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Painful decision to cancel Christmas, says Church in the Woottons

todayDecember 31, 2020 8

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Clergy at a church in Lynn have spoken of their sadness after Christmas services were called off at the last minute.

The Bishop of Norwich had written to parishes saying that he left it up to them as to whether they went ahead with services after the decision was made to put the county into Tier 4.

Worship is permitted even in Tier 4 but only under strict guidelines.

St Mary's Church in the Woottons.. (43784484)
St Mary’s Church in the Woottons.. (43784484)

But in the face of rapidly escalating Covid infections in West Norfolk, the Church in the Woottons newsletter reports that a meeting was held by the Ministry team on Christmas Eve and Canon James Nash said he took “the very difficult decision to cease worship with immediate effect”.

That meant the immediate cancellation of the Midnight Mass and Christmas Day service. A filmed Christingle service was broadcast.

Speaking on the church’s Facebook page, Rev Nash said that All Saints in North Wootton and St Mary’s in South Wootton would normally expect to welcome some 2,000 people over the Christmas period.

A COVID-19 notice in the window at St Mary's Church in the Woottons.. (43784494)
A COVID-19 notice in the window at St Mary’s Church in the Woottons.. (43784494)

A similar decision was taken at King’s Lynn Minster. A notice on its Facebook read: “Further to a meeting of the King’s Lynn Minster PCC Standing Committee, we are sorry to advise that King’s Lynn Minster will not be holding public services over Christmas on 24th, 25th or 27th December.

“This is due to rising Covid-19 levels in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.We have visitors, door-stewards and priests who are classified as Clinically Vulnerable, and we do not believe it would be safe to proceed at this time.”

The King's Lynn Minster.. (43784862)
The King’s Lynn Minster.. (43784862)

Rev Nash wrote on the Woottons Facebook page: “Christmas Day in my mind was going to be an appropriate coming together of all that church has and has not been this year.

“And then even that got cancelled.Although I was a key part of the decision to close our churches at very short notice on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day and beyond; it hurt.How much worse can it get?

“But then I thought, and as I thought I remembered.I thought about the torn apart and broken world the Christ Child entered.I remembered the pain uncertainty and anguish experienced by Mary and Joseph, in their very different ways, from the moment of Gabriel’s announcement, through the realisation of pregnancy to the far from ideal circumstances of Jesus’ actual birth.And that was only the beginning of Mary’s anguish and pain.And think what Jesus himself was to experience.

“How insignificant my pain at ‘Christmas cancelled’.How blind I was for a moment at least to the reason Jesus came.My goodness, where would we be in the face Covid-19 and now its new variant, without our Saviour Jesus Christ, born into our broken, but wonderfully created Word, light and love filled world?”

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