Please take a few minutes to read this email carefully.
These are unsettling times, but I have been encouraged in my personal devotions by reading the Psalms. Both Psalms 42 and 43 finish by saying, “Put your hope in God”. That is what we must do as the Lord’s people.
It is important that as a church we follow government guidelines and listen to the health professionals. This is biblical, according to Romans 13, and it is also the proper application of wisdom which is the emphasis in the book of Proverbs.
For now, we are implementing the following measures:
1. Cancellation of all meetings and Sunday Services this week
This includes the Wednesday Prayer Meeting, Ladies’ Meeting, Fab CIub, Focus and Sunday morning and evening services (Sunday 22nd March). It is right that the Lord’s people should want to meet together and it is regrettable that we have to take such serious action, but this is the advice of the FIEC and we deem it wise to do as they suggest. Furthermore, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has made a statement in the House of Commons today, explaining that religious groups, including churches, count as large gatherings and therefore should not be meeting. Although the FIEC has advised that we cancel meetings initially for four weeks, we are going to take this on a week by week basis and update you every week regarding what the church will be doing. (If you would like to read the FIEC statement, you can do so here. Also, to listen to Matt Hancock’s statement, you can do so here.)
2. Audio sermon online from Saturday evening
A pre-recorded audio sermon by Andrew will be available online from Saturday evening. It will be a new sermon and I intend for it to be topical, with thoughts on how we as a church are to live in view of the present challenges in society. Although there are many sermons we can listen to online (and arguably far better than anything I preach!), it is especially important that during this time of being unable to meet, that we are hearing the same message. This is one of the ways that we can ‘stick together’ even though we are apart. May I encourage you in your homes to take time with your families to listen to what is said and to take time after to pray together, especially for the needs of our church.
3. Practical & spiritual care
This challenge in society presents us with an opportunity to show practical and spiritual care to one another (as well as to our neighbours). We should utilise the technology available to us, such as telephone calls, text messages, emails and social media, to check up on one another and to pray for one another. If you require practical support, the church is here for you, so please let us know. As a start, phone me and I can arrange for someone to help you. For those who feel able and would like be on standby to help others, please can you get in touch with me.
We are doing our best to communicate this to the whole church. However, it is possible that some will not see this email, so please spread the message as much as possible.
Above all, let us pray that the Lord will use these unsettling times to bring glory to his name, and to bring many to repentance and faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Grace be with you,