Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that churches can begin to reopen from 4th July though there will still be a number of restrictions in place. At the moment there are still many questions as to what this will mean for churches. We are awaiting more detailed guidance that will be published by the government in the coming days. We are also consulting with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches who are in regular contact with government ministers and who are seeking to help and guide churches such as ourselves.
Throughout lockdown the Elders have been meeting regularly on Zoom to discuss and pray about the way ahead for us as a church. We will be meeting next week to pray and plan how we should proceed as a church. Throughout this process we have been guided by four principles;
- Health - As part of our love for one another we are committed to do all that we can to protect the safety and health of the church family. We are especially committed to protecting those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
- Spiritual Growth - We are committed to do all that we can to help build one another up in our faith. At every stage we want to help everyone to feed on the pure spiritual milk of God’s word so that we can all grow up in our salvation (1Peter 2:2.)
- Unity - We are committed to doing all that we can to maintain and to express the unity that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even when we are apart we are one united Church family.
- Witness - We are committed to being an outward looking church because we long for others to be born again through the living and enduring word of God (1 Peter 1:23.) At every stage we want to be a church that “declares the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9.) We also want to be good citizens who honour the Lord Jesus in our community as we submit to the authorities.
Every church faces a different set of circumstances as they come out of lockdown. There are at least three complicating factors that we face;
- The relatively large size of our congregation
- The relatively small capacity of our building on Bessacarr Lane which will be reduced further due to social distancing.
- We normally meet in a rented school hall
Our ultimate goal is to be back together as a church family but this is probably still some way off for us. Other churches may be able to get back to normality quicker than us. Please be patient and pray with us that God would guide us and give us wisdom as we make difficult decisions.
Please also pray that God would preserve our love and unity as a church at this time when many of us will have different opinions over what should happen and when. In light of what we heard last Sunday, please pray that we would all “have sincere love for each other, and love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22.) As Ken reminded us on Sunday, this love always involves sacrificially laying aside our desires and tastes for the good of others.
When there is much uncertainty it is easy to to look forward and be anxious or annoyed. The Bible would encourage us to look up to God and look back at his faithfulness to us and to give thanks. So please let me encourage you to watch this week’s Midweek Message from Psalm 107 which reminds us to;
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever.”
Don’t forget to join us on Sunday at 10.30am as we continue our series in 1 Peter 2:4-10. This is a particularly relevant passage as Peter teaches us who we are as a church. As normal the video will be able on the church website or Youtube channel.
May grace and peace be yours in abundance