14th March 2020 – a letter from George to the Congregation.
To the Pinhoe Road church family
Let me open with three important reminders:
- Our God knows the past, present and future in great detail – we can trust him
- Jesus sits on the throne, victorious over sin and death – we have hope
- The Holy Spirit is with us to comfort us and lead us – we are not alone
By now you will have become aware that the Government has moved to the ‘delay’ stage of its plan to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak. There are lots of mixed messages and mixed feelings at this time – from the media, social media, different organisations and how they are dealing with the outbreak, as well as from our friends and family. As Elders we have continued to monitor the situation, looking at the advice of the Government, Public Health England and also the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
At this stage I would like to confirm that we will continue to meet as usual on Sunday mornings; to that end I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow. Ahead of tomorrow I would like to remind you of some practical steps to follow in order to be safe and to advise you of some precautionary steps we have decided to take as part of our Sunday services.
- If you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough please stay home for seven days. More details on Coronavirus can be found here with a practical list of dos and don’ts. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Please continue to regularly practice good hand washing (minimum of 20 seconds) and keep your hands away from your face. We have plenty of soap and we have had our taps replaced this week to make sure we can wash our hands properly. The NHS recommend washing your hands when you get home or get to work, so it would probably be advisable to wash your hands when you get to church too.
- Refrain from shaking hands and hugging – I know that for some of us this will be difficult but it is wise in order to limit spreading the virus.
- There will be no offering bags passed tomorrow. We will instead have a box at the front and the back of the room for you to drop your offering into. If you haven’t yet started giving electronically now might be a good time to consider that. For more information on this please email me.
- We will serve tea and coffee after the service but we will be pouring milk for you! Our tea and coffee team will, as normal, ensure they have clean hands and will limit the touching of milk jugs by serving you. We’ll hopefully have another tea and coffee station to limit the need to all flood into one corner.
For those amongst us who are elderly or have health conditions making them vulnerable and who might decide not to come to Pinhoe Road, we support your personal decision and we will miss you. The same goes for those who are personally worried for themselves or for people close to them. Sermons will continue to be uploaded to our website and we will do our utmost to keep in touch.
At a time like this we can come together as a community to serve and bless each other. You can support folks in the congregation by picking up the phone and having a chat or sending an email. You could even offer to pick up shopping for someone who is elderly or vulnerable.
Tomorrow morning as part of our service I will help us to think about how through Practicality, Prayer and Preaching we can respond as Christians to the Coronavirus.
There are so many verses of Scripture we can read at this time to comfort and encourage us and those around us, so let me encourage you to open your bibles, read and pray.
Grace + Peace