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists, and all who are working to discover the right medicines to help those who are ill. Thank you that even in these anxious times, you are with us. Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe. Amen.
For those feeling anxious Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
For those who are ill or in isolation God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
A prayer remembering God is with us Lord God, you are always with me. You are with me in the day and in the night. You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad. You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill. You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried. Today I am feeling … (name how you are feeling) because … (reasons you are feeling this way). Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything today. Amen.