Dear St Joseph's Members,
As I'm sure you well know, on Monday evening the government updated guidelines on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and restrictions on public gatherings, transport and working. The Church of England has therefore responded by issuing advice that gathered acts of public worship and mid-week gatherings must be put on hold.
So sadly this means it is no longer possible for us to meet in person for Sunday services, Midweek Groups, or any other gatherings until further notice.
Whilst this is extremely disappointing, we're working to find new ways of linking up to encourage one another, as well as supporting those most vulnerable in our community. Here's what we've got planned so far:
1. Although we are not meeting for our services in person, we are planning to provide service online at 10.30am this Sunday on YouTube. Watch and subscribe by clicking here.
2. As we are not going to be able to meet together in Midweek Groups (or other small groups) in person we are working at meeting electronically.
3. Obviously one of our biggest concerns we have is for those in our congregation who end up self-isolating when they live on their own or are in vulnerable categories. So please do let us know if that's you.
4. This isn't just a time for us to hunker down and protect ourselves, but as Christians we are always called upon to "love our neighbours as ourselves". That's one of the ways we show our love for God, by loving others! So, I'd like you to make the most of those opportunities if you can (we have some ideas, if you want to get in touch). I must stress that this illness is serious and the threat is real, especially to those among us who are elderly or immune suppressed – We mustn't take it lightly. So even if you are not worried for our own health you must take precautions as you do this, for the sake of others.
These are unprecedented events – but they give us a completely new opportunity as a church family to live out, and show people around us, what Jesus calls us to: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13.34-35)
So join me in praying for our government, and nation, and for us as a church – that we would be a church that Jesus would be proud of during this unsettling time.