Its affect on the World and the Church
Let us take stock of the last year all that has been achieved been achieved but also our losses.
This was a scenario the public health community throughout the world and the World Health Organisation itself had feared for decades. A dangerous virus emerging and spreading rapidly around the world.
COVID-19 infects people when they come together, but coming together is also how we will beat it. 2020 saw the world unite against the virus, from small personal gestures to protect others, to international collaboration on research and innovation.
2020 ended with COVID-19 vaccines appearing on the scene particularly Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine
this was an extraordinary feat where Science, solutions and solidarity have come together and being the tools for addressing the biggest health threat of the past century.
I well remember (The Rector) Mothering Sunday 2020 (22 March), the news was not good, and COVID 19 cases were escalating we had a very reduced number of people in Church (16 – that is unprecedented. The Following day Monday 23 March the Prime Minister announced the first UK lockdown, telling the public they are only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including food shopping, exercise once per day, medical need and travelling to and from work when absolutely necessary. Shops selling non-essential goods were told to close, gatherings of more than two people in public were banned, events including weddings – but excluding funerals – cancelled. This had a massive impact on the whole faith community: Churches, Chapels, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples and other places of worship.
On 23 March the Archbishops issued a directive that Churches will now close even for private prayer – including by priests. Clergy live-streaming worship should do so from their own homes and are being urged to be as creative as possible with streaming services and other resources. “We must take a lead in showing our communities how we must behave in order to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus. “We must also do all that we can to provide resources and support for those who are isolated, fearful and vulnerable. “But we have to do this from our homes.”
There was widespread condemnation of the Archbishops Letter and it was widely ignored. Advice however came from the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Elisabeth Mullally, which was more sensible and widely appreciated. Following Easter Sunday 12 April 2020 Services took place in St Johns and were broadcast on YouTube. In late June Churches were permitted to open under strict conditions and this has continued until now. We experimented with bringing the Choir back but were then hit with a further lockdown. The Chalice was withdrawn at the very beginning and although there are ways to cover this I have felt it best not to here at St John’s.
Many restrictions were lifted for Christmas, although the City Club Carol Service was cancelled and so was that of our School, but our own was exceptionally good and the Choir magnificent. WE had both the Midnight Mass and the Christmas Day services, but thereafter 8.00am Holy Communion and Evensong were put on hold. Needless to say many Weddings and Baptisms were cancelled or re-scheduled in the future.
We look forward to a time when we can worship with our hearts minds and voices all in unison to defeat this little devil.