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Dear Friends  

In these times of uncertainty and anxiety I realise that many of us continue to struggle with feelings of concern and disconnection, and I wanted to write to remind us that we are not alone in these feelings which are being experienced by many of us. At the same time, I also wanted to remind you that though we are apart we are still seeking to get through this together, and St Johns’ is seeking to offer ways to connect, to know that you are loved, prayed for and still welcome to be a part of our community in a different way in these different days.  

I know there are many of us who have been surprised and disappointed by the need for Dr Bonnie Henry to make a Public Health Order which includes the suspension of worship gatherings in person until at least 7th December, and which may well need to be extended depending on the spread of COVID-19 in the intervening time. For many of us we felt that we were just getting to grips with the new physically distanced and safety protocol version of life and worship, and then this has once again changed everything.  

There have been many enquiries to the office over the past thirty-six hours or so about what we are going to do at St John’s, and rather than give mixed messages I wanted to wait until we were absolutely sure about what we could do before I wrote to you all.  So here I am!  

For many of us, the presence of a celebration of the Eucharist, and the careful choice and provision of music in our weekly gatherings is important, even when we are unable to attend. For others of us the sense of intimacy and the opportunity to have more voices as part of worship was a valuable part of our Zoom gatherings we had previous to the re-opening of our church building in September.  

As such, and very much in an experimental way, we are going to attempt from tomorrow, November 22nd, for our 10am service to create a hybrid of the Zoom service many enjoyed, but this time with music and a Eucharistic liturgy being shared from the Church. This Zoom ‘worship meeting’ will lead into a coffee hour to which all are welcome and can take the form of a general discussion or smaller ‘breakout rooms’,  The service will be available to watch on our YouTube channel both as a livestream and a video available to watch any time.   We will be sharing the zoom link later this evening, at the same time as we share our Bulletin for the service.          

Our Evensong will continue to be led by David and the Choristers along with a minister and reader only in the Church and will be broadcast at 5.30pm every Sunday and available to watch later.  If and when any of this changes we will let you know as soon as decisions are made.  

Our weekday prayers continue to be available online each day at noon via our website. Our ‘Cocoa (or cocktails) and Compline’ service will be starting up in the near future.  

I continue to remember you all in prayer, and as we go into another lockdown if you would like a call from myself or a member of the pastoral team please do get in touch via my cell, which is in the Parish Directory or I can send you my number via email if you connect with me on [email protected] – I will answer calls and mails as best I can, and will get back to you if you leave a message for me.  

If you previously have been part of our calling chain and opted out, but would like to have someone from the community contact you occasionally to check in, please do email the office and we will make sure those calls resume.  

We are all tired, we are all bearing the weight of uncertainty, but we realise that these measures are in place to seek to keep us safe and healthy, and for that we give thanks. If there is anything we here at St John the Divine can do for you please do not hesitate to be in touch.  

With my love to and prayers for your all, and with thanks for our partnership in the Gospel  

Alastair