19 March 2020
So much has changed, and is continuing to change around us, so we want let you know what we are doing centrally to try and keep our eyes on God and on each other.
Our pastoral team have been making telephone contact with those we know are likely to be feeling this change of routine the most. The same team will be coordinating a larger team of volunteers to keep in telephone contact with them over the days and weeks to come.
Louise, Maggie and Sally are phoning everyone on our database who has not given us an email address to check they are ok and to ask for an email address so that they can receive our regular email communications.
If you think we do not have your address, the please do email us at email@example.com so that we can keep in touch.
Our prayer team have been busy praying and encouraging others to do the same. We will be sending out links to useful prayers and reflections in the coming days. This Sunday we are encouraging everyone to join with the Churches Together initiative to “Light a Candle of Hope’ – which involves us lighting a candle in our window at 7pm as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ.
If you have any specific prayer requests then please do email the prayer team at firstname.lastname@example.org and this request will be passed on to the prayer team.
This Sunday morning we are going to trial a live stream at 10am when you can join Mark and Rev Stuart Dyer from Southdown Methodist Church streaming a live time of worship and have the opportunity to meet together virtually. The start time is still to be confirmed, please check the website for further details.
We encourage you to join us for this. It will either be the start of something amazing or a complete disaster – either way you would not want to miss it! Click the link on our website or join us on our Facebook page just before 10am.
For those not on line, we will be delivering a printed copy of High Street News each week together with either a DVD or CD of our Sunday message and prayers. We will be looking for people who are able to deliver these packages each week – if you are still allowed out and about and can deliver for us on a Monday or Tuesday, then please let us know.
Mark is in close liaison our local churches, the town council and with the Methodist church centrally, to ensure that we are not only up to date with what we should be doing but also that we are playing our part in the support of our community.
Our church vision statement is Lives, relationships and communities transformed by the love of God. And this seems like a pretty good time to put this to the test by supporting each other and our community.
We know that you are all committed to this because we have already had so many offers of help.
Over the coming days and weeks we will be putting in place our longer term plans and we hope to involve you all in those.
For now, stay safe, and we hope you will join us online on Sunday morning.
Rev Mark Hammond
17 March 2020
I am writing to set out how we are planning to operate as a church community in the face of the current pandemic. An increasing number of us are now being told by the Government to self-isolate or limit our interaction with others, which means that for the time being we need to find ways of supporting one another that minimise the need physically to meet up. We are, therefore, working to find effective ways of remotely keeping in regular contact with you, of offering resources to keep supporting your faith, and of seeking to establish appropriate means of providing pastoral care and practical support.
As Christians, we believe that the sustaining power that holds together all things is the love of God, which “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13.7). As disciples of Christ, we are called to share with each other and with our neighbours this protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering love. I know therefore that we will all want to look out for one-another and for our neighbours at this time. If you are among those being asked to self-isolate, then please do so – not only for yourself – but for the sake of others. If you are not required to self-isolate then, for the sake of others, please limit your interactions to those that are really necessary.
Following Government advice, the Methodist Church nationally has now decided to suspend all worship services in the Methodist Church. In line with this we are suspending all of our Sunday services. Whilst we will not now meet for worship together in our church buildings, we will all continue ‘being church’ in our own homes.
We have lots of ideas that will cover both those who are on line and those who are not. I will be in contact with you all later in the week with how we intend to start with this. We encourage you to join our social media platforms on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.
I encourage you all to pray at home. We will not be meeting for our regular prayer meetings at this time.
For the time being, and where possible, the church will be open during the day for private prayer for individuals.
Home groups …
In light of the most recent advice from Government, small groups should not meet at this time. I would encourage you to look for ways of meeting ‘remotely’ or to ‘buddy up’ and telephone each other regularly.
Church Office …
The office will be open from 9am to 12 noon for telephone enquiries only. Our number is 01582 713 056. Whilst there will be key staff working in the office during the week, please respect the need to keep them safe and do not enter the office. You can of course email us at email@example.com.
Midweek activities …
There will be no midweek activities until further notice. Building Blocks, Alpha, Thursday morning service, Community Lunch and prayer meetings are all on hold.
Children and Youth …
As we will not be meeting on Sunday, there will be no Children’s Church or Sunday morning LX.
The youth will not be going on their trip away this weekend, neither will they will be meeting for their Wednesday and Friday sessions. We are, however, looking at how we might possibly continue to “meet” virtually.
Big Day In …
We are postponing the Big Day In until later in the year.
Keep yourself safe …
Please stay safe and stay at home as much as you can. Please do not come to the church for any reason if you are in the high risk group – telephone the office if you need to make contact.
As a reminder, those who should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures are those :
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
- those who are pregnant.
I know that we are all getting used to a ‘new normal’. I am sure however that we will pull together as a community of faith to help and support each other and to make what will inevitably be a challenging time, that bit better. In the midst of it all, let us each continue to demonstrate God’s love as we protect, trust, hope and persevere.
During this challenging time,
heal the sick, strengthen the weak,
comfort the lonely, be present with the isolated,
give wisdom to our leaders, health to our carers
and hope to us all.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Rev Mark Hammond