Weekly message – Sunday 21 June

Dear friends,

Rosemary Richter

I have time now to read the small print in my diary, and it tells me that this Sunday is ‘Sanctuary Sunday’, when Refugee Week ends.

Sanctuary is a lovely idea. A sanctuary is a sacred or a safe place. From Saxon times to the 17th century, by the laws of this country a person who was persecuted or fleeing from arrest only had to make it to a church to be safe. I heard at one time that providing you made it even just to cling on to the church door handle you could not be touched. A church is a place of safety. I remember back to an occasion sanctuary was used in the present day, when an MP and community housed a family in a parish church until an issue was resolved.

People have heard churches could be allowed to open for private prayer, and members have reported interested questions about this. Are people becoming interested in the idea of church as a sanctuary – a safe place to bring problems and needs, and to explore faith? I do hope so.

I hope their interest is not wishful thinking – like the person who once said to me when they had come to church for an event: ‘I don’t come to church on Sundays, but I sometimes pop in on my way to or from work to say a little prayer.’ I believe that is what she thought she might do – but as the church had never been open for that, she certainly didn’t!

Sadly, nowadays, just popping into any church for a prayer is not something that can be done without a great deal of concern. For us, we have to wait for our national church guidelines, and also there are questions about cleaning and safety that would have to be met because of Covid-19. It requires a lot more consideration than opening the doors. We will have to phase what we do, and who comes onto the premises, and when. I would like to thank the leadership team and the premises management group who are working very hard doing what they are allowed to, with as much forward planning as possible.

For the moment we have to watch and wait – but be assured we are anxious to get the church open for all as soon as is practicable.

Every blessing,


Next message: Sunday 28 June

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