Coronavirus COVID-19: Some advice and information
12th March 2020
We hope the following advice will be helpful to you as we respond individually, and as a church, to the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation in the UK.
The advice from medical experts is that the threat posed by the virus to the general population is minimum, and that we should keep this in perspective to other common viruses and diseases that affect people generally at this time of year, but to acknowledge that the risk is increased to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. The main issue we seem to be facing is the disproportionate response of fear and anxiety that is sweeping the globe.
Having spent some time this week considering government advice, and learning from the response of other churches around the world, we feel that as believers we should respond with both faith and wisdom in the following ways:
• We commit to trust in our Father God as our protection and place of refuge, He is our confidence for safety from disease and all harm. (Psalm 91)
• To help our church family to keep their hearts and heads rooted in the love and hope of Jesus, and free from fear.
• There is currently no government advice about gathering together, and therefore church services and meetings will continue as normal - We encourage you to prioritise gathering together for encouragement, inspiration and support. We will update you if this advice changes, either nationally or locally.
• As the people of God we aim to be a non-anxious presence in the world, and a witness to those who don’t believe, exercising kindness, compassion, love and understanding to all, pointing to Jesus.
• We commit to be in prayer for our families, church, community and the wider world.
Practical wisdom Response:
• We encourage individual commitment to best practices in personal hygiene including:
1. Carrying tissues and using them to catch any coughs or sneezes then disposing of them.
2. Regular washing of hands with soap and hot water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
3. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• If attenders have cold or flu symptoms they should wait until symptoms have passed before gathering for meetings of the church. Please let us know if you are in this situation - Prayer and support will still be available from the pastoral team.
• Best hygiene practice will be observed in all pastoral contact situations.
• We will make available hand sanitizer* on entrance and exit to the church venue, plus antibacterial soap and disposable hand drying materials in our toilets.
• Communion bread and wine will be made available in individual portions beginning this Sunday.
• Extra measures will be introduced to clean frequently touched surfaces, door handles etc. in the church venue.
• Minimise close personal contact with other church attenders, and respect the choice of individuals for their contact boundaries.
(*We have had hand sanitiser on order for three weeks, but due to the demand this has not yet arrived, as soon as we have it, we will make this available.)
A blessing for you, releasing the power of the Word of God...
As part of our faith response, we want to encourage you to read Psalm 91 daily and stir your faith with the wonderful promises of God. We will also be praying the following blessing over you when we gather for Church on Sundays, and encourage you to pray this over yourselves and your families too:
Adapted and personalised from Numbers 6 and Psalm 91:
'‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.’'
“May you live in the shelter of the Most High and find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue me from every trap and protect me from deadly disease. He will cover me with his feathers. He will shelter me with his wings. His faithful promises are my armour and protection.' ”
In Jesus Name, Amen!
If you have any questions on any of the above, please get in touch.
With love, grace and peace,
On behalf of the Eldership Team