THE Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, issued an impassioned plea to take medical advice to keep everyone safe:

WE are all feeling a bit isolated at the moment. And a bit fearful. There is good medical advice out there and sensible instruction on self-isolation and social distancing.

Please do comply – not only for your own sake (though you matter!) but because following the advice is also the best way of keeping your vulnerable neighbour, friend or family member safe.

The church might feel a bit more isolated as well. You might think we are shutting up shop like everyone else. We’re not.

Public church services have been suspended, but small groups of people are praying in our churches every day. We are especially praying for anyone affected by the virus, those anxious about finances, those who are isolated and fearful, and for our health and emergency services.

Also, our churches are still open for prayer and we invite people to come and spend a few moments in stillness if they are able to. This is a worrying and uncertain time for our world.

Reconnecting with God, or just spending a few minutes in quiet contemplation, will bring peace and perspective.

Finally, we are looking to find new ways of bringing people together for worship and fellowship, either in the home or through the internet.

If you go to the Chelmsford Diocesan website you will find resources for joining in worship online and other ways of helping you pray in the home – https:// coronavirus-advice The church might not be able to pray with everyone at the moment in the ways we are used to, but we are praying for everyone. And we invite you to join in that prayer wherever you are, and especially if you are alone.