Letter to Congregation - Updated 28th March 2020
After the announcement form the Government on the 16th March and advice from the Baptist Union we need to dramatically change the way we meet as a church for an unspecified period. The government recommendations on avoiding gatherings and social distancing presented last night has led the leadership to conclude that we will not be able to meet as normal on Sunday morning at this current time. Our normal mid-week activities are also suspended.
This decision clearly has consequences for us as a church and we need to create new ways of worshipping together as a scattered community. To this end, the leadership want to offer you the following:
Claire will produce material including a sermon and activities to do at home which will be available here and will also be shared via WhatsApp and on our facebook page (please contact us if you are not able to access this material)
If you are not able to access material electronically we will endeavour to deliver it to you, just bear with us as we set this up.
Pastoral Support Groups
One of the things we will miss as we are unable to meet is the support we are able to give one another. We will be placing you into Pastoral Support Groups with one or two leaders who will check up on you and support you through this time. This means that if you go into isolation or need other particular support they will be your main point of contact. The idea of these groups will be that you will also support one another through this time through phone calls, messages, prayer etc. Your leader will contact you in the next few days with details of your group and how you might support one another.
Taking Care of Yourselves
Make sure that you take care of yourselves, adhere to social distancing advice and self-isolate if needed. For those of you over 70 and with underlying health conditions, the advice is that you avoid unnecessary social contact. This will be hard for us all, and it is important we do keep in contact in other ways. Utilize your Pastoral Support Group when it is set up and try to keep to some kind of routine. If you are struggling please get in touch and we will talk to you and pray with you as needed. If you need practical help, don’t be afraid to reach out and we will do as much as we can.
The physical church office is now closed, as we are all working from home, but you can still contact us using the numbers below. Whilst there will be times during the week we will, out of necessity be working at the building because of the nature of the work we do, it is closed to anyone but key staff.
After the announcement that gatherings had to stop someone shared on Twitter that the time we are in now is a bit like when you move home to a new area and you have to completely find your way in a what is a strange land. I have been reflecting on Psalm 137 – the Israelites are in exile in Babylon and they are trying to work out how they live in a land they don’t know. They ask ‘how do we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’. This is where we are right now. How can we be church in this new and unknown place we’re living in right now? It’s going to be tough for a while but one day it will pass, and in the meanwhile we can support one another, our neighbours and most of all pray. My prayer is that this brings people closer together and there is a spiritual awakening in our community that sees God move in amazing ways.
Keep in touch. We’ll keep you updated as things change. May God bless you as you face what is ahead.
Rev Claire Nicholls on behalf of the leadership team.
Church Office: 01689 800291/e-mail
Rev Claire: 01689 844811/e-mail
The rest of the church leadership can be contacted via the church office and a message will be passed on.
Keep up to date on our website
We also have a facebook group for the congregation which can be found here
Some of you have been asking how you can continue regular giving during this time. This is a difficult time for us all, but as we will not be meeting and having our offering during worship and our letting income will be reducing whilst groups are not gathering, this is a particularly challenging time for our finances, so we do appreciate your support. We would encourage you to continue regular giving if you can, either by setting up a standing order if you haven’t done so already or if you cannot do this, contact us and we will make alternative arrangements.
For information on how to set up a standing order or if you have any other questions please contact Camille or Vic via the church office number and a message will be passed on.