Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The coronavirus is spreading at a fast pace and as such demands that we quickly make changes to the way we live, witness and worship as a community of believers.
We need the continued support of one another in order to go through this unprecedented pandemic. We offer you our support and the support of the other churches in the circuit.
At present we are following government guidance and advice from the Connexion.
As we take account of the specific demographics of our circuit congregations and the proportion of elderly people with underlying health conditions, you are advised to follow government guidance about washing hands, cleaning surfaces, keeping distance between one another, no handshaking, hugs or kisses and ‘to use common sense to make things work in your local situation’.
In order to diminish the spread of the virus it is anticipated that the Circuit’s default position will be that worship and all forms of gathering will be suspended within the next days or weeks, pending guidance from the authorities.
In cases where worship and social gatherings are discontinued we continue to be the church. We will actively care for one another and pray for one another. Our circuit will offer to help with a ‘Mission Care Plan’ which will be sent in a subsequent correspondence.
Local church leaderships and their ministers will be given the responsibility to assess their own contexts and make decisions about whether to keep worship and social gatherings open, a move which the Circuit will equally support. We recognise that LEPs are in a different position and we respect that their ministers have to consider and balance the views of all the involved denominations.
The usual expectation of Preachers to fulfil plan appointments does not apply if they are concerned for their own or others’ well-being. In the light of government guidance and advice from the Connexion, the circuit takes the view that preachers who are within a high risk category (i.e. if they are experiencing symptoms or they or those close to them are vulnerable/susceptible) are expected to withdraw their preaching appointments from the Plan at this time.
If anyone – member or congregation – feels they are vulnerable and wishes to absent themselves from worship temporarily then we support that as a decision to prioritise each others’ well-being.
With the help of the Lord, let us strengthen each other’s faith, love and hope.
The best thing of all is God is with us!