Covid19: Prayer, Plans and Preparation
It feels strange to write another church update email so close to the last, but the situation is changing so rapidly at the moment that I wanted to update you again. I want to start with a few more practical updates, and then an encouragement...
I’ve postponed the men’s evening that would have been tonight. I was already weighing this up, and then we’ve heard that the prison chaplain’s wife has developed flu symptoms and so he is isolating at home until they know for sure what it is. Please could you think if there’s anyone who might have been coming and doesn’t get these emails, and phone them to let them know. A few extra phone calls allowing us to check up on each other at the moment might not be a bad thing anyway!
At the moment, we’ve not been instructed to cancel our meetings, but this could change. For now, we will take a number of measures as advised:
No handshaking or physical contact please - at welcome, peace, prayer or after
There will be a retiring collection rather than the usual collection
We won’t have tea and coffee (but let’s put a real effort into looking out for each other if we’ve less time for fellowship - more on that below)
Communion will be just the bread, knowing that Christ is with us in our hearts through faith.
We will disinfect and wipe down all common surfaces as part of our setup today, ready for tomorrow
If you would rather keep away from groups at the moment, please, please, don’t feel under any pressure to come. That remains true if you are serving in any area tomorrow or in upcoming weeks - if you think you should stay at home, please do. Let’s make sure we look after ourselves, as well as others! Therefore, if you are showing any symptoms, please follow government advice and stay home until clear. I also intend to live stream the service until this virus has receded. Please bear with us tomorrow as we will be testing out the technology, but you can go to this address at 9.30am tomorrow and (hopefully) be able to watch and listen: https://www.youtube.com/
I will continue to monitor the advice that we’re given through the Government and the Church of England. At the moment we have decided to postpone the men’s evening, the open vicarages and March Messy Church. Homegroups are free to decide as and when you feel it’s right to make any changes. It’s hard to know where to draw the line between sensible precautions and panic, but people are worried, very understandably, and we can really show our love for one another in a powerful way. Which leads me on to...
An encouragement to love one another
We don’t yet know exactly what will happen in our country over the next few weeks and months. But one thing we do know is that God will not leave us or forsake us. That doesn’t mean that we won’t ever get sick, that’s not the promise Jesus makes this side of eternity. But he is with us, even in the storm. So, I would like to ask for the following please, for how we can particularly look out for one another in light of the virus:
Homegroups, please can you make use of phone/email/whatsapp etc to keep an extra eye out for each other. Remember, we might not know what concerns or underlying issues others may have. Please don’t leave this to your group leaders, but why not try and contact each other more than usual as a sign of care for each other.
People not in homegroups - I will be the point of contact here, and I will work through our directory and call around those not in groups. Do make use of the directory here: https://allsaintswick.
churchbox.co.uk/ (If you have any trouble logging in, just let me know)
If you hear of anyone, or you yourself, need to isolate - please could you let me know, and also when that isolation period has passed. Then I can make sure that we’re looking out for each other.
If you can offer to do some shopping or something on behalf of someone who is isolating, please also let me know (thank you for offers already made) and I will co-ordinate the offers of help with those who might need it.
Let’s remember that there are people within our church and within our community who already feel isolated. The plans coming into place are only going to make that worse. So whilst being sensible, let’s also ask God for the wisdom and grace to really look out for each other, and let everyone know that we are here for each other and for them.
I am so grateful for you all, and for the love of God in our church family. Let’s continue to pray fervently for this to end soon and with minimal serious illness. Let’s continue to seek the Lord who is faithful. Let’s continue to love one another with the love he has shown us.
God bless, and love to you all