Updates From the Rector - March 20

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 28th March 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Friends,

Perhaps the most asked question I have had since the Covid 19 crisis broke is 'will you be live streaming?'  The answer to that is 'not at the moment' and for several reasons.  Firstly I'm not sure it is where the congregations in the Benefice are (generally) 'at'.  Secondly it is better not done at all than done badly and this area is scarcely my forte - making a silk purse out of a sow's ear comes readily to mind!!  Thirdly there is some splendid work already in our grasp and where there are quality prayer and resources available perhaps we ought to lock into these.  It is estimated 5m people listened in one way or another to our Archbishop on Radio 4 last Sun morning - Laus Deo!

Do please visit the C of E website and follow the links to find a live-streaming service that suits you as you wish, with discernment, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. www.churchofengland.org   On this site you will also find set forms of Prayer for Morning, during the day, Evening and Night. These are ever so easy to find and include the Bible readings and Collect for the day or service, laid out in full.  Do have a good look.

For this Sunday, 29 March, you may also be interested in:

Radio 4 at 0810:   Sunday Worship.  A Service for Passion Sunday.  'Reconciliation in Difficult Times'.

A service for Passion Sunday with the Director of the Centre of Reconciliation, Duke University, N Carolina and The Revd Canon Dr Jennifer Smith, Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel London.   The service will reflect theologically on the current world situation in the light of Passion Sunday & the 40th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Oscar Romero.

Lichfield Cathedral at 1030  Holy Eucharist for Passion Sunday.

A live-streaming from our Cathedral of the Eucharist.  Simply go to www.lichfield-cathedral.org click on ‘Latest News’ and then on ‘Join us on Sunday’.  Then you will be able to share in a Eucharist spiritually with 1000s across our Diocese.

At 09:30 in the Rectory the Eucharist will be said for the whole Benefice; St Peter & St Paul's, St Luke's & St Peter's.  You may choose this as a time to make your Spiritual Communion, if you do, along with the huge prayer themes of this time, please imagine your fellow worshippers who ordinarily sit around you on a Sunday and pray for them as they pray for you -  with thanksgiving for all the good in their lives and any for whom this will be an especially difficult time.

Elsewhere on this website is a prayer diary for the week with specific local requests/intents in addition, of course, to our many world and nationwide prayer focus.

I hope this finds you well, bearing up, staying safe and taking care.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 27th March 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear All,

In the midst of all the necessary constraints of our present circumstances Pam and I decided we should still have the Apr Mag created and sent to as many as possible, please find attached, time will tell if ever hard copy will be produced (but it is there waiting).  

Most of the Mag is as up to date with the current situation as possible; for anything closer to up to the minute please see the C of E website link on page three of the attached copy.

Elaine is working on a plan for those of us who wish to that they can stay more closely in touch on-line, more  re this soon.  Also you should have the readings set and devotional thoughts for Sunday through from myself.

With my every good wish and prayers, stay safe and keep others safe too,


N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 24th March 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Friends,

It can scarcely have escaped your attention that the fluid circumstance of our national (and worldwide) crisis has moved on with more consequences for our churches.

I will be emailing all nearer the week's end with some thoughts for this coming Sunday, however, for now, consider it important that you have the clearest, most up to date resume of the changes now in force.

In short:

 - Our church buildings must now be closed not only for public worship, but for private prayer as well and this includes the priest or lay person offering prayer in church on their own

 - No Baptisms (except for emergency at home or hospital) or church Marriages whatsoever may take place

 - Funerals may still be held in crematoria (subject to their guidance) but not in church.  Graveside burials for immediate next of kin will however continue with restrictions on those attending

Our Archbishops have written this afternoon:

"These are unprecedented times. We are all having to get used to being the Church differently. It is not easy. However, our belonging to Christ has never been measured by the number of people in church on a Sunday morning (though we long for the day when this way of knowing Christ can return) but by the service we offer to others. Therefore, and despite these very harrowing restrictions, please do all that you can..."

One significant way of 'doing all we can' is to phone those we know or drop a line to those we are distanced from (if possible) and quietly ensure none are left in need.  You must, please, contact me if you are alerted to any crises for individuals which I may not know about.

Equally we must unite in praying together, perhaps as never before - as we do we are one even though painfully distanced by current imperatives.  Tomorrow at 1100 is a wonderful time to do so, it is the Feast of the Annunciation and Bishop Michael has written today:

"Tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March, is the Feast of the Annunciation. Pope Francis has invited Christians around the world to join with him in praying the Lord’s Prayer at 11am GMT. I commend this to you warmly."


Let us all do so as one, united in Faith, Hope and Love.

Every good wish, stay safe,



N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 21st March 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear All,

You will all now, I am sure, be aware of the sad, if essential, direction that Public Worship in the C of E is suspended.  This, of course, applies as much to our Benefice as anywhere.  However, whilst adjectives for the current situation are futile what is not is the absolute that we very much remain a Church, the Body of Christ and we carry on our Christian Pilgrimage albeit differently for the interim.  As our Archbishops have recently written:

"Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day. We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support. Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it."

I will be emailing regularly and writing to all on the Electoral Roll in short order, for now though several things:

-  Our church will absolutely remain open as usual for personal prayer and devotion, a place of peace and reflection; please maintain social distancing in there as elsewhere.

-  Please find attached Guidance on Spiritual Communion, I hope many will find this helpful.

-  Funerals in Church will still carry on, albeit within strong parameters, not least numerical (as will marriages and baptisms should those involved wish with only the minimum attendance in these cases).

-  Do NB I am from now not able (with possible exceptions for funerals) to carry out pastoral visits at the moment, this is very much for your sake and accords with the C of E directions.

-  For those who prefer set forms of prayer a selection is attached.  Please, whatever your style, pray for the major aspects of this crisis, for one another, the staff of our NHS not least in our own Med Centre, the work of so many others on which we continue to depend including the emergency services, all in food retailing and the splendid work of our schools, for those so near to us yet physically isolated.

-  On Sun 22 Archbishop Justin will be leading a nationally streamed service live on R4 at 0810, with hymns and short sermon.  Do seek out live streamed services, the website at the bottom will assist with this.  Don't spoil things for your own taste by selecting the first you come to a a little discrimination is sure to find one 'just up your street'.

Call to Prayer

The five presidents of Churches Together in England (Archbishop Justin Welby, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Archbishop Angaelos and Pastor Agu Irukwu), are calling churches across England to a participate in a National Day of Prayer and Action this coming (Mothering) Sunday, 22 March. They write “At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds. At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer”.  Read the full statement at www.cte.org.uk/calltoprayer.

At the risk of teaching you 'to suck eggs' please keep connected to one another through phone call, emails or whatever and if you are able to practical assist others - whilst ALWAYS maintaining safe protocols; I'm sure you are doing so already.  In the face of so much anxiety let us be 'caremongers'.


Donations for the foodbank can still be left in church, as usual, many thanks to Sue and Mike for continuing with this.  If you wish to donate yet are physically unable this link may help: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/

Lastly, for now, the situation is necessarily fluid so you will find regular updates and a lot of valuable information on: 


Please take care, stay safe, every good wish,


N P Heron

Rector of Wem, Lee Brockhurst and Weston-under-Redcastle

01939 232550

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