WHEN you read this, Mothering Sunday will have passed and the churches will not have held their usual services of welcome to families.

This was a time when people would come to their mother church to give thanks and give support to one another and ask for God’s blessing. It saddens me greatly that, albeit of necessity, that this did not happen this year because of the coronavirus crisis and I feel the urge to write something to make up for this.

This is because I too will not be able to minister in the usual way in church.

The churches of The Church in Wales have been asked by their Bishop to keep churches open so that people can go in to pray and gain strength. The clergy have been asked to minister in other ways and for people to support each other.

This is easier these days with modern means of communication. The Church in Wales has daily information on its web site and the Bishop Joanna has a Lent Reflection on https://stdavids.churchinwales.org/uk/

The Church of England also has a range of encouraging material on its web site.

We have been told in the Church in Wales that we cannot pass the Peace in the usual way by shaking hands and must not come to close to each other. The Peace of Christ is such a powerful force that I would like to remind you of some examples.

We read in the Gospel of John, chapter 14 verse 27: “Peace I leave with; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” “Yr wyf yn gadael i chwi dangnefedd; yr wyf yn rhoi i chwi fy nhangnefedd i fy hun. Nid fel y mae’r byd yn rhoi yr wyf fi’n rhoi i chwi. Peidiwch â gadael i ddim gynhyrfu’ch calon, a pheidiwch ag ofni.”

We are in the season of Lent when we try to walk with our Lord towards Easter with its terrible events as well as its wonderful glory and hope. I hope that you can hold on to these words in this troubled time.

We have another verse of Scripture in Philippians chapter 4 verse 7, that is used by clergy in the Blessing at the end of services- “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” “A bydd tangnefedd Duw, sydd goruwch pob deall, yn gwarchod dros eich calonnau a’ch meddyliau yng Nghrist Iesu.”

And finally, a prayer from the Church in England web site, for those affected by coronavirus.

“Keep us, good Lord

Under the shadow of your mercy

Sustain and support the anxious

Be with those who care for the sick,

And lift up all who are brought low;

That we may find comfort

Knowing that nothing can separate

Us from your love

In Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen

Reverend John Powell

Retired Vicar of Cardigan