Connecting with St Mary’s and becoming a “different sort of church”

As you may have seen on the Church of England website and elsewhere today (17th March 2020), in light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling for Church of England churches to put public worship on hold and become a “different sort of church” in the coming months to face the challenge of coronavirus.

In a joint letter (available here), Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice.

But they said that far from having to “shut up shop”, the Church of England must face the challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.

We at St Mary’s will be doing our very best to respond to this challenge. In the short-term it will mean that, for example, we will not be able to mark Mothering Sunday in our usual way, but we will be seeking other opportunities to maintain contact and share in prayer and the offering of support, such as the possibility of streaming times of prayer and offering reflections and pointing to available resources.

As published earlier today, some helpful resources are already available (please see here), and we are called to share in a special time of prayer this Sunday (please see here).

With a view to when the church is open and our plans going forward, we would encourage you to keep an eye on this website (and particularly the News section) and, if you are able, our social media, which may be found in the following places:

Facebook (

Twitter (

Instagram (

In addition, you may contact us in the normal way (please see here), and a dedicated email address has been set up as part of our efforts to serve our parish, congregations and visitors. Please use this, if it is helpful, if you have requests for prayer (please indicate whether this a prayer that you would like us to offer privately or not*), would welcome some form of contact (perhaps by email or telephone) or have an urgent need (we might not be able to help ourselves in every instance, but we might be able to make suggestions).

This email address is: [email protected]

Our bishops have communicated with the diocese today, and they plan to communicate on a regular basis through the diocesan website. Their letter may be viewed here.

In case it is helpful, the mission team at the diocesan office oversees the production of weekly written homilies and accompanying prompts for reflection and prayer that are based on the lectionary readings for each Sunday. These may be found here.

In the meantime, please keep safe, and we offer you our prayers and all best wishes.

*Please note that members of our ministry team and our churchwardens may have access to this email account.