The days ahead
So much has happened in the last few days it is difficult to keep up. Many of you will be wondering what our response will be as a church in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. I was hoping to be able to give you a fuller a picture than I am currently able but some information, I think, is better than nothing. So here goes:
- Pause normal meetings for worship.
Until further notice, and in line with Government Advice as a measure to help protect the most vulnerable, we will not be meeting for public worship at either church. This includes home groups and Lent course and any other non-essential gatherings. This will be expected by some and frustrating for others but we need to follow the instructions we have received from the Archbishops.
- Keep the church open.
The church will remain open as a place for prayer and contact, with appropriate signage to remind people of the need to keep at least 2 metres apart. (a quote from the Church of England)
- Provide alternative ways to enter into worship together.
This is one of the areas where I cannot give you any specific details yet. We are hoping, for this Sunday, to pop up on the website a basic video at about 10am which will include some readings, a talk, prayers and perhaps some worship. We’re going to have to enter into this as best we can at home. In time we hope to develop and add to this, perhaps to use live streaming for a greater sense of togetherness. It could actually be quite fun?!
- Provide ways to support one another spiritually
Housegroups might wish to explore ways in which they could hook up over the internet for bible study or just prayer. Youth cells will be attempting this and will probably be best practices at doing so! We can put out some advice if your group is not sure how to do this. It might also be good to gather those who are not in groups together for mutual support.
- Provide ways to support one another practically
We are engaged with community groups who are trying to set up a network for those who find themselves isolated and without support. It would be great if we could provide volunteers for this group. (more info to follow on this on newswire tomorrow). We will also set up a number for the church family to ring if they would prefer help from someone from church.
- Be Jesus to our community
We have a sure a certain hope in Jesus Christ and we long to share him with others. We will be able to reach out with his love to our neighbours and our community and it will be a privilege to do so.
- PRAY! We are being called to use this coming Sunday as a day of prayer. We will try to coordinate this in some way and provide resources over the next few days.
I have been reminded of our verse for the year once again. The people of Isaiah’s day were facing a deeply uncertain future due to an external threat. God’s message, through his servant, was the same then as it is for us today: Trust me. There is so much more we will need to say, particularly as we experience times when it will feel very hard to trust God and our fears will not be suppressed. The picture above, which I shared with you in January, continually recalls me to these thoughts. I can rest assured because Jesus is with us in it all.