March
17
2020
Author
Ian Lettington
Latest Church Update

Dear Church,

I hope you are all staying well and healthy! I just wanted to make you aware that we are conscious of the current situation and although it is changing rapidly it is worth letting you know our current position.
 
 
The health and safety of our church family is of prime importance to us. As of yesterday, the Government have advised that people are to avoid non-essential gatherings and to limit social interactions. We have stated before we will follow the Government guidelines and obey their instructions in trying to control the virus.
 
Therefore as Elders and Trustees we have decided to cease all public meetings for the next month, then we will review it. This includes Sunday meetings, prayer meetings and Tuesday café.
 
In regards to small groups, you may wish to carry on meeting but we do advise if you fall into the ‘at risk’ category (those over 70 or with under lying health conditionsor pregnant) to not go to connect groups or small gatherings.
 
We are in the process of working out what church life looks like going forward, including small groups and changes we can make to stay connected with our community and more importantly, keep walking closely with Jesus during this time.
 
We will in due course, be posting sermons, song lists and ‘coffee break’ style videos, there is even the possibility of small group via video link or conference calling!  Watch this space and the website for the latest updates.
 
As you can appreciate, this is a fast-moving situation and our position may be subject to change. You can keep up to date with the latest information via The Government's Coronavirus webpage which is frequently updated as things develop, so please check it regularly at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
 
So, what can we do?  Firstly PRAY – there is such power in prayer, the book of James reminds us of this in ch5 The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 
 
Prayer also brings peace, In Psalm 23, David the Shepherd king sings with joy, even through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’. He fears no evil because God was with him like he is with us. So be comforted by him, and don’t fear what’s going on around you but look to the one who holds everything together by the word of His power.
 
Secondly we can be PEACEMAKERS – We should be those who exude peace at times like these. The world is panicking because everything they know is being shaken, everything they hold onto. But we are from a different kingdom – Hebrews 12:28-29  28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
 
Can I urge you in your conversations, your social media updates and your general daily lives not to add fuel to the fire but bring peace. Canon J. John offered this advice recently:
So let’s avoid wacky websites, rumours from unreliable sources and any information that begins with They don’t want you to know this, but . . .’ Instead, we need to listen to sensible advice from people who know what they are talking about – preferably, here, qualified medical experts. It’s also a time for theological sanity; after all, the Bible is full of references of the need to seek wisdom. Let’s resist those who, in the name of God, offer us guaranteed protection or online virus exorcisms, or those who will confidently explain where exactly these events are to be placed on God’s End Time Calendar of history. We need to remember that what we face at the moment is no worse – and probably a lot better – than what most previous generations took for granted in those epidemics of flu, cholera, plague and the like that arise in history. It’s important to remember that ultimately, where it matters, Covid-19 has changed nothing. We have received our orders from Christ: we are to be his faithful followers, we are to love God and our neighbour and, in all we do, to show faith, hope and love. Let’s show sanity!
 
Third and finally we can be PROVIDERS – This is a chance for the church to stand up and be salt and light in the community. If you are healthy and able you can care for those around you. Not just those in your connect group but your elderly neighbour, people who are isolating themselves and need food parcels. This is a time for the Church to reach those in need.
We will I’m sure be thinking and praying of ways to help our community in the coming days and weeks and will keep you updated in ways in which you can help.
 
 
In Philippians 4:7 Paul makes a wonderful promise: ‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ May we all claim that promise of serenity, live it and share it.
 
 
On behalf of the Elders and Trustees