COVID-19 Outbreak: a message from John Walford

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Friends, we face a situation that few if any of us has faced before. It is not, however, unprecedented. Throughout history the Church has had to find ways to exist when meeting openly was impossible. The Church in China has grown and the Church in Iran is flourishing today in similar circumstances.

Psalm 27:1 says: 
The Lord is my light and my salvation –  whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

In the light of current advice from the Government and the Baptist Union we will be suspending all meetings until further notice. This does not mean that the church is closing down, it means that we will be finding new ways to express our community life and to encourage one another. Our mission to grow Deeper – Closer – Wider continues but will need to be expressed in a new form.

We are the Body of Christ. When we had no chapel in which to worship each week we discovered a deeper truth about what that meant. As God’s family we will discover deeper truths about this again. We will be here for one another and for our neighbours.

Let me outline what we intend to do:

1. Daily bulletin

There will be a daily bulletin from the Elders at the same time each day. This will give:

  • information about the situation
  • tips for coping with it.
  • Daily readings and words of encouragement
  • Items for prayer
  • News that you want to share with others

This will be a one stop shop for everything to do with community life.

2. Video streaming

We will be continuing with our teaching series and posting sermons to our own YouTube channel. Details to follow.

For those unable to stream video we will be looking at alternative ways to ensure that you receive the teaching that you need.

3. Church community

As a Church community we will be caring for each other. I will be in contact with each of you (not every day!) and we will be connecting everyone into a network able to provide care for each other. I will give details of how this will happen in the next day or two.

4. Church Office

The Church Office will be a coordinating point for our activities. If the office is unmanned, you can leave a voicemail and be sure it will be attended to.  Alternatively, you can leave a message on my home phone.

As the situation develops, I expect our response to develop as well.

Here are the steps I would like you to follow at this stage:

  1. Contact the office to let us know if you are self-isolating. We will assume that you will be if you are over 70, in line with Government advice
  2. Consider whether you can volunteer to be part of the care network. You can do that in one of two ways – by offering practical help (if you are under 70) or by offering to telephone people so that we stay in contact with each other (you can be any age to do this).
  3. Pass on this information to others – especially those you know who don’t have email. Make sure that those that do have email are checking it regularly.
  4. If you are in contact with people without email ask them if there is another way in which they can play video (e.g. they have a DVD player)
  5. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
  6. We would love to hear of any creative ideas that you have for encouraging fellowship and meeting need. Please email these rather than phone.
  7. Above all do not panic but trust the Lord with your life. Whatever happens you are safe with Him.

I’m sure that you have many questions. Let me know what they are and I will attempt to answer them for you.

More information will come with tomorrow’s daily bulletin which will be published at 15.00.

The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,