CHURCHES across Evesham and Pershore have vowed not to leave anyone out in the cold despite places of worship closing their doors for the forseeable future in a bid to tackle the Coronavirus crisis.
As schools across the Vale also prepare to close today (Friday), church chiefs have backed the decision by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to put public services on hold until further notice.
In a joint letter, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary for Church of England churches to become a ‘different sort of church’ in the coming months to face the COVID-19 challenge.
Vicar of Evesham, Rev Andrew Spurr backed their call and told the Observer it was important the church ‘did its part’ in restricting the opportunities for the virus to spread.
Rev Spurr also revealed the priority locally was to install video recording equipment so funerals can still be carried out, while asking mourners to participate from a distance.
“We are definitely in uncharted territory. This confinement may go on for weeks or months. We may be seeing the first Holy Week and Easter which has not been publicly observed since our churches in Evesham were first built,” he said.
“Christians who gather in our churches have to find some way of remaining active and networked from their living rooms.
“Remaining in touch will be relatively straightforward, for those of our people who are online, in one form or another. Identifying who needs to be in the loop, but who is not networked is the current task. We don’t want anyone left behind,” Rev Spurr added.
The respected figurehead said he was recording video material, so the ongoing teaching programme could continue and said the church would ‘learn by doing’.
“While we have come a long way from the days when the Anglican church was practised as the state religion, it is still in our DNA to exist for the benefit of those outside of our membership, so we are actively looking for opportunities to help and support people who are isolated and fearful,” Rev Spurr said.
“I want to use this as a basis for encouraging people to reflect on what it is to be people of faith, particularly those for whom Sunday worship has carried their spirituality. What remains when you take away the opportunity to gather?
“There is an ever-present task of looking after the vulnerable and fearful, whether they have faith or not. I think this time may turn out to be a gift to us, in reinvigorating who we are, and discerning what each of us is called by God to be,” he added.