A few people have been asking whether the Coronavirus outbreak affects us as a church family and how we are responding.
In recent days the UK Chief Medical Officer has raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. And so, whilst the virus remains a relatively small threat to the majority of people, we recognise the serious implications for many in our community, particularly for those who are elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
How then should we respond as a church family?
Firstly, can we encourage everyone to pray! Whilst Coronavirus poses a relatively small threat in the UK we acknowledge that it has devastated many lives, and continues to be a huge challenge for many across the world.
1) Pray for those who are directly affected, those who have lost loved ones, those who are currently suffering with the illness. We must remember that the impact of this outbreak will most likely go far beyond the first few weeks when it is in the public eye – many will face consequences for years to come.
2) Pray for those who face the biggest threat from the illness. Particularly the elderly, the vulnerable and those with underlying health conditions.
3) Pray for the emergency services. Responding to this crisis will put even more pressure on our UK health care system. Pray for those within and outside our church family who work in the health care services.
4) Pray for businesses that will be affected by the current crisis.
5) We would also encourage you to pray for our children. We have already had a couple of children and young people talk about their fear and anxiety at this time, for many it will be the first time they have encountered something like this – pray that the enemy would not sow seeds of fear in this difficult time.
What’s happening to services, gatherings and things like that?
As we have already said, we want to assure you that we are taking the implications of the Coronavirus seriously and keeping up to date with government guidelines in how we respond over the coming weeks and months as a church family.
1) Currently (as of 2pm on 12th March) there is no advice to stop public gatherings, and so our services, activities and events will continue as normal. Of course, there is a possibility this could change in the coming weeks and months, and we will advise you as soon as we can about any change.
2) We encourage you to follow the guidance given by the NHS and government, which you can find online by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
3) We are working hard to take appropriate precautions at our larger gatherings, including extra precautions for those preparing food and refreshments.
4) If you suspect you may have contracted Coronavirus or have recently been to areas directly affected by the virus then we encourage you to contact NHS 111 and seek guidance for self-isolation.
A final word…
Whilst Coronavirus is a real and present threat to many we remember that as Christians we are not ruled by fear and anxiety. In his letter to the Romans Paul reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God;
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8 v 35 & 37)
Paul reminds us that we are covered in the love of God, and it is through our confidence in Him and His love for us, that we can live as conquerors, even through the most difficult of circumstances.
So please pray, follow the government guidance, and live in confidence and assurance that God is with us and able to lead us through this challenging time.
If you would like to pray with someone or talk more about anything we have discussed in this email please contact one of the team, you can call the office on 01384 370365.
Elders and Directors