A Letter to Our Congregation

March 19th 2020

Dearest Friends,

I would like to tell you about the plans we have which will allow our Chapel Community not only to maintain contact, but to be spiritually nourished over the weeks and months ahead.

A Sunday service will be broadcast on the Chapel Website, Facebook Page and other Social media at 11.00 am. Depending on the regulations at the time, it may involve music, otherwise it will just be the Chaplain and Clerk. For this, I have included with this letter a copy of the Order of Service, so that you may be able to follow, and indeed answer the responses at home. In this small way, you will be joining the worship of the Chapel, spiritually if not physically and in so doing make that Spiritual Communion of which I spoke. 

Please keep an eye on the website and social media for these, and other videos and resources that we hope to publish as well.

I hope that you also have copies of the Book of Common Prayer at home, but in case that you don’t you may find a link to an online version here. Thus, you may also be able to ponder on the Sunday readings, especially as we approach the climax of Lent and Holy Week.

Whilst we may not be able to maintain physical contact, it is important to remember that the prayer life of the Chapel will continue in earnest. James and I will as always be praying for our dispersed community as well for HM The Queen. As you know, the Chapel Royal is more than a building: it is the
people who make it the Church in that place. As such, please do feel free to be in contact with us, either via email or telephone, since these are going to be the ways to offer moral and pastoral support. We are urged to look after the vulnerable, especially at this time. We should, as a Christian community look after one another. James and Sophie will be, for the time being, in the Vestry and if you need someone to talk to you can ring them on 020 3166 6515. They will also be able to put you in touch with me as your Priest and Pastor.

This brings me onto a request. The suspension of services involves the suspension of the choir for the time being. Whilst we are investigating ways by which we can keep the Choristers engaged, this will particularly hit the Gentlemen, who, as freelance musicians are paid by the service. Many of
them now face a complete loss of income, which is incredibly worrying at this time.

For this reason, the Chapel is proposing to offer the Gentlemen a modest amount each week, to compensate for their loss of income. This is the Christian and decent thing to do. However, with no regular Chapel income, we also face a loss. Therefore I am appealing to your generosity to help with this.

I believe that it is right, given the emergency, to redirect the Lent Appeal to this purpose. Please do also help us to help some of our own. You may wish to send a cheque to the Vestry or, if you have access to internet banking you can make a transfer using these details:

Chapel Royal Hampton Court Palace
Sort Code: 18-00-02
Account number: 64807130

It is also important that as we go on, each member of the congregation saves up what would have been your weekly giving as well (I know many of you do and we are immensely grateful for this!) One day we will return to normal and bills have to be paid.

I would hazard a guess that many of us are very nervous at the moment, if not frightened. I am one of them. It is as if we have become trapped in darkness of despair. But the message of the Resurrection tells us that even though we may feel that darkness, there is light, a hope which will get us through. In Holy Week Christians recall the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. He too was frightened about what lay ahead; he cried out in suffering, just as many of those do now. But in he end, the darkness of fear and suffering was eclipsed by the joy of new life.

We can all unite in that hope, a hope that in times of darkness there is light. We can see this in the immense acts of kindness and charity that shine out, as well as the dedication of the NHS staff and others. In times of adversity it is time to come together.

I pray that God will bless and sustain us all, HM The Queen, and the nation in general.

Yours in Christ,

Canon Anthony Howe, Chaplain

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Photography by Richard Champness

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