News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th October 2020: The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
As London enters a HIGH Covid Alert Level from midnight tonight, some may be confused about how this affects you attending a place of worship such as St. Mary's. In effect, very little changes since we are already implementing a number of Covid-secure routines. This includes a weekly “deep clean and sanitising” of the church which is usually performed on a Saturday morning, to prepare the church ready for the Masses on Saturday and Sunday. Venues that are already following the guidance can host more people in total, but no-one must mix indoors with anyone who they do not live with (or are in their support bubble) unless certain exemptions apply. If you have a mobile phone that can do so, at least one person in your household/support bubble should scan the QR code at the entrance to church using the official NHS COVID-19 app on their mobile phone and leave the names of all members of their group on the attendance slip which is on the table as you enter church. Hand sanitiser is provided at the entrance and everyone is encouraged to sanitise their hands before taking their places. Masks must be worn (unless you have an exemption for medical/health reasons) and everyone in different groups must maintain the 2m social distancing by sitting at the designated places in the pews. The Order of Mass has been shortened and no hymns are sung by the congregation. The congregation stay in their places for the distribution of Holy Communion, which is given in one kind. It may be different to what we have grown accustomed over many years – but at least we have not returned to a complete “lockdown”, as we experienced earlier in the year and for that we must be grateful.
Perhaps our experience of that “lockdown” – being confined to our own homes for several weeks – has given us just a very small taste of what having one's freedom removed feels like. We can never really imagine what imprisonment itself would be like, with even more restrictions and even less freedom, and we can only hazard a guess at what some of those featured in this month's ACAT Harrow Newsletter must be experiencing with not only their freedom taken away, but the risk of torture, interrogation and false charges being made. Margaret Davies, our ACAT representative says:
This year ACAT (Harrow Group) will host an online talk by David Dean the CEO of the Barnabas Fund, an organisation working to raise awareness of and support for persecuted Christians. The meeting will be on Zoom on Tuesday 3 November, 7.30-8.30. If you would like to join us, please email Margaret Davies for the Zoom code. Margaret's email address is at the end of the attached ACAT newsletter.
This Sunday, the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear those extremely well-chosen words in Matthew's Gospel, as the Pharisees try to trap Jesus. He is asked: “Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” In many ways, Jesus cannot make a “correct” answer as they would catch him out whichever way if he answers “Yes” or “No”. Instead, he makes the following response: “Let me see the money you pay the tax with. Whose head is this? Who's name?”
“Caesar's they replied.”
“Very well. Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's – and to God what belongs to God.”
Stay safe and well as these new restrictions come into force, and let us hope and pray that the new measures will help to keep us safer as we draw closer towards the end of the year.