Why are we making such a fuss about a virus? Surely we don’t really need to close the church!
Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease that in severe cases causes acute breathing problems and even death. Although older people, especially those with existing medical conditions, are most at risk, Covid can hit younger people badly, too. Not everyone with the virus develops symptoms, but they can still infect other people without realising it. If we’re not careful, a church service could become a way of passing the virus on to lots of people. It’s up to us to do all we can to keep others safe, and so that’s why the church is closed at the moment.
Some people don’t believe Covid-19 is that serious, comparing it to seasonal flu, and there’s a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theories on the Internet. If someone asks you for a source of reliable information about the virus, you could recommend the public health information from Hamburg’s health ministry (in English). If they’re interested in learning about the science, you can refer them to insidecorona.net, a website operated by the University of Hamburg’s Coronavirus Structural Taskforce.
In view of new, tighter restrictions on church services, the churchwardens have taken the decision to extend the closure of the church until at least 14 February 2021.
The text of the 19 January desicions of the Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz (in German) can be found here.
Last December the Diocesan Synod discussed a paper on racial justice called “Breathing Life”, one of the authors being our former chaplain, Fr. Leslie Nathaniel. In preparation to the discussion an interview with the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) / People of Colour advisers to Bishop Robert in our diocese was published: The Revd Augustine Nwaekwe, Chaplain in Ostend-Bruges & Knokke, and The Revd Smitha Prasadam, Chaplain at St Alban’s, Copenhagen. You can find the interview here.
Since August 2020 members of our community in Hamburg have met to share and discuss their experiences, with a strong focus to “heal racism and embrace diversity”. In December we started to educate ourselves by watching a series called “Conversations on Race” offered by King’s Cross Church (KXC) in London. If you’d like to jump on board please reach out to Valerie Müller, Madeleine Herring, Monica Emilia or Yotin Tiewtrakul.
In view of the rising Covid-19 case numbers and the new restrictions in Hamburg and elsewhere, the churchwardens have taken the decision reluctantly to close the church with immediate effect until at least the end of January. Even though churches have not been instructed to close, it is up to us to do all we can to keep people safe, and so we believe that closing the church is the only reasonable and rational thing to do.
Even though we cannot now meet physically, there are other opportunities to gather virtually. A group meets for compline or evening prayer every Saturday at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If you would like to be sent the weekly link, please email Yotin and Arwen at music (at) anglican-church-hamburg.de and ask to be added to the list. There are also online resources – for instance, Canterbury Cathedral broadcasts the daily offices and Sunday services on its YouTube channel. Please see the Covid19-update page on this website for further information.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, reflects on the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket in this video on Canterbury Cathedral’s YouTube channel. On 29 December 1170, Justin Welby’s predecessor as Archbishop of Canterbury was killed during vespers in the cathedral by four knights, possibly sent by the king. His shrine became one of the greatest European sites of pilgrimage.
You can read Father Leslie’s Christmas Letter here (click to enlarge):
Please enjoy these offerings from three of our singing groups in our parish.
The first of these offerings is an alternative version of the English folk carol “Truth from Above”. I made an arrangement in the style of the Sacred Harp singing tradition. Only two verses are presented here and in carol services also only a selection of verses are performed. So it is worth reading through all the eleven verses here: This is the truth sent from above (lyrics).
For these sound files singers had to make a recording of their part at home. They were afterwards edited and put together. Thanks to everyone from the Anglican Choir who contributed with their part of the classic “O little town of Bethlehem”.
Thank you also to the members of the Anglican Consort who perform this lovely carol where a truly extensive list of flowers are presented.