Revd Sue Mann

19th March 2020

For the past few weeks, as we all know, most of the news has revolved around the Coronavirus. As a result of this pandemic, the Church of England has put some measures into place, which have impacted our services and activities here in the Benefice.

The consequence of these measures is that all Sunday Services at Orsett, Bulphan and Horndon on the Hill, as well as Edward Bear Toddler Group, Messy Church, Oasis Café, Orsett Monthly Lunches, Horndon Coffee Mornings, Bible Study Groups, Baptism Preparation and activities in Bulphan Parish Room are suspended until further notice. Weddings and Funerals are still taking place at the moment, with the relevant restraints put in place. Baptisms are on hold until further notice.

However, all three Churches will remain open during the day for private prayer and reflection, in line with the Church of England’s advice, so that, whilst we are unable to hold conventional services, we can provide a space for people to spend time with God, with the recommended 2 metre distancing and sanitising precautions in place. The rapid spread of this virus has caused worry and confusion and it is at times of crisis and uncertainty like this that many look to God or the Church for support. I am working at producing some prayer cards and booklets to leave in the Churches for people to take if they wish. You can also find many prayer and service resources at hobnob.org.uk/coronavirus/resources

If you would like me to send you any email updates and you haven’t yet managed to fill in a GDPR form, you can complete one online at our website, hobnob.org.uk/data and I will then be able to ensure that you are included in the next mailing.

If you don’t have access to technology and would like to be kept updated on progress, and haven’t yet completed a Data Preferences form, please give me a ring on 01375 891254 and I will send one out to you. Similarly, if you would like me to send you some prayer and worship resources in the post, I am very happy to do that: just follow the same process of giving me a ring. And do leave a message if I’m unavailable to answer the phone.

We are still collecting food for the food bank and soup kitchen in our churches. Sadly, some homeless projects and foodbanks have run out of food due to dwindling resources as a result of people bulk-buying and stock-piling. It is my hope that both our foodbank in Corringham, and the soup kitchen in Grays on a Friday night are sustainable. Please do continue to pray for and support these projects if you can. It is so important that we show our love and care for one another at this time, especially those who are vulnerable, lonely and isolated; something I know everyone in these villages is really good at.

Max and I will continue to say daily services independently and I am still out and about doing ministry as usual. Please know that you are all very much in our thoughts and prayers and be assured that I will try to keep you updated with changes to the arrangements in accordance with the advice I receive.

Take care and God Bless,

Sue