As you know we are living in exceptional times. Both the statistics and the government advice indicate that we are in the grip of a pandemic which is endangering health and life. The socially responsible thing for all of us to do is to practise ‘social distancing’ on a profound scale to slow the spread of infection and limit the health impacts.
The government advice is to curtail non-essential social contact. Basically only ‘work’ and ‘school’ fit the criteria of being allowed to continue (for the moment!).
We have taken the decision that we should suspend our corporate gatherings plus our mid-week central-building gathering activities (such as C4J, 2×2, and also Dads n Kidz) for the time-being.
The Foodbank distribution sessions are still expecting to operate as a service to the community.
Let us remind ourselves though that despite this suspension of corporate gatherings, we are still church!
Our gatherings are very important to us, but they do not totally define us. The church is people following Jesus, in covenant together, engaged in the local community! We can still be that, even with the difficulties presented by us not gathering.
We will be working up ideas and plans to help us continue to be church into this extraordinary period. Here is our current thinking:
- Meeting physically in any sized group is now not possible in any form. However we very much encourage you to form impromptu small groups using technology (Facebook/Whatsapp/Skype video calls, or even just gather around a mobile or landline phone on speaker!) .
- We will be willing to furnish some basic notes / suggestions for your meeting if you need it.
- Of course the existing small groups can also meet virtually on this same basis if they wish.
- The only use of the building is now for Ely Foodbank (if it is able to keep running)
We will be publishing a message on the church blog key-questions at least once a week, and potentially doing a short audio podcast onto the sermons audio page. Remember that you can also listen to this on ITunes and Spotify!
We would also like to encourage everyone to take initiative and contact each other using the myriad comms technology at our fingertips (i.e. ‘pick up the phone’!). Work out who has become isolated and proactively offer help. We will be working with the PCT and Leadership team to try and ensure everyone is covered … but it is a network we can all generate together!
If you need help yourself, or have concerns or questions, please do get in contact.
Finally do not isolate off your testimony about Jesus! Pray and find a quiet confidence in the Lord, and be a non-anxious presence with those you meet or are in contact with. Let them know that your basic trust is in Jesus, whatever the circumstances. Let those conversations develop, also in tandem with extending care to neighbour. Use your imagination, pray and follow the Spirit’s promptings.
This last point is important since we want the love and message of Jesus to spread! Yes we want to contain & halt the progress of covid-19, but we want to do the exact opposite with the testimony of Jesus (see Karl’s personal blog post on this).
God can do great things, even in these unusual times.
Every blessing Karl, Helen and the Leadership Team