Everything is changing so fast at the moment that it’s hard to keep up.  It was just over a week ago that we heard that we had to stop holding public services in church, and we started livestreaming on YouTube instead.  Then on Tuesday, following the Prime Minister’s call for people to stay at home in order to protect the NHS, the Archbishop of Canterbury asked clergy not even to use their church buildings for that, but instead join millions of others in working from home.  It means that the church building is now closed, even for private prayer or to record services.  

So I’m working out of my house now - sharing the space with the rest of the family.  So far it has been ok!  We are trying our best to follow all the social distancing rules – they are really important for our country just now – so I’d urge you to do all that you can to stick to these too.

I’m also trying to get to grips with the technology needed to keep our services and other activities going online – do have a look at our YouTube channel, called “Great Clacton Parish”, if you can – and help others to get to it too.  Sometimes I’m more successful than others – sometimes it’s very frustrating – but we’re trying our best.  (At some stage I should put all the “outtakes” up online so that you can all have a good laugh at my efforts – including the 10 attempts to get the microphone working!)

So even though we are limited in so many ways, we are still trying to minister in the 4 areas I mentioned last week –

  - Community – through the support we can each offer to friends and neighbours and through our prayers.

 - Contact – within the church family - through this newsletter and the phone calls we can make – and people are doing a great job of staying in touch with each other – thank you!

 - Practical – contact the church office or me if you need something – we have some volunteers who can help.

 - Spiritual – do try to use our YouTube channel, even when it’s being “sticky”.  But if you can’t, let’s remind each other of God’s power and goodness when we are on the phone and let’s pray with and for each other.

We can say - “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”  (Psalm 46v1).  God Bless,  Mark.