The Wokingham Paper

Residents confused by letters containing Bible verses and cash

RESIDENTS have been left mystified by the sending of a chain mail letter that contains a £5 note. 

A string of people have taken to social media to ask one question: who sent it? 

While the cash gift might seem like a free gift, it comes with a letter full of religious comments relating to the coronavirus that some have found distasteful. 

The anonymous letter starts ‘I’ve got 3 things to share with you out love’ and then proceeds to state some Bible verses suggesting that the worldwide spread of the coronavirus is due to people having ‘vacations’, being show-offs, owning luxury cars, and wearing ‘expensive clothes and shoes to intimidate others’. 

It is the second page that some people may find upsetting, containing theological thoughts that designed to distress: “Every single death that happens in this COVID-19, the world has come to an end for the person and will sure be meeting God in judgement for eternity in heaven or hell”. 

The £5 note is sent in a plastic wrapper. The letter notes: “Please feel free to use this money to pay it forward to someone else who may benefit from it. It’s just an act of love. Hope you don’t mind. May God bless YOU :)”

There have also been reports of religious messages being left in bus shelters, by the Woosehill subway and by entrances to woods.

One person said that they were left ‘spooked’ but it as they received one but neighbours didn’t. They admitted that they threw the letter and its contents away in case it was contaminated with the virus. 

Another said that they were a Christian and found the letter offensive. 

A third poster said that the letter had shaken their parents. 

And someone else said: “This is the sort of thing that gives Christians a bad name. The vast majority of Christians in this town are too busy helping at the community hub or the food bank or shopping for elderly neighbours to waste time in this fashion.”

The Revd Richard Lamey, Rector of Woosehill, wanted to reassure recipients that the letters had not been sent out or approved by the church. 

“Those on social media who know who has sent these letters have said that the writer is harmless and has been writing letters like this for a long time on a range of issues. I don’t know which individual is writing them: but I do know that the letters are not being written on behalf of or with the approval of any local church.

“My suggestion would be that people don’t worry about what one anonymous person has written and, if they can, choose to donate the £5 to support the Wokingham Distribution Hub or the Foodbank.

“The Christian response to the current crisis is the same as the national response. People from our churches are working in shops, in the NHS, in Schools, in the emergency services, in the council, and elsewhere, doing vital work.”

He continued: “We are volunteering locally and caring for our neighbours. We are calling people on the phone and shopping for others. We are praying, and connecting people, and serving the community we are proud to be part of.

“The proper Christian response is happening all around you. It is compassion, kindness, care, and love. 

“Please do contact your local Church if you have any concerns or questions in the current crisis. We are here to help, as we always have been and as we always will be.”

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