Statement from the chaplain

Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic

A statement from the Chaplain of St James

[download as a pdf file]

St James is a glorious building with a long history. It is a place of memorial and the threshold of the Kingdom of God. It is also a community. Many people flow in and out of our doors and that community fills St James with life. The Chaplain and Chaplaincy Council is determined to protect the welfare of this community. In response to the outbreak of Coronavirus in Portugal, we have been following Government advice and closely monitoring updates and developments.

In line with recommendations from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for the Church of England, St James’ Church has suspended public worship and general visiting.

It is apparent that for the wellbeing of our people there can be no access to St James’ Church and its grounds until further notice. We must do this to protect the people we care about, but all of us at St James’ are saddened by this decision. Meanwhile, the clergy and people of St James’, privately, will sustain the worship of a building that has been a witness to God’s grace and glory for over 200 years.

The Chaplain will continue to assess and respond to government and Church of England advice, and we will keep our website and social media channels updated with any changes.

Our priority is to remember the vulnerable and the isolated at this time and we continue to seek new ways of offering ministry and demonstrating the love of God.

We continue to provide home worship resources on this website and will continue to keep in touch by social media.

We are living through hard realities at present but as we do this we hold on to strong hope; the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. The light of Christ will not be extinguished as we seek to live Christ-centred, outward-focused lives, we can be a light to those around us in these difficult times. St James’ is, above all, a community of hope and we will continue to pray for the healing that will come and which will equip us, in due time, to reopen our doors and welcome you here again.

A prayer in lockdown

The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)

Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar, that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.