Latest update Monday 23 March
24 March 2020 - Update
Following the announcement yesterday evening by the Prime Minister and the subsequent guidelines from the archbishops, Southwark Cathedral, along with all other churches and cathedrals, is closed both for public and private worship. This is very difficult for us all but is necessary if we are to conquer this virus that is threatening the lives of so many. The archbishops ask that we stand in strong and visible solidarity with the nation.
However, we wish to maintain worship. As we cannot live-stream from the Cathedral we will be maintaining a pattern of worship from the Deanery. You are invited to join me on Facebook at 9.00am for Morning Prayer and for Night Prayer (Compline) at 8.00pm each day. There will be a Eucharist each Sunday at 11.00am, again from the Deanery but the homily will be pre-recorded by one of my colleagues. This is just the beginning of what we will be doing.
We are hoping within a few days to move from Facebook to YouTube. But remember you don’t need to be on Facebook to watch the service.
On Wednesday 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation, we are encouraged to join Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin praying the Lord’s Prayer. We will do this live on Facebook. Share your photos with us or your videos. We are a strong community – we can do this!
I was asked by the Association of English Cathedrals to write a prayer to use across England. This is my prayer. I hope you can pray it with me.
A prayer in lockdown
The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)
Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake.
23 March 2020 - Update
Following the Prime Minister's announcement this evening the Dean and Chapter with the Bishop of Southwark will be considering how best to maintain worship and witness.
Live streaming of services is suspended until some decisions have been made.
We apologise for this. But 'the voice of prayer is never silent', so please pray with us at 9am and 4pm each day.
22 March 2020
This evening the Bishops of Southwark, London, Rochester and Chelmsford have issued a joint statement that the time has regrettably come in London, not only to suspend public worship, but also for church buildings to be closed entirely
There have been strong calls from the Prime Minister and Mayor of London for us not to leave home unless it is essential, and not to use public transport unless we have to. If our attempts to distance ourselves physically from one another and prevent the spread of infection are not effective, more people will die. In taking this unprecedented step the bishops are demonstrating how important physical distancing is in saving lives.
After three days of successfully live streaming Cathedral services we very much hope that this will be able to continue. We are keen to find ways to help the Cathedral community feel less isolated and part of a greater company. Sadly our doors must now be left closed even for private prayer and meditation.
We are all greatly saddened by this now necessary action. It is born of the teaching of Our Lord that the two great commandments are love of God and love of neighbour. The very love of neighbour that leads us to want to come together requires us to sacrifice congregating for a season.
Even though our buildings will be closed, the Church continues to be alive and active. Morning and Evening Prayer and the Eucharist will continue to be offered by the clergy of Southwark Cathedral. Please keep watching for updates on this website where over the coming days and weeks we will be posting materials and links to enable you to continue your life of prayer, biblical reflection and devotion. We will be praying for you each day and we ask that you continue to pray for us.
Whatever happens, we believe in a God who makes all things new and has promised to be with us for ever.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
St Teresa of Avila