Separation is never final with God, online service to hear


Christians in the UK will join in worship with their brothers and sisters across Europe and beyond this Sunday as the Church of England’s weekly online service goes international.

The service, to be broadcast on YouTubeFacebook and the Church of England’s website from 9am on Sunday, will centre around a message that separation and isolation - even after months of lockdown and distancing measures - can be overcome through God.

The Rt Rev Dr Robert Innes is the Church of England Bishop in Europe. He will introduce the service, talking about the historical and contemporary life and work of the Diocese in Europe. The Diocese serves over 300 congregations across 150 chaplaincies in a diverse geographical expanse that spans 42 countries in continental Europe and reaches into Russia, Turkey and Morocco.

Filmed at the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels, the service is led by Rev Fiona Simon, Associate Chaplain. The Ven. Dr Paul Vrolijk, from the Netherlands, is the Archdeacon of North West Europe and Senior Chaplain at Holy Trinity Brussels and will preach.

In his sermon, Dr Vrolijk will speak about the experience of people separated from family and friends for months during the current pandemic.

Preaching from the final section of Romans 8, which says that nothing can separate us from the love of God, he will say: “I hope that at this moment you may feel connected to the God who loves you as we together listen to God’s word, as we pray and worship together, as we hear the Eucharistic prayer and join spiritual communion.

“That the Holy Spirit may give you that encouragement and assurance; whether we face illness, or lock-down or isolation or job loss or uncertainty we may know that suffering will not conquer hope; that death will not conquer life; separation is never final.”

Prayers will be led by Ozichi Baron, from Nigeria, a licensed lay reader, and the readings will be given by the churchwarden Nicholas Deliyanakis, from Greece, and Jaddua Solomon Abraham, from India.

Gayl Russell, from England, who runs the church’s community kitchen, speaks about the work of the project which now feeds up to 500 people a week including refugees and homeless people in Brussels.

Next week’s online service will come from the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.