A Letter from Fr Leonard to the St Paul’s Community
The Anglican Church in Greece (Church of England) St. Paul’s Church
1st April 2020
I hope that you are well, and keeping safe under these extraordinary circumstances. We feel bereft of St. Paul’s church for our worship, and the proximity of friends and fellow worshippers. If you have the need for a conversation with someone please don’t hesitate to phone me or Deacon Chris. These are challenging times, and although ‘social isolation’ is for the greater good, we are not created to be alone, and the church is a ‘body’ or a fellowship, not a building. We will get through this however, and we know already that the cost will be great. We pray daily for the sufferers of COVID-19, and those who have died. We pray also for those in our health care system at this demanding time for them, and Lynne and I have appeared a couple of times on the balcony on Sunday evenings to clap with others in the street, for the gratitude we have for all health care workers. We should be thankful too for those who keep our food supplies going, right through the food chain. The staff at Kritikos in Irodotou have been great with us while we have had a complete 14 day quarantine imposed on us because we flew back into Greece on March 22nd after my dad’s funeral.
We have tried to keep some type of worship/prayer resources going during this period of closure. There are so many options on the internet for you, and our offering is modest compared to some of the ‘high tech’ presentations, but I hope you feel that we have engaged within our abilities. As the weeks go on, especially with Holy Week and Easter approaching, we will continue to provide sermons, mediations, and printed material either by email or on our website or Facebook. Check the website/Facebook next week to see what will be available for Easter Sunday.
With so many businesses closed, and workers perhaps receiving no wages during these weeks, it is clear that these will be lean months financially for the whole of Greece. With so many people dependent on the long summer months for work and income I think it is safe to say the real financial hardship will be long lasting.
Despite this reality, it is only right that we should all be reminded that St. Paul’s Church income is already affected, and as the weeks of closure continue there will be an alarming drop in income, especially from Sunday collections and concerts (all of which were cancelled in March, and the April concerts will have to be cancelled also).
So with a realism I urge everyone to continue to keep your donations for St. Paul’s in your mind. Certainly we are not asking for more from you, but if you can please put aside whatever you would normally give weekly, and when we can return to church again, you can give your offering in Thanksgiving. If you have a monthly envelope, please continue with your giving and return all the envelopes at the end of this period of emergency measures. In addition, this might be a good time to consider giving monthly by bank transfer. Our bank details are provided at the end of this pastoral message.
There will be no Spring Bazaar in May. We may try to have a Bazaar at the beginning of the Autumn, but it does mean that the Christmas bazaar will have to be a bumper Christmas Bazaar on November 22nd – maybe you could start thinking now the ways in which you can help to make it a great success for 2020.
We should have had our Annual Meeting on 29th March, and legally all Annual Meetings have to take place before the end of April. The Bishop of Europe has issued a special ‘instrument of governance’ that will allow all parishes in the Anglican diocese to have until the end of October for the Annual meeting. We will keep you informed about this.
Please do keep each other in prayer, as I know you will be doing already, and if you think someone who might be glad of a call, please phone them. If you have any prayer requests, please email them to me and Deacon Chris.
Lastly, I share with you a prayer from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer ‘in the time of any common Plague or sickness’
O Almighty and merciful God, with whom are the issues of life and death: grant us, we beseech thee, help and deliverance in this time of grievous sickness and mortality, and sanctify to us this affliction, that in our sore distress we may turn our hearts unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Anglican Church in Greece (including St. Paul’s) is self financing, and receives no income other than from the generosity of those who worship here. We are a legal body and we pay tax. Our tax number is 997073090. If you wish to donate direct to our bank (IBAN) the account with Piraeus Bank is: ‘The Anglican Church in Greece, St. Paul’s Athens GR 820172 0500 0050 5008 6327 479’ Swift code is PIRB GRAA