Church life has changed for us all and I promised to write to you with an update following the September Elder’s meeting. As we seek God’s will for our church, our discerning process is focused on three main areas and what they could look like in the current situation.
- Encouraging Spiritual Growth
- Serving each other within our church family
- Serving our wider community.
We live in a time where it is hard to make many firm plans and so we are constantly reviewing what is possible and seeking new and creative ways to be the church.
The first live-streamed service from the church building took place on Sunday, Sept 13th with only the Brierleys and other essential support team present. The lay out of the church will look a little different in order to ease the transition from a front-room feel to the church building. This will gradually change over time as more people take part and then as we head towards services with a congregation present. Our aim is for this to happen as soon as we have gained some experience of the new sound and streaming system (this is no small task!) and can be sure all safety measures are in place. When we first open up to having a congregation present it will be a fairly small number which will gradually increase towards capacity. Some of you are anxious to know exactly when this will be and I can say that, if all goes well, hopefully it will be sometime in October.
Sadly, church services will have to be very different to the ones we were used to because we must abide by the government rules about acts of worship. This is hard for us all to come to terms with, not least me but, for all our wellbeing and the protection of the most vulnerable, we will ask that you abide by them.
- Anyone showing Covid-19 symptoms will be asked not to attend.
- Numbers will be limited, and places will have to be booked in advance (more details about how this will work will be sent out in due course)
- Everyone will be asked to wear a face covering (unless you have a medical reason otherwise) and to sanitise their hands on arrival.
- There will be a strict one-way system in place and you will be shown to your seats, all of which will be 2 metres apart (households can sit together).
- Although hymns will be led from the front, we regret that no congregational singing is allowed.
- Children are, of course, welcome. At present we are sadly unable to offer groups for them but we are keeping this under constant review and will advise of any changes.
- Unfortunately we won’t be able to serve refreshments and everyone will need to leave once the service has finished.
We recognise that there will be a wide variety of views regarding returning to the building. Some people can’t wait and have been feeling frustrated, whilst others have told me that they don’t feel confident about gathering in groups just yet. My plea is that we show grace to one other and respect the fact that we are each on different journeys, have different health or family concerns, and different experiences of this pandemic.
Please keep praying for our church – for our spiritual growth, our life together and our service to the community. May God’s love grow in us and overflow into the lives of others as we walk the road of faith.
Yours in Christ,
‘Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’
1 Peter 2 v5