Many have asked what our plan is in the current difficulties. You’ll appreciate that this is a fast-changing situation and we will make updates when needed.
First, let’s be clear: Jesus is just as much Lord and Saviour as he was a month ago. There is no need to panic. The Lord says “do not fear” to his people more than pretty much anything else. But we need to be sensible and protect the most vulnerable in our church and in our communities.
Second, the following groups of people MUST self-isolate, in line with government guidance:
- Anyone aged 70 or over.
- Anyone under 70 with a serious underlying health condition (especially asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, those on steroids, those using certain immuno-supression medication for arthritis and cancer.)
- Pregnant women.
- Anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature, cough).
No-one in these categories should be at any church service or meeting.
Third, the AGM scheduled for tomorrow is cancelled. Instead, we want to invite anyone who is healthy to come to the church to talk and to pray for ourselves and our communities. We will take extra precautions to keep people safe, and feel free not to come. However, we think the number of times we can gather together is very limited – it may be our last opportunity for a while.
Fourth, we are currently planning to have a service on Sunday morning. We will run some sort of Sunday School, recognising that younger people and families are vastly less vulnerable to Coronavirus. We plan to live-steam the whole service on our YouTube channel, and maybe on our Facebook page. The evening service is cancelled for the foreseeable future.
Fifth, our small groups will provide the “front-line” of support to those who need it most. Your small-group leader will be in touch this week to tell you what that might look like. We will need to care for each other. If you are an irregular part of a small-group, now is the time to get stuck in: offer help, make phone calls, care for the elderly, vulnerable and those with little family support.
Sixth, don’t panic. This is a great opportunity to pull together as a church; to love one-another as Jesus commanded. Obviously church is going to look very different for a while. But we don’t cease to be church.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:22)