To the people of Marsden, Slaithwaite and the surrounding communities: Peace be with you.
I’m the new Vicar of St Bartholomew’s, St James and Shred and I pray for everyone in our towns and villages every single day. I try to picture in my mind, aspects of our community; our schools and homes, our businesses and the places we play, and I hold them in silent witness before God. I pray for God’s protection, love, wisdom and joy to be with you all. I ask God for this every single day.
I wasn’t always a person of faith, but over a long period of time I have learned to recognise God at work in the world and even though I am a scientist by training I find my life in chemistry has only made my awe at the universe deeper.
During this Covid-19 pandemic, the usual business of the Church of England is just as disrupted as all our lives. I’m sorry that St James’, St Bartholomew’s and Shred are now closed. I’m sorry that weddings and baptisms have stopped. For those who need me, I will be there at funerals.
The Church is not the buildings though, the Church is the people: and our life continues. It is important that while we are physically separated, we do not become socially separated. How can we stay in touch and make sure no one falls through the cracks? I recommend making a prayer address book: a list of telephone numbers and emails for people you want to keep in touch with. Take this moment to add people to your list who you wouldn’t normally speak to. Check in with each other on a regular basis and make sure no one is left alone and isolated.
If you need someone to speak to, someone to listen to you and to pray for you: don’t hesitate to get in touch.
How can you engage with Christian worship at this time?
There are resources available online, via smart phones and on the radio. My personal favourites are:
- the BBC Radio 4 Daily Service which is on long wave radio at 198, via DAB radio, and online at the BBC Sounds website. It is a very professional production and with a thought-provoking message for the whole country.
- the Daily Office App, which gives the formal service of prayer said throughout the Church of England – I use this every day. Available for iOS and Android phones.
Safeguarding and personal safety.
Please do keep yourself safe at this time. There are many generous and loving people in the world, but there are also those who will take advantage of difficult times.
• Please make sure you follow NHS medical advice.
• Keep up to date with Government advice.
• Please be safety aware about unsolicited offers of help on the doorstep or scam phone calls.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 18:38-39
The Reverend Graeme Holdsworth
Vicar of Marsden and Slaithwaite with East Scammonden
The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.