Dear friends, please allow us to update our members, adherents and friends as to the developments in terms of the COVID-19 situation we are all experiencing at the moment.
Given the latest Government advice and recommendations from the Free Church we have taken the decision to stop our Sunday Services and Church activities through the week.
To say these are difficult, uncertain times is to state the obvious and we all face our cherished routines and practices being disrupted. Some of you will find this decision very hard to take - we understand that. Why are we ceasing services? Because we love our neighbours. We are in a global pandemic situation and it would be irresponsible for us to continue meeting when that could contribute to the spread of a disease potentially very dangerous for many people (particularly older folks). In order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus the advice we are all asked to follow is to avoid social gatherings and we are seeking to comply with that instruction.
However, although we will not be able to meet physically we do not stop being the Church! What are we going to be doing as we move forward? The priority in the days ahead is two-fold.
Pastoral Care. We need to care for one another and prioritise love for our neighbours - both within the Church and without. Pastoral visitation is not going to be possible in person (most of the time) but we can keep in contact with one another by all other means available. We are working hard on a plan to make sure we will all have someone to call on over the next weeks and months, that everyone knows who they can call, and your Elders & Deacons will be doing what they can to serve you and ensure everyone is OK.
We also want to make sure we can encourage each other in prayer and the Word of God (even if we can't physically be together). We are looking into live-streaming a message on Sundays (information to follow) and other ways of regularly strengthening ourselves in His Word.
To make this possible it is REALLY IMPORTANT that we have as many people in our contact database as we can. If we don't have your email address or mobile phone number (preferably both) please contact the Church Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) ASAP. We will be communicating as much as we can and want to include everyone we can in that.
You know I love Lord of the Rings. Frodo the Hobbit once said to Gandalf "I wish it need not have happened in my time". To which Gandalf replied "So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us" That is true for us today.
In Acts 17:26 we are told that God has chosen where and when we would live. For such a time as this we are here. There will be challenges but God has not changed, Jesus is still the Lord who is our Shepherd and we can trust in His Goodness. Fear not little flock. We look to Jesus. We need fear no evil because he is with us.
In the coming weeks please be patient with us as there will be much trial and error (mainly error!) as we wrestle with new technologies to many of us, but above all let's look after one another and those around us in our towns and villages.
The Apostle Peter reminds us - love one another deeply. (1 Peter 1:22) Let us do so.
God bless you all.