Email 17.3.2020

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…

The Lord Almighty is with us;    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Psalm 46

Dear church family,

As so much changes in our world, our nation, and our lives as a result of Covid-19, how precious it is to know what hasn’t changed – that God remains our refuge and strength, and is our ever present help in this time of trouble. Though we may well be unsettled, and tempted to fear in many ways, we can say with confidence that as our God, he is with us and will remain the fortress we can run into and be safe.

Following the latest government advice that we should all avoid unnecessary social contact, and the subsequent response to a parliamentary question confirming that this includes asking all faith groups to cease meeting, it is appropriate for us to make some significant changes to church life with immediate effect:

1. We will be discontinuing all mid-week meetings from today.  This includes all youth and children’s work groups, bible study groups and so on.  We will be contacting group leaders in the coming days to discuss whether there are ways in which fellowship can be continued using technology in some way.

This means that the church members meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening is cancelled.

The events scheduled for the coming weekend are cancelled: the 20s &30s Redeeming Friendship conference, the ladies film evening and the Connect tea.

2. We will be live streaming services, without gathering together.  We will send out more details about that in the next couple of days.
3. We are beginning to put in place plans for regular contact, particularly with those who are isolated or particularly vulnerable; again more details will follow in the coming days, but in the meantime please do contact the church office – we would love to support you in any way we can.
4. Unless illness prevents, staff will be continuing to work, either from the church building or remotely, but will be contactable in the usual ways.
At this stage it isn’t at all clear how long these restrictions will be in place, but at present we are anticipating that it will be at least a month.
Over the coming weeks, as so much is interrupted and disrupted, we need to remember that Christ’s rule as King never will be, and that in this time he will continue to build his church and work in our lives! As we trust him together, our role as a church family remains the same. Although, we may have to be increasingly creative, we need to keep on encouraging, supporting, and praying for one another. And with so many around us facing this crisis without Christ, we have such an opportunity to love our neighbours, serve them generously, and point them to Jesus our source of hope.
In the days ahead we’ll continue to keep in touch, but know we’re praying for you all. As we do please let us know how we can pray specifically for you in your situation, and if there are any ways you need particular help.
With love and confidence in Christ,

John (on behalf of the staff team)