Letter from our chaplain on Covid-19 restrictions

What strange times we are living through!


As you know, we are not allowed to meet for public worship for the time being, although churches don’t have yet close their doors. We were open for quiet prayer this morning, and will do so on Sundays until things change. A handful of people came through the doors.

We have been working on streaming our Sunday services so that those stuck at home can join in via their computer. Alas, the Prime Minister’s announcement last night (14th March) has sadly put paid to that. But it’s an idea we shall press on with anyway, thanks to a generous offer from the British Association to fund any equipment we shall need for it. We’ll let you know when it’s up and running.

In the meantime, you can listen to Sunday sermons through our church website: www.holytrinitycannes.org

I’m attaching the Order for today’s cancelled service, which you may like to use in your private or family devotions. If you would like to see the words of the hymns, they are usually easy to find and listen to on YouTube. The words usually appear on your screen along with the music, so you could join in if you wish.

I also attach the text of my sermon for today. You will see that some of it has been overtaken by events, but most of it is (I hope) still very pertinent to our predicament today.

We shall try to send these things out to you each week for as long as necessary.

If you usually contribute to the church via the offering basket: thank you. But that won’t be possible for the time being. You can of course make one-off donations or regular contributions via online banking. Our bank details are included in the Cannes Opener which Judith sends you each Friday.


Meantime, please maintain your spiritual life as best you can, particularly keeping up the Christian practice of daily prayer and Bible-reading. During Lent, a simple way to do this is by signing up to the Church of England’s #LiveLent applications. Bible readings, reflections prayers and other suggestions will be sent to your phone or computer each day.  Click here to view it.


If you don’t have a Bible (you should!), there are many ways of accesssing Scripture online: one of the most widely-used is Biblegateway.com.

There are many excellent devotional materials online. Many of our members use Word for Today. If you don’t have your own paper copy, you can access it via their website.


Prayer is a human reflex and instinct, and especially so for Christians. In these anxious times, we should turn to prayer all the more often, to draw upon the strength, peace and perspective which God gives us as we focus on him.
Obviously our prayers will relate to the current crisis and all involved in or affected by it. But remember the wider world, too: the refugees in Turkey, the locust plagues in east Africa and west Asia, the wars in Syria and Yemen, and more beside.


David and Pauline Sinclair coordinate our daily prayer diary, updated and sent out each Friday evening. Do contact them if you don’t already receive it.

The Diocese in Europe and ICS also provide daily prayer suggestions, and you can access these via your mobile phone through the downloadable PrayerMate app.

Here’s an old prayer from the 1662 Prayer Book. It doesn’t get prayed much these days (!), but it reveals a different way of looking at epidemics and illness.

“Almighty God, who in thy wrath didst send a plague upon thine own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebllion against Moses and Aaron; and also in the time of king David, didst slay with the plague threescore and ten thousand, and yet remembering thy mercy didst save the rest; Have pity upon us miserable sinners, who are now visited with great sickness and mortality; that like as thou didst then accept an atonement, and didst command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing, so it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”


We shall suspend our activities for children and young people for the foreseeable future, and pray that this will not go on for long. In the meantime, we encourage parents to take this opportunity to pray with your children, read the Bible together and build them up in their faith. This is our Christian duty at any time, but especially so now.


Edouard Philippe’s pronouncement would seem to rule out midweek gatherings like Christianity Explored, the Lent Course and the Friday “Shepherd and Dog” lunches. Sorry!


I shall be in my study, and the church office will remain open, but home visits (including to places like Victoria Home) have been forbidden. Let’s use the phone, email, social media etc to keep in touch with one another. If you are aware of anyone who may be on their own or in particular need, please take the initiative to give them a call.

These are likely to be tough times economically for some of our members: but do let us know if you are facing real hardship.

These are indeed strange times. But we have a heavenly Father who knows our needs, and who holds us safe in his loving hands. We are people of faith and hope, love and joy. And we shall get through this!

May God bless you and use you to bless others in these days

Your chaplain,


Cannes, Sunday 15th March 2020