18th March 2020
This is an extra-ordinary letter to write as we find ourselves living in strange and anxious times, bearing in mind the fast-changing nature of the situation anything I say may well be out of date by the time your read it. Please keep yourselves updated about the Church’s response on social media and our website. It will be particularly important to find us on Facebook as if we are able to live-stream services it will be via this website.
Facebook St John’s, Sharow
Revd Ruth’s Personal Twitter @RuthNewton71
Revd Ruth’s Sermon Twitter @greening_the
Our present crisis is without precedence in our lifetime. For the first time since the Thirteenth Century the churches are closed for public worship. They are not however, closed for prayer, and I suspect that many of you may find comfort in spending time peacefully and alone in a holy and familiar building, where prayer has taken place for centuries. Since even those who are self-isolation are encouraged to walk for exercise (while keeping a distance from others) you might enjoy a walk round the beautiful churchyard where signs of spring are everywhere.
The unknown is frightening and the best we can hope for is inconvenience, some will become ill, lose loved ones or be affected financially. It can be overwhelming. Any-one wanting a confidential and listening ear at this uncertain time can feel free to ring Ruth Grenfell on 01765605771.
For some time now we have had a village pantry at St John’s. This is a take what you need foodbank. If you are struggling financially please take what you need -no-one will ever know. If you are not in financial need but need a meal or so to tide you over until you can get to the shops. Also feel free to use it and put a donation in an envelope marked “Village Pantry” in the wall safe. We will need people to keep topping it up, this is also easy to do. just drop off supplies at Church. There is an Ecover refill station of hand soap and washing up liquid. Again, pay using the wall safe. The parish council suggests that we avail ourselves of the traditional milkman whilst self-isolating.
Please follow all guidance about self-isolation and social distancing whilst at the same time keeping an eye on each other. We need to take care of ourselves and of other people. If anyone in Sharow, Copt Hewick, Marton le Moor and surrounding district needs some help or wishes to offer help please message Carol-ann Howe ( [email protected] ) or call Rosemary Triffitt 01765 605576.
We must try to find the opportunities amid the crisis, this might be a time to catch up with some old friends or distant family by phone. We may well have the most wonderful gardens this year as people are spending more time at home. It might be time to read the epic book you haven’t got round to, or write your autobiography. We might find space to hear from God, or to rail at him if it all gets too much.
I can scarcely imagine celebrating Easter without meeting together, but make no mistake about it we will celebrate, whether that is online, or by phoning each other and declaring “He is risen” or by decorating our homes with flowers and lighting our own paschal candles. We can still read our Bibles, and remember the story of Jesus’ suffering, sacrifice and glorious resurrection. A large supply of Bibles are available in Church to borrow (or keep) if you need them. Make pasche eggs, bake simnel cakes and hot cross buns (flour supplies permitting).
Indeed it is as such a time as this, that the Easter message of the costly love of Jesus, hope amid despair, and defiance in the face of death, really comes into its own. Don’t ignore it just because we aren’t meeting for services. It might be our most precious resource as we face up to this great challenge.
Happy Easter, if possible keep calm and eat chocolate.
The Revd Ruth Newton
Priest with Pastoral Care for the Parish of
Sharow with Copt Hewick and Marton-le-Moor