This is update #1 (17/03/20) regarding our response across the Parish of St Peter-in-the-Forest, Walthamstow, to the COVID-19 virus. Please check our Facebook and Twitter accounts @StPeterE17, and on our ‘St Peter-in-the-Forest E17’ YouTube channel, for latest updates, and for online ministry, going forward.
Our aim in issuing these updates is to reassure parishioners, stakeholders and the wider community that we are taking every step to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our neighbours.
We continue to follow the advice given by the Church of England nationally, and also locally from the Diocese of Chelmsford, and also from HM Government and Public Health England.
These updates will be issued as necessary with an update being issued at least weekly, on Mondays, until further notice.
Services / Ministries:
Until further notice, the regular Sunday Parish Eucharist will be suspended. Similarly, all other gatherings for parish worship, prayer or study on our premises.
Subject to the availability of a minister, some ‘online ministry’ will be filmed (or audio-recorded)from our Peter Chapel or private homes, and made available through the internet.
Decisions about the shape of our shared worship and devotions during Holy Week and Easter will be made soon and will be updated here.
Peterhouse Church & Community Centre:
The Centre remains open for use, within the restrictions advised by HM Government. Regular partners’ use of the building is, however, expected to follow that guidance, for the common good.
Small gatherings of people will continue to be permissible at the Centre, at the discretion of the Vicar and Parish Officer. Larger gatherings of people, in so far as they are directly administered by the Vicar and PCC - hall-based activities, such as private parties, for instance - will be suspended from the weekend commencing 21 March 2020, and until such time as official guidance advises their safe resumption.
We will continue to clean the Centre thoroughly and regularly, including raised levels of disinfection of surfaces upon which hands may be placed.
Public health notices are placed around the building, and all users are asked to abide by the best hygiene practice identified there.
We remain deeply committed to caring for our community at this time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, especially for the elderly, the isolated and the vulnerable.
We have a Pastoral Care Team who are willing and able to contact parishioners by telephone. To receive help in this way, please get in touch with us via the parish office (on 02085091811 (parish office) or 07871584997 (the Vicar's direct mobile phone) or via email on email@example.com)
Please note: we have been advised to be very careful as regards visiting in person to ensure that we do not spread the virus to people who might already be vulnerable.
Please do remember to check on the wellbeing of your neighbours and any people who are particularly vulnerable at this time, and please help us to do the same.
We are encouraging all in our community to keep on giving at this time, as our parish income is already down yet our outgoings remain highly static.
We will communicate to parishioners via our weekly parish social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) throughout the week, and through paper notices on our church doors and noticeboards.
We will communicate to major stakeholders in our Peterhouse Centre through our information management system, ChurchDesk - please check for notifications, regularly.
The Standing Committee and PCC of the parish will respond quickly and decisively to this rapidly changing situation.
You can find out more from the Government website, here.
And from the Church of England’s site,here.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to be in contact if you require further information.
Many thanks. Go well,
Fr Paul Trathen
Vicar, St Peter-in-the-Forest, Walthamstow
Most importantly we, as people of faith, are called to pray for those who are ill and those who care for them; for those whose lives and livelihoods are affected, and for those whose work is to look for solutions, vaccines, and a way through this situation.
We are also called to have hope in the God who loves us, and not to live fearfully or selfishly.
Please pray fervently with us as we seek to serve and love our community, and one another, with wisdom, kindness and care.
A prayer about the Coronavirus outbreak:
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
For those in isolation:
God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For those who are ill:
we entrust to your unfailing and tender care,
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold us safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For hospital staff and medical researchers:
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for when you can’t get to church:
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care. Amen.
A prayer for the World:
God of love and hope,
You made the world and care for all creation.
But the world feels strange right now.
The news is full of stories about Coronavirus.
Many people are anxious because of it.
Many people are anxious that they might get ill.
Many people are anxious about their family and friends.
Be with them in their worries and help them to find some peace.
We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists who are working to discover the right medicines to give hope to those who are ill.
Thank you that even in these strange and worrying times, you are with us.
Help us to look for the signs of your goodness and love towards us. Amen.