St John the Baptist
Dear friends in Christ, Our Response to the Covid-19 Virus
The landscape of our village and social life is changing fast, with many unknowable's and uncertainties. Thankfully, we have an anchor in this storm. The Psalmist encourages us in Psalm 121 with his question, "I lift up my eyes to the hills - from where does my help come?" This is our question too as science and government struggle to give us answers and hope. But then the Psalmist also knows the answer to his own question - to our questions amidst this uncertainty. "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." We trust in a God who created everything; who knows the beginning from the end; who loves us and reassures us of peace despite these circumstances. And so, prayer becomes our lifeline. And the bible gives us the words to pray, when ours run out.
And so, we respond by praying, by caring, and by sharing. We pray for ourselves, our neighbours and our world. We care for one another within the constraints of government guidance. And we share our hope in the certainty of eternal life through Jesus, in our words and action.
We are part of a world community that is grappling with understanding this Virus and so, we honour our brothers across the world by following government guidance. To this end, we will no longer be the gathered church, meeting for Sunday or midweek worship. We will no longer gather in meetings or in groups to express our worship. Instead, we will take responsibility for our own Discipleship by reading God's word, praying, and serving our fellow human beings within the constraints of government guidance. So no bell ringing, no church services, no meetings, no gatherings. Instead, we pray and serve. Praise God for the church - for you and I who pray, who care, who share.
During this time, Safeguarding remains paramount and everybody's responsibility, even if the current systems don't quite suit the circumstances or need, so vigilance in oversight. We have a duty of care to act responsibly and safely, to ensure the safety of those we serve, and to report anything that worries you to myself or a churchwarden.
The key messages then:
+ No church services, bell ringing or gathering (including outdoors). With this, no advertising of events or gatherings either.
+ APCM's can no longer take place. Guidance is expected from our legal department on this.
+ Weddings, funerals and baptisms can only take place with immediate family.
+ Only essential meetings, and then keeping to health guidelines for social distancing will be held.
+ Our churches will remain open for private prayer. Please do not use or handle any books or prayer cards though.
+ Share good news stories with me so that we can encourage one another and spur one another on to good deeds.
+ Two people will be praying for our communities every morning in each of our churches. Please feed prayer requests to me for this.
+ Join Christians across the country in praying at 7.00pm daily with a lit candle in your window.
Yours in Christ,