I am sure you, like me, are trying to make sense of all that is being said and all that is going on in our country and in our world. These are difficult, and for many, anxious times, and we want to continue to be a community of hope, support and love. With this in mind, I am writing to let you know the current thoughts and plans we have as a church. Some of you may have seen the video I posted this morning https://www.scbc.org.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-update-16-3-20/ but I now want to give a little more detail. Please be aware that things are changing rapidly so always check our website for up to date details – https://www.scbc.org.uk
We have been advised by the Government and the Baptist Union to suspend all gatherings. This applies to everything that meets on our premise and other meetings of the Church meeting in homes, except the foodbank. We regret that we need to comply with this advice. Please continue to read on to discover how we can help each other through this time.
Supporting Each Other
it is very important that we try and do all that we can to be a community that supports and encourages each other as well as our wider community. In doing this, it is essential that no one is put at risk and feels they have to do something when it is best that they rest and isolate. We want to care for each other in a safe way, ensuring the health and protection of each other as we do so.
We are seeking to contact those older members of our church community or vulnerable members who do not have family nearby. We hope to be able to support with phone calls and shopping. If you know of a neighbour or a friend who needs help, please do all you can with phone calls and shopping. If you find that you have time and would like to shop for someone else can you let Georgina know at email@example.com. We will then link you up with someone who might need support and hasn’t had it offered by family or friends. If you are anxious about getting food for yourself also, please email Georgina or phone the church office on 0121 355 5088.
We are exploring ways in which we might be able to live stream a message from the Church at our normal service times. We will update you on this as soon as we can, it may be this Sunday or a future Sunday
As I said in my video message, we want to support and encourage one another through the internet with devotions. Many of us will have more time on our hands and this could be a time to reflect, to pray and to go deeper with God. Different leaders are posting 3-5-minute videos, audios and written messages for those who want to watch, listen or read. https://www.scbc.org.uk/sundays/devotionals/ We are working on being able to set up podcasts so that podcast listeners can subscribe through their normal formats. For video watchers you can subscribe to the SCBC channel on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9khXfhSEPUbnQsQrz5319g
I will also be posting some slightly longer devotionals 10-15 minutes that provide bible studies, thoughts and prayerful reflections on John’s Gospel. Please do make use of these resources and feel free to pass them onto anyone who may find them helpful.
Our Youth and Children’s teams will also be developing ways of communicating appropriately online
Opening the Church
We are concerned that without activities, places of work to go to and leisure pursuits many people will feel isolated. Our intention as long as we are able is to keep the church open as a place to meet others and pray. In the coming days we will be exploring making arrangements to have the worship building open at times through the day for prayer and conversation alongside tea and coffee. If you feel you would like to help volunteer to enable that to happen on a rota basis, could you email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will of course be subject to government advice.
We will be keeping the food bank and office open, and again if you would like to help by shopping please drop items off at the office. We are experiencing heavy demand and this may well increase. We are very grateful for all donations.
In addition to our plans to have the church open the prayer room will also remain available for people to come and pray. We will also be organising other prayer initiatives such as prayer walks, and we will let you know more details in the next few days.
In all these things we will be maintaining our hygiene procedures
I am reminded that we are not the first generation to suddenly find all that we thought was normal and secure unexpectedly shaken nor are we the first group of people to not know what next week will bring.
Following the sadness of losing their homes this great lament was written in the Old Testament “ I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:19-25
Finally, can I thank you all for not only your patience but the wonderful ways in which I am already hearing of love and care in action. We walk through this time together strengthened by the love of God and equipped by His Holy Spirit. We are not without hope, and our desire is to offer this hope to all around,
“Lord, we trust in your goodness and faithfulness,
We are not consumed.
Help us to reach out to those wo are fearful, isolated or without hope
Grant us wisdom,
Grant us strength
And grant us your peace”
Yours in Christ