I wanted to write to you to let you know how the announcement from the Government will be affecting us a church. The video with this post contains far more of our heart as Elders in this response and I would encourage you to watch as well as read this post.
Our God Has Not Changed
The first thing to highlight is that our God has not changed. He is still the same God that we knew two days ago, He is still good, still sovereign, still saves and still heals. Just this week we have the amazing story of Sheila whose hearing was restored so that she does not have to wear hearing aids any more.
We are convinced that in all that is going on we can be confident of Romans 8:28.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Much of what was announced yesterday was pertinent to us a church, particularly;
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
Whilst applicable to everyone, this is particularly important for those who are
- 70 or older
- Have a pre-existing condition which puts you in this category
With the above in mind, as Elders we have had some difficult decisions to make about how we function as a church, but our main motivation is how do we show love and how are we going to be salt and light to those people around us. With that in mind, we are looking to do the following.
i. All our meetings, events and gatherings, including Sunday, will be postponed or cancelled until further notice
ii. Sundays will be live-streamed on Sunday so that we can join together to worship. This is important and we would encourage you to set this pattern into your week. We will be live-streaming from 10.30am and look to hold a normal meeting, albeit without a physical congregation. This should include worship, preach and most importantly the presence of God. We are trialing software and equipment, so bear with us, but as a minimum we will be having the preach
iii. Life Groups and connection are going to be critical in the upcoming weeks and we would encourage everyone to make sure you are connected to some group, either a serving team, or a Life Group. Whilst people might not physically meet, we can one another through technology, whether this is online meetings or a simple phone call
iv. For those who are most vulnerable, we do need to make sure they are helped in whatever practical needs they have. This maybe our church brothers and sisters, our neighbours or those we see around us particularly as the impact on the economy comes into play
v. Prayer – We will be continuing to pray for healing, for this virus to stop, our NHS and world leaders – We will be looking to pray together as a church on Mondays and will sending put a video and update to help you in this
vi. Great witness – in this time of uncertainty, we have a certain hope and we can be incredible witnesses to those around us. Paul says this when he is writing to the church in Corinth
2 Cor 1:8-11
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
(on behalf of the Elders)