Coronavirus Response

Letter from Bishop Stephen regarding the Closure of Church Buildings in Chelmsford Diocese 22-Mar onwards
Because of the large rise in the number of people contracting Covid19 in London over the past 24 hours, from 6.00pm today all churches in London are being asked to close their doors. In solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Barking Episcopal Area every church in the Chelmsford diocese will now close its doors to those coming for private prayer.
The offering of worship will still go on each day and clergy and appropriately authorised or licensed lay ministers can still lead services in church.
But we can no longer open our doors to those who may wish to come and pray in church. We make this decision with huge sadness, but believe it is the right thing to do.
In the meantime, the diocese will continue to work hard to provide resources for people to pray and worship at home.

If you have an emergency, need support and/or need to speak to Rev’d Ann, please call The Rectory on 01277 821366. And we also have the amazing team of volunteers from the Doddinghurst Community Support too.


Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

'The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling for Church of England churches to put public worship on hold and become a “different sort of church” in the coming months to face the challenge of coronavirus.
In a joint letter, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice.

But they said that far from having to “shut up shop”, the Church of England must face the challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.

It comes after the Government announced unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of the virus, with restrictions on public gatherings, transport and working.

The Archbishops expressed the desire that church buildings may, where practical, remain open as places of prayer for the community, observing social distancing recommendations.

They also invited clergy to maintain the ancient pattern of daily prayer and, where possible, the eucharist – live streaming their worship if they have the resources to do so.

And they urged congregations to be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable during the crisis.

“Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead,” they wrote.

“Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.

“We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support.

“Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it. Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open. There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable and do continue to play your part in those.

“Then by our service, and by our love, Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that can counter fear and isolation - will spread across our land.”

They added: “This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly are a church for all, or just the church for ourselves.

“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”

The archbishops have joined other church leaders in calling for a day of prayer and action this Sunday (Mothering Sunday) particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services.

Further information on what the suspension of public worship will mean will be available as soon as possible on the Church of England website. This page will be regularly updated.

The Church will be providing a range of resources to enable people to continue to walk with God at this difficult time. This includes #LiveLent daily reflections, prayer for the day audio and text and Alexa and Google Home smart speaker apps.

In the days and weeks ahead, the Church will be significantly expanding this output with audio of a simple daytime prayer and night prayer service, more video content and some live-streaming, new mental health reflections to support people, and webinars to help churches stream sermons, events and make the most of social media. Read more here. The aim will be to make as much as possible available in simple downloadable and printable formats for those who can’t easily access the technology.

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