Cancellation of Sunday worship is ‘a travesty'
The vicar of St Mary's Church in Alsager has said she felt "uncharacteristically beaten and bereft" after the announcement of the second lockdown, which began today (Thursday), particularly as it comes just before Remembrance Sunday.
The Rev Michelle Goodrich said that not being able to have morning and afternoon acts of worship "felt very wrong" when people wanted to "publicly thank those who lost their lives for our sakes".
But she also said she believes that this lockdown could be the best mark of respect the nation and the community of Alsager can make.
Here she appeals to the community to draw together over the next four weeks and respect the memory of those who suffered so much in the name of freedom:
“At yesterday's 10.30am service I referred to the Government's cancellation of Sunday worship - and in particularly their cancellation just three days before Remembrance Sunday - as a travesty.
All Sunday afternoon after hearing the news that churches up and down the country would indeed need to close their doors and cancel all public acts of worship from Thursday onwards (with the exception of funerals and private prayer) I felt uncharacteristically beaten and bereft. I am blessed not to have lost a single family member in any world war or conflict. My sister and my nephew both served in the military and I am grateful that they are safe and well.
I have always felt it is important to give thanks for all those who have served, and for all those who continue to serve, as well as remembering with gratitude those who died for our freedoms and personal security.
Not being able to have our annual parade through the community is one thing, but not being able to have our morning and afternoon acts of Worship felt so very wrong - not being able to publicly say thank you to all those who have lost their lives, or continue to risk their lives, for our sakes felt immensely disrespectful.
And then, as I mulled this over in my mind, and prayed about it, I realised that if we are to take something positive from this inability to worship it is perhaps that this lockdown could be one of the best marks of respect that we as a nation, and as our Alsager community, can make.
More than one million British military personnel died during the First and Second World Wars and they did so to defend our country: defending the citizens of our nation and protecting our freedoms.
Yes we may feel like our freedoms are being taken away because we are unable to do the things we might like to do: unable to mix with friends, family and loved ones - unable to have the social gatherings we might long for or to shop and eat and drink in the venues that we wish to. But compared to the things this nation has faced in the past and the attacks on our freedoms we have faced in the past, we are still very, very blessed and we are still very, very free.
Surely this freedom, however much we may resent its reduction, ought to be something we are grateful for?
So rather than feeling beaten and bereft can we instead show the same spirit and character as all those whom we would have taken the time to remember on Remembrance Sunday and for the sake of their memory commit to doing our bit to defend and protect our fellow citizens, our neighbours, friends and families . . . rather than spending four years plus in trenches and on battles fields, let us battle through four weeks of lockdown in deference of the freedoms they fought for and died for.
Let us also show our gratitude by entering the Royal British Legion’s competition to decorate our homes and windows. . . and to do so not because we stand the chance of winning some Asda vouchers, but because we stand alongside those who first stood up for us and defended us.”