17 MARCH 2020
5 APRIL 2020
In light of the Government guidance, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that all public worship is suspended until further notice.
Dear church family,
It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that ALL church events and services are now suspended with immediate effect until further notice. Please note that this includes ALL midweek meetings.
This is unprecedented action for most of us. How are we to respond?
Our faith is more than adequate for this crisis.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”
(2 Timothy 1v7)
Our faith in God is undiminished; public worship may be suspended; but the life of God’s kingdom is inextinguishable.
This pandemic motivates us to discover a new way of being God’s people. Of being Church not by virtue of being in buildings but by virtue of our connection to the whole people of God. We may not be able to meet in the normal way as a gathered congregation – but we are bound together in word, in prayer, and through fellowship in Christ.
Please find below a lengthy outline of our initial plans as to how we will continue to be church despite not being able to meet.
With our Sunday services closed, we want to maintain the good discipline of regular worship, Bible study, prayer and as far as is possible good communication and fellowship.
To this end we plan to pre-record a short video of approximately 30 minutes with a devotion, prayers, Bible readings and family news which will be posted onto our website at 10:30am each Sunday morning. (see OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP below.)
We encourage all who have access to the internet, to pause at 10.30am,
to watch the video and spend time in prayer and praise.
For those who do not have access to the internet, we will be printing out the devotion, prayers and family news which can be collected from the church office. If someone is in one of the vulnerable categories and/or is self-isolating, we will aim deliver it to their door in the following week. (see PASTORAL CARE below.)
Over the next few weeks we will also add useful resources and links to our website and produce additional printed resource packages (Bible reading notes etc.) to deliver to those housebound and in isolation.
One of the big challenges we will face over the coming weeks and months is ensuring that as a church family we continue to care for and support one another.
This is particularly critical for our elderly and/or more vulnerable members. With this in mind we plan to initiate a ‘Buddy’ system whereby we assign those who are 70plus to a younger member of the parish with two specific pastoral aims:
To telephone weekly for a chat to ensure their ‘buddy’ is well, and to see if they have any particular needs (eg: shopping, medicine collection etc.)
To visit briefly once a week to, deliver any shopping/medicines etc that may be needed.
The visit will obviously have to take into account all current government guidance.
Donna Forward’s appointment as Pastoral Care Co-ordinator could not be better timed and we will be working closely together during the next few weeks to set up the ‘Buddy’ system. (see OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP below.)
Whilst our first priority must be for our church family, we must not neglect the opportunities to share the love of Christ with those in our community. Please can I encourage you to take up Paul Ashworth’s challenge to put a note around your neighbours (particularly those who may be vulnerable) and offer support and help. You may want to let them know of the times Holy Trinity will be open for prayer. (In due course we will produce a card that you can pop in their letter box.)
In times like this, communication is very important. We cannot assume that anyone will know things unless we pass on the information.
To this end I have set up a Church WhatsApp group. i you would like to join the group, contact the office manager.
Access to the church and church office is now closed to all except the Office Manager. Telephone calls to the office will not be answered but you can still e-mail the office through firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep referring to our website and WhatsApp group where any new information or changes will be posted.
For your information, this letter is being emailed to our entire email database and posted on our website this evening. Notices will be placed at the main doors of both churches by the end of this week. All those without email will be telephoned this week. (see OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP below.)
PASTORAL CARE CO-ORDINATOR
OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP
Such radical changes to our normal patterns will require not only a significant mind shift if we are to maintain our personal spiritual disciplines, but also a willingness to work together and be willing to step out of our comfort zones to support and care for one another.
There are a number of immediate ways in which we would appreciate your help:
Are you available (THIS WEEK) to telephone church members and inform them of the closing of the church and the plans listed in this letter?
Are you able to record a reading, prayer, devotion for our online Sunday service? Clips should be sent to the office by 12pm on Fridays.
Are you willing to help be part of the ‘Buddy’ system and partner with one of our more vulnerable members?
If you are able to help in any of these ways, or have other ideas, please do email me.
Finally, many will be wondering how we are going to say ‘farewell’ to the Graham family who are due to leave us at the end of March. We have agreed together that we will postpone until later in the year when we will invite them back to say goodbye.
Please can I ask you all to keep our church family in your prayers through this challenging time and be assured of my prayers for each and every one of you.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.