Important News 21:00 17 March 2020

From Revd. Gill Sakakini Minister at St Mary’s Church

Dear church members and friends of St Mary’s,

We are all concerned by the pandemic that is affecting much of the world, and now our own country is seeing numbers of deaths caused by the coronavirus COVID 19. The spread of this virus needs to be halted or slowed down, so we have been instructed by our Archbishops to cease all services and home groups or any other non-urgent meeting.

Therefore we will not be meeting in our churches for Wednesday or Sunday services or any other midweek meeting or cafes.Please don’t set off to church, as there won’t be anyone there at service times!  

We know that this is distressing and understand that some will feel that it is the wrong response, but we have to be guided by the epidemiologists and public health advisors as well as our Bishops.  

This does not mean that the church has stopped  praying or serving God and our community. We will be praying all the more, and encourage all of you to join us in prayer at the time you would usually go to church. St Mary’s church and St Lukes, St Paul’s, and St Mary’s Silchester) will remain open when the sign is outside (generally 9-4) and you are welcome to come inside where there will be a changing series of prayer stations at St Mary’s. Mary Flynn is often playing the organ in the afternoons which may be part of your personal worship as you enjoy that from afar and maintain correct social  distance (at least 2 metres).

If you would like to be linked up with other people in a pair or triplet to care for each other and check in regularly please let Rev Gill know and she’ll coordinate that for you.  

We, as a benefice, will send you regular emails or drop something to you to keep you up to date and offer some resources to help you grow in faith and manage the concern of those around us. One such item will be a personal book of prayers gathered by me. If you have a favourite prayer or hymn please tell me and I’ll include it. You may want to share why it’s meaningful too. Be aware too that there is an early service broadcast normally on Radio 4 (may not be live of course), and Sunday morning radio is generally very thought provoking. Songs of Praise on the TV offers a good experience of worship together and we will sent out more things as we learn of them.

This Sunday the Archbishops have invited us to pray as an entire nation and I wonder if you would set aside some moments when we would normally be at church on Sunday to pray with many many others across the land. I will try to get some resources to you but if not, pray as you are led using just your own words, from your hearts, perhaps guided by written prayers too and the Lord’s Prayer. At 7pm we are all invited to put a burning candle in a window to signify our solidarity. Let’s light up our neighbourhoods in hope, faith, and community togetherness.

God is near to us, and hears the cries of our hearts. Please do not wait till you feel too isolated and reach out to others by phone as all of us are only too happy to help.

With love and prayers,

Rev Gill

Rev Gill, Minister at St Mary’s Church in the Benefice of Tadley, Pamber Heath and SilchesterPhone: 0118 327 9321Mobile: 07969158488Email: