In light of the Prime Minister’s message to the country on Monday evening, I have been in touch with our Elders and Leaders to discuss our response to the ever-evolving coronavirus situation and what was a quite radical change in advice!
As many of you will have anticipated we have decided that for the time being we will NOT be running our:
We are very aware that our events and activities are staffed by willing and wonderful teams, many of whom are older and/or have underlying health issues. Others will have members of their household with a cough or a high temperature and will rightly be following the advice to stay at home.
Whilst we remain committed to following the Government’s advice, we are working on moving our Sunday services online and will update you later in the week about this.
The current advice from the NHS website about staying at home is -
Thursday events (Lunch Club, Midday Munch, Thursday Service)
EBC courses, including Alpha and Discovering Membership
if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
For full advice, here is the NHS link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Here is the Government link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Prayer & Care
We continue to work on plans to support those in our community who are most vulnerable or in danger of being most isolated and will start implementing those as of today with a round of phone calls to our seniors.
We want to encourage each other to be praying for and watching out for people in our church and around our local community. This is an opportunity for us to live out our purpose to love God, love people and grow together to become more like Jesus.
If you are able and willing to be added to a list of people willing to be available for things like essential food drop-offs, then please let us know via email to email@example.com
We will be working on a pastoral care plan for those who are older or more vulnerable in our community that ensures we remain in contact with people and provide what help we can even if we aren’t visiting in person.
Going forwards – let’s pray
Jacque has reminded me this morning of a prophetic word from one of our prayer teams on Sunday and what our stance as God’s people ought to be. The word (from Psalm 118, verse 24) was “This is the day the Lord has made”. The following line, and our traditional response is, as many of you will know, “Let us rejoice and be glad in it”. As I sit at home, asthmatic and self-isolating with the rest of the family until Friday (due to one of us being eleven days into a cough) this is a challenging word!
Yet we are a people of faith and called to submit to God’s will. As Jacque points out, we are over-comers not because of us but because of Him. Our role is to get focused on Him and to set our compass - our direction to follow Him. So whilst we have to be sensible and revamp the way we do things for a time, let us be attentive and hear God's report and not only man's. Let us not give way to a bad report when things seem impossible for us, for all things are possible with God.
I know I need hardly ask, but please do continue to keep praying. Pray for those in authority having to make really difficult decisions. Pray for those suffering from the virus or from worry and anxiety about it. Pray that God would prompt us as to what we can do to help and protect those in need.
Whilst this situation is unprecedented, I really do believe that God will work through it. I believe we will be changed by God into a more prayerful, more faithful people. I believe that despite enforced physical separation, we will grow closer to God and to each other.
Let’s remember what Paul said in his letter to the people in Philippi “…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
God bless you,