Spiritual but not religious

Announcement to St Vincent’s Chaplaincy

We write to tell you that public services at St. Vincent’s Chaplaincy are suspended until further notice.

Similarly, the Chaplaincy will not be holding in-person meetings, commaunity meals, or fundraisers for the time being. Essential business matters will be handled by telephone and email. We are exploring ways to webcast Sunday morning worship, and will offer more information concerning this as soon as possible.

This week we learned that our brothers and sisters the Roman Catholics have suspended public worship in their Churches throughout Portugal. While we have not as of this writing been asked directly to do the same, we nevertheless believe it would be unfair to these friends to use their worship spaces at Luz and Pereiras when they themselves cannot do so.

Additionally, while St Luke’s is an Anglican worship space, it is located next to a nursing home, in a village where all of the residents are among the most vulnerable members of the population to the coronavirus.

At our services this past Sunday, we read from a letter received from our Bishops, Robert and David, encouraging us in these circumstances “to stay in touch with each other, to look out for older and vulnerable parishioners and to find imaginative ways of sustaining worship”.

All of this will seem hard, as in many ways we may see life going on more or less as usual all around us. Please remember, however, that all of those around us are themselves being affected by the pandemic. Portuguese workers in the hospitality industry will be enduring economic hardship. Healthcare workers and facilities will be under stress. Elderly people may find themselves isolated. Everyone will likely experience increased anxiety in this time.

All of this said, in this season of Lent, remember that ours is a religion of hope and joy. We encourage you to take care of yourselves and one another. Guarding our own health allows us all to continue to be available to people who may need our help. Taking precautions against spreading disease alleviates the burden on professional healthcare providers and facilities. Prayer and meditation will help us maintain focus and consciousness as we deal with confusing and frightening media messages.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Fr. Rob Kean
Fr. Reid Hamilton