Dear Friends

Thank you for all your kind messages of support and well wishes for Sabina and I on our honeymoon in India - I know that many of you are anxious about our status, and equally I am concerned for all of you in the light of the COVID-19 situation throughout the world.  We are safe and well with family in the Punjab, though we have cancelled our plans for sightseeing, we had a good, and careful, time in Kerala, and are enjoying wonderful hospitality whilst we all stay home and away from public places. We are investigating how and whether we might return home, but it may be that we have to have an extended stay here in India, where cases of the virus are presently low and precautions have been taken to prevent its spread.

As you know, we are going through unprecedented times, and the number of stories (many of them conflicting) in our various news outlets seem to be adding to rather than assisting our sense of anxiety and concern. The advice from our governments, on the other hand, continues to be clear and strong and we should heed that and work with our authorities in taking all sensible precautions to slow down, and hopefully arrest, the spread of this virus.

As such, we are being recommended to stay at home, and all of our public worship has been cancelled at the direction of our Bishop, for (at the moment) sixty days. This does not mean that stop being a church community, and I am grateful to Kevin, our acting Priest-in-Charge, for the prayerful and compassionate response he is giving, in partnership with our wonderful staff team, in order to keep our common life (albeit at a distance) continuing. Pastoral care, the broadcasting of our main service, and prayerful action continue, and Kevin and the team will continue to be available via email and phone in the coming days.

At this time, I urge you all to continue to pray, reach out to one another via any means of communication at your disposal, check in on the most vulnerable in our community, and heed the advice of our provincial and federal leaders in continuing to isolate ourselves, and careful handwashing and hygeine measures. Please practise self-care, and avoid those news outlets and social media that seek to sensationalise and increase anxiety. We would do well to go back to the words of Jesus "peace I leave you, my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14.27).  Also, the words of Mother Julian of Norwich who, having survived and lost loved ones to the Bubonic Plague could still say "All will be will, and all manner of things shall be well."

I am praying for you all, and praying for all those who are suffering from this virus, and for all anxious for themselves and loved ones. Likewise, and I cannot say this enough, please continue to pray, to take all sensible steps to care for yourselves, and continue to be the loving, supportive, community which I continue to feel so privileged to serve and be a part of.

With my love and prayers,