Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am writing to you in the prayerful hope that you are staying safe and keeping well. You will be aware that on Monday the government escalated measures and that we are now required to stay at home, except for very limited purposes. This means that at the moment St Cross must remain closed to the public at all times. I would nonetheless like to thank those of you who offered to church-sit and I’m hopeful that in a few weeks’ time we will be permitted to reopen.
With regards to worship, it is no longer deemed safe for three of four of us to gather on a Saturday in church to record a celebration of Holy Communion. Bishop David has given permission, whilst the lock-down continues, for lone celebration of the Eucharist to take place in rectories. With this in mind, I will continue to celebrate at home and ensure that the recording is online for you to make your own spiritual communion on Sunday by logging on to the church website.
As I was saying Morning Prayer this morning I was struck by a verse from one of the readings which states: And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. In obedience to this verse, I encourage you to be as faithful at joining each other with the online worship as you are at coming to church on Sundays. And for those not online, I encourage you to follow the service using the Order of Service sent last week and the readings and sermon enclosed with this letter.
As a result of the stricter measures currently in place, you will, like me, be spending the majority of your time at home. At the moment, it is still permissible to leave home for one form of exercise a day. I would encourage you to do this as it is so important to remain active both for our physical and mental wellbeing. For some tips, advice, guidance and things you can do to keep moving during this time of physical distancing I would refer you to https://www.greatersport.co.uk/ways-to-keep-moving.
Of equal importance is the need to attend to our spiritual lives throughout the week and to make the most of the extra time and space that we now have to do that. The German theologian Karl Barth wrote that “to clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” and Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, describes prayer as “a stillness akin to birdwatching, spending time waiting to catch sight of the movement of God within”. Taken seriously prayer is a discipline - difficult at times – but with the reward of encountering God fully and changing the way that we think about our lives, through creating new habits of heart and mind. If you are looking for a way of praying regularly and as a discipline, I would recommend you look though the worship pack enclosed and I would also ask that you continue to phone or email prayer requests across to me so that I may offer them as part of our weekly celebration of Holy Communion. May I also reiterate that I can be contacted at any time should you require any support or help with shopping or anything else.
As far as I can understand, community facilities, including faith buildings, may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services. I am looking into ways in which our Food Bank can continue to run with minimal physical contact and it may be that I make the decision to move to a delivery system. Please see the website for further info about this.
Finally I would like to draw your attention to a number of support and advice services which have been shared with me, that you may find to be of benefit. I have enclosed that information for your attention.
Please be assured of my continued prayers for you.
54 Clayton Hall Road
0161 223 0766
Citizens Advice Manchester
You can still access advice by calling Citizens Advice Adviceline on 03444 111 222, by Facebook messenger or by webchat https://www.citizensadvicemanchester.org.uk/
The Silver Line- helpline for older people
This is a free, confidential helpline dedicated to older people which is open every day and night of the year. They offer information, friendship and advice—or just someone to chat to.
The helpline team can also direct you to groups and services in your local area that might be of interest to you.
0800 470 80 90
Mental health helplines:
Self Help offers a wide range of support and services for people living with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, phobias and panic attacks.
Phone: 0161 226 3871
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm)
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
Cruse Bereavement Care
Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Age Uk Call in Time Telephone Befriending
For Befriending: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/
Or to Volunteer: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/telephone-befriender/
Cyril Flint Befrienders
Telephone:0161 942 9465
Advice on all aspects of parenting, including dealing with bullying.
Phone: 0808 800 2222 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm)
The UK's largest provider of relationship support.
Phone: 0300 003 0396.(Monday-Thursday: 8am to 8pm, Friday: 8am to 6pm, Saturday: 9am to 1pm)