You will probably be aware of the Government and Public Health England’s call for social distancing, to prevent the spread of coronavirus. As a result, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have taken the unprecedented step of suspending all Church of England Sunday services and mid-week gatherings.
I am writing to let you know how this will affect us at St Michael’s Braintree. The staff team have been busy planning and praying how we should respond. Sadly, all church services and mid-week groups at St Michael’s Church will stop for the time being. This means that there will be no Sunday services at St Michael’s, and none of our groups will be meeting – this includes our children’s & youth groups, Home Groups, Coffee @ StMichael’s, Men’s & Women’s groups, Talking Jesus, PCC and PCC sub-groups, First Priority prayer meeting and all other groups. This is necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, particularly to protect those who are most at risk. From Friday 20th March, Church House (our church halls) will be closed to groups that meet there. Wherever possible, we will try to find other ways to stay in touch, while we cannot meet together.
As a church family, we are not defined by buildings or events. We are a community of people who follow Jesus. We are clearly going to have to find other ways to support one another, spiritually and practically, in these very difficult times. Two particular ways are these:
1) Worship on the web
Instead of our Sunday services, we will have, on our website each Sunday ,things to help you worship at home. We will be starting a series on the character of God – in these uncertain times, we need to remind ourselves of our loving, unchanging God, who sent his Son Jesus to save us. There will be a variety of items, including worship songs, Bible readings, prayers, a sermon as well as a talk for children & families. This is new for all of us, so please give us feedback and suggestions, as things develop.
St. Michael's Church website is on the following link - http://stmichaelsbtree.co.uk/website/ (If this does not work, you might need to clear your browsing history/web cache from your browser. In most browsers this can be done using Ctrl+Shift+Del.) On this page you can see our Magazine, Notice sheets, Annual reports and other details and will be able to access our Sunday online services.
Our Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/stmichaelschurchbraintree/.
2) Practical and spiritual support
We are very conscious that people in high risk groups will need to self-isolate. As a church family, we would like to do all we can to support, not just church members, but neighbours and others who are in need.
We will be seeking to put people in touch with others who can help them, particularly with practical things, such as shopping for food or collecting medicines. If you are able to help in any way, please contact Jo Adams ([email protected]).
These times are both a challenge and an opportunity for us, as Christians, to show God’s love. Please be alert to the needs of neighbours and others who may be self-isolating, some by themselves. Even if we can’t physically visit people, we can phone them.
The coronavirus, and the restrictions now placed on all of us, remind us our fragility and of the stark fact that we do not have control of our world. It reminds us as well of our need of God and our need to pray. I hope and pray that you know God’s presence, power and love at this time of challenge and change.