News & Views

Thoughts on the Pandemic

Dear Friends,

It was one year ago that I left Dorchester and the Diocese of Salisbury and I am pleased to be asked to make a guest appearance in the pages of the magazine for September 2020. What a time we have had of it! In the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic many of us drew encouragement and hope from the words of Her Majesty The Queen:

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

Communities of Hope

I have appreciated over the last few months having a little extra time to read and one of the books I have been challenged by has been ‘Accompaniment, Community and Nature’* by one of our local clergy, the Revd Canon Jonathan Herbert.

It is easy to think of Christian Community as a rather exclusive thing, with its own rules and rhythms known only to those who belong there. Far from it, writes Jonathan, as he describes some of his own experiences of communities of hope and welcome, including two in our diocese – Pilsdon and Hilfield.

Where is God in all this?

Ten years ago I led a team of workplace chaplains in Cambridgeshire and regularly visited the staff at Cambridge Crown Courts. On several occasions I took round the Courts a group of local ordinands. I asked them to visit staff and defendants with their families who sat outside the courts anxiously waiting to be called in. When reporting back they were asked to answer a short question, “Where is God in all this”. There were many responses such as “Christ was suffering with them”.

Living in Community

After the great celebration of Easter Day, the Church calendar carries on through the seven weeks of the Easter season to Pentecost, each Sunday gospel witnessing to the experience of the first disciples of the risen Lord, through the Ascension to St Luke’s story of the gift of the Spirit. Together, the disciples are gifted with the resurrection appearances, with his ascension into heaven, and with the Spirit.

Easter Hopes and Fears

I often wonder how Jesus felt as he entered Jerusalem at the beginning of what we call Holy Week.

He was met by triumphant crowds who saw him as the person who was to save his nation from domination by the Romans. Yet as the week went on we saw a man who shrugged off the adulation of the crowds, spent time with his friends, sought refuge outside the city for peace and respite and then gave the Passover meal with his closest a new and everlasting meaning. It did not end there as he was tried and in some people’s eyes found guilty and cruelly executed.

Covid-19/Coronavirus Update - Churches Closed

Following the government's announcement last night, we regret to tell you that all church buildings are closed until further notice.

However, we can still keep in touch with one another on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also now have a YouTube channel where we will post the occasional video.

Church Online - Virtual Services While Regular Services Cancelled

With all of our regular church services currently cancelled, you may want to try some of these virtual alternatives. 

Mothering Sunday service from the Archbishop of Canterbury

This Mothering Sunday (22nd March), the Archbishop of Canterbury will be leading a special service which will be available as follows:

Coronavirus Announcement

Following the announcement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on 17th March 2020, we regret to inform you that all regular church services are cancelled until further notice. This does not affect arrangements for weddings and funerals, for which the ministers involved should be consulted directly. - UPDATE: Weddings are also now affected, please contact the minister.

Covid-19 / Coronavirus Advice for Churches

*** Latest advice on Coronavirus, updated 12th March 2020 ***

All Church of England clergy have now received the following guidance:

It is our view, in light of the continued increase of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom, that it is now necessary to suspend the administration of the chalice as well as physical contact during the sharing of the peace, blessing or "laying on of hands".

We therefore advise that all priests should:-

A Moving Story

This year Salisbury celebrates one of the most remarkable stories of medieval England. It’s the story of the Cathedral that moved.

In 1220 the consecration stones of a new Cathedral were laid and anointed, only 2.5 miles from the site of the existing Cathedral. Bishop Richard Poore and his clergy had determined that the hilltop of OId Sarum was no longer an appropriate place for their foundation. So, with breath- taking audacity, they moved it to the plain below, where five rivers meet, and where it has stood ever since.