I hope I find you all well this morning, I’m slightly later than normal in sending out this letter and attachments. I’ve taken the opportunity of popping to the shops, Monday morning being an excellent time to go, very few people in attendance , footfall low at the beginning of the week.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, the roll out of vaccination begins; at last we see the beginning of the end of the long disruption and pain which the pandemic has caused across the world. A number of churches, even in tier 3, are opening for worship. In view of the fact that many of our churches have elderly congregations, circumspection is advised, just as we stand on the edge of returning to a more normal style of worship. By March one hopes that we can have some level of normality, and in the knowledge and joy of being together once again in worship, perhaps patience should be exercised at present, not risking possible infection, which may overload the NHS, during the heavy winter upsurge. The R number is now below 1, it is important for the nations wellbeing that by our actions,and example, we do all we can to reduce R still further. Once again I would refer you to https://urc.org.uk/coronavirus.html for URC advice on all Covid-19 matters.
Regarding gatherings at Christmas, and the relaxation of measures in place immediately before that time: it does seem to me, that the excessive exuberance which takes place during the festive season, insofar as close mixing is concerned, should be avoided as much as possible. Inevitably such mixing increases infection and will mean that the mortality rate within the country will rise. That sadly is the stark reality of a relaxing of safety measures in any degree. Covid-19 takes no prisoners. In this connection, our scientific advisors along with the government are advising that we should all think seriously about the implications of travel.
Wherever we are over the Christmas period, the true celebration, is of the arrival of Jesus the healer. That healing will take place for the whole world in the near future, and will enable once again the free mixing of all, and indeed, what is called the traditional family Christmas, to take place for many years to come, for those who would not have been with us, had we been more realistic in 2020.
As usual, with this email, I attach the service for next Sunday 13th December, at this early opportunity. The service is in the form of low level technology, so that those who have access to simple emails may receive it, and may forward it on to our other brothers and sisters whose email addresses I do not have, with minimum effort, should it be felt appropriate. Now that folk have established a routine for those to whom they forward a copy of the service, I commit the circulation to Blind Carbon Copy. The pdf contains the hymn words, largely from ‘Rejoice & Sing’, so that you may sing along, as I know you do. Some prayers and the readings for the day, from the Revised Common Lectionary, on which the URC Prayer Handbook is based, are included. Under normal circumstances, a modified version of this service would have taken place at Canal Street URC, this Sunday.
May I once again remind you of the very excellent services and devotions which the URC is providing at: https://devotions.urc.org.uk/
Blessings to all, as you remain in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for all you continue to do.