As we enter the four weeks of the second lockdown, I wanted to write both to encourage you and to inform you about the new government restrictions and the way they will affect church activities.
The first, difficult news is that in this period, we are no longer permitted to allow anyone to attend services in church. A few of us can be in church to lead and broadcast services, which we will continue to do on Sundays at 10am. You will find the links to join in on our home page. If you have any difficulty accessing these – or have any other issues around using your device to join in – there are people who would love to help you, so please ring the office (01372 842071) in the first instance.
Additionally, any meetings planned need to be held virtually, rather than in person. This applies to everything from PCC meetings to Life Group socials. Many of you have told me how much you dislike zoom (or its equivalents). However, if we can regard it simply as a helpful tool to enable us to gather in ways that otherwise are not possible (especially important for those of us living alone) then I hope many of our vital group gatherings can continue. Again, if you have the technology but are worried about using it, please contact the office to seek support.
The good news is that we can continue to visit the church building for private prayer on Wednesdays from 4-5.30pm, so please do continue to book for that via the church office or the booking page. Let’s use this opportunity.
I end with the encouragement of this verse, used in previous pastoral letters:
‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.’ (Romans 12.12)
Our hope is not just about the end of the pandemic or the invention of a vaccine. It is based on Jesus and all that he has done for us on the cross, opening the way for an intimate relationship with our loving heavenly Father, beginning now and lasting into eternity. When this hope feels distant may I suggest you turn to the Psalms? They are wonderful verses containing every raw human emotion. Peace is found as the psalmist acknowledges afresh that God both knows how he feels and is in control. And this applies to us too.
The pastoral assistants, members of the bereavement and ministry teams and clergy are all still available to help you or someone you know who may be struggling, so please get in touch so that we can support one another in any way over these next few weeks.