The Church will remain open for private prayer
At an extraordinary meeting of the  Winchelsea PCC  last night it was reluctantly decided that regular Sunday worship should be suspended for the moment. While a range of views were expressed it was felt that there was a wider responsibility to the community in the present crisis and that anything which might limit the transmission of this virus and the risk to worshippers, however slightly was the right course of action. This is a joint decision taken by myself as Rector, the Churchwardens and the PCC.
After prayer and reflection I believe that we have made the right decision. However it is important to stress that  this decision in no way represents a retreat from our responsibility to be a beacon of hope and faith at the centre of our community. Consequently the church will remain open during daylight hours for private prayer and there will be a short said service of Holy Communion on Wednesday the 13th January at 9:30am. This is intended to be an  opportunity to show our commitment to the gospel with humility and for those for whom the sacrament is an important part of their faith. Whether it becomes a weekly fixture or not will be reviewed dependent on the views of those who are minded to attend and the situation with regard to the pandemic.  It was my suggestion as Rector that this should take place during the week because fewer worshippers are likely to attend and smaller numbers can be more safely managed. It was also felt that some people who are anxious about their own health continue to attend on Sunday out of a sense of duty.
I would like to strongly reiterate that nobody should feel an obligation or duty to attend church at present if they have anxieties about their own health. I would draw your attention again to the rubric in the book of common prayer, to which I have referred in a number of sermons over the past months, that faith in Christ’s death upon the Cross and the redemption gained thereby is sufficient to the soul’s health, “although he/she do not receive the sacrament with his/her mouth”.
To underline the importance of our church within the community, It was also agreed that there will be a Sunday Service of Parish Eucharist at 11:00am on 31st January to celebrate Candlemas; it being the nearest Sunday. There will also be a service for Ash Wednesday on 17th February. Both of these services will be subject to change, should the situation deteriorate or the government impose stricter measures.
Funerals will take place when required in accordance with the government guidelines.
If you would like to discuss any of the above or have any special needs you would like to talk about, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Rector – Rev Jonathan Meyer 01797 226254