Following advice from the government and the Church of England we will still be gathering on Sunday at 9am at St Mary’s and 10:30am at St John’s, including with kids groups. We will let you know if any of this advice changes. It’s important that we continue to meet if we can – to pray, worship, read the Bible and share communion. These simple things we do when we meet foster belonging and hope and can remind us of our common faith, love for one another and God’s love for us. These habits can and should relieve anxiety and be life-giving for us and our families.
However, if you have a new continuous cough or a high temperature – then you should stay at home for at least 7 days to protect others and help slow the spread of Coronavirus. If you are someone who is more at risk (an older adult or have a chronic medical condition) and feel more comfortable staying at home, then please do so. When we take communion, only bread will be distributed. Whether we receive bread and wine, or for health reasons only bread, or neither, we are still able to feed on Jesus in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving. We won’t be serving teas and coffees after the services until further notice. We should replace physical contact such as shaking hands and hugging with waves, bowing or thumbs up! Arrangements will be made for the collection to be taken in a more hygienic way (details on Sunday). We may consider moving to online forms of church in the coming weeks!
We will continue for now to have our midweek communion service at St John’s at 9.30am on Wednesdays, and meet for prayer at St Mary’s at 9.30am on Fridays. Most other church events will be “paused” until further notice including Atfield House services, Tuesday Youth Hub, Flightpath, the monthly Thursday Bible study and the Lent Sessions.
In our communities, phone calls can be a good way to check in with people, and help everyone feel remembered and loved. Please keep in touch with each other, and reach out to someone if you’re struggling. This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to be a church family that serves and lives out the love of Jesus in our communities, through checking in on elderly neighbours, offering to pick up any shopping to leave on the doorstep for anyone needing to keep themselves isolated, and praying for God to be at work in our communities in this time. The church has often been a sanctuary at time of crisis. Let’s wash our hands, but keep them open in generosity toward others.