Chapel Street Methodist Church
Penzance

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Minister's Letter, 16 June

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

Some of you will be just as self-isolating as you were last week, nothing much has changed, and I send you my commiserations. Some you have been shopping, or created a social bubble, or made some steps back towards normality. I hope you are encouraged. Fear and agoraphobia need to be overcome. As we progress, we shall find ourselves in increasingly contrasting situations, and as Christians in fellowship we need to care for one another in our diverse situations.

According to Government guidance, churches will be able to open for ‘private prayer’ from next Sunday. Whether or not your church wishes to do this is a matter for the church council. Some of our chapels have narrow entrances and confined spaces, and will not be able to allow 2-metre social separation. They will need to remain closed for the time being. Some of our chapels have congregations that are largely in ‘at risk’ categories and should not be coming to church in any case. Some of you will not be interested in coming to church simply for silent prayer. Some of you might like to meet for prayer during the week.

Any chapel that wants to open will need to speak to me about distancing, cleaning, hand gel, and stewarding. Every building will need to undertake a risk assessment.

Chapel Street will be open from this Sunday between 10.00 and 12.00 for private prayer, as it did prior to lock-down. We will practise social distancing and provide cleansing gel. If you want to read the bible, please bring your own. If you are in an ‘at risk’ category, please do not come to church.

In likewise manner, Madron will be open from 9.30-10.30.

There has been some debate in church circles about whether this kind of individual silent prayer is part of the Methodist tradition. If you want to come and pray for your personal needs as you might when visiting a Cathedral, then please do that. The setting may well be helpful after you have been confined to your house for a long time.

At the present time, prayer meetings, even silent, are prohibited inside church buildings. However, I would encourage you to include in your personal prayer, prayers for the continued work of the Holy Spirit within the building where you are praying, and for the Christian community which normally meets there. We need to pray for our re-entry, that it should be soon and be impactful. Our nation needs the Gospel of Jesus as never before, so we need to pray together now as in preparing for a Mission.

… and another couple of road signs to cheer things up. On the A30 near Redruth is a sign warning of ‘Partial street lighting’. I wonder whether I shall be one of those favoured to receive lighting, and whether we should tolerate partiality in our public lighting. On the M5 at Exeter, there is a sign which simply says, ‘this sign not in use’. Do I believe it or ignore it? In either case, why is it there?

Warm regards to you all,

Alastair's signature

Published at 15:54 on 16 June 2020

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