St. Stephen's Church Hightown

....part of the local community.

Revd. Jan AshtonDear All,

We thought we’d be celebrating the end of Lockdown, the end of Covid restrictions in this edition of Focus. We’d planned a big service on the green for this coming Sunday. We’d organised people to tell us their story of Lockdown and what helped them through this often lonely and difficult time.

However, this was not to be. The final stage of easing lockdown measures was put back by four weeks from 21 June by the Prime Minister. Boris said, today, that people in England are "very likely" to be able to return to "pretty much life before Covid" on 19 July. Whether this ‘officially’ happens or not I want to suggest life will not be ‘pretty much life before Covid’ after the 19th. I suggest we need both time to recover and to start learning how to live with this virus.

Firstly, we need to recover. Yes, there’s been a variety of responses to living through a pandemic. A few people have said life has been better - especially those who are normally ‘at home’ because of illness or disability; being ‘at home’ with everyone else has made this ‘normal’. Plus, because there have been reminders to us all to reach out to others, whether that has been for a chat or for shopping.

However, for many of us life has been difficult, whether because there’s been a loss of income or not being able to see our families, or be social. Loneliness and anxiety has increased and for those with children, home schooling has been challenging!

So how do we aid recovery? One of the ways churches can help is by giving space to tell our stories. We can share with each other what’s it’s been like, living through this Covid time. We need our stories to be heard. The service which was planned does need to happen so we can hear a variety of experiences and acknowledge for many of us it’s been a hard time. I’m loathe to give a firm date for this service.  But I have pencilled in Sunday 1st September at 10.30am. We’ll see nearer the time if this is possible. We hope this service can be held outside.

Secondly, we need to learn to live with this virus. If we as faith communities serve humanity and in serving humanity serve God then our job is to model how we live with Covid as safely as possible as an act of service to one another. Hands, face and space needs to be remembered for some time. Let’s continue thinking about others and their vulnerability especially if we don’t know their situation. These are some prayers from our Church of England to help us during this next period of recovery and living with the virus:

Let us pray to the Lord,

who is our refuge and stronghold.
For the health and well-being of our nation,
that all who are fearful and anxious
may be at peace and free from worry:
Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For the isolated and housebound,
that we may be alert to their needs,
and care for them in their vulnerability:
Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For our homes and families,
our schools and young people,
and all in any kind of need or distress:
Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For a blessing on our local community,
that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship,
where all are known and cared for:
Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.
Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Revd. Jan Ashton
Vicar of St. Stephens, Hightown


Revd. Jan Ashton Vicar of Hightown, Liverpool. Telephone: 0151 929 3971 Email Me Here