I feel a bit like Boris Johnson making an official statement!
As you are aware, the government have strongly advised that all non-essential social gatherings cease for the foreseeable future.
On one level we do recognise that fellowship is essential – Hebrews 10:25 makes it clear that we should not forsake fellowship. The context of that verse is geared towards those who stay away rather than where meeting is not possible; however, fellowship is of huge importance.
We also have to consider what it looks like for us to submit to government (1 Peter 2:13).
We recognise that God is sovereign, and one of our prayers at this time is for His protection, and we also recognise that we have responsibilities of care.
We don’t want to seem like we are panicking and crumbling, but we also don’t want to seem like we are acting flippantly.
As elders, we have taken advice from other churches, along with the FIEC. Please see the link to their statement below
We have decided with immediate effect to suspend all church-based activities for the immediate future. This will mean that we suspend our Sunday gatherings for the next two weeks and then review them fortnightly. All other church-based activities will be suspended and reviewed in 4 weeks’ time.
How will things work in the meantime?
This Sunday (technology permitting) we will be recording a simplified video service and message. We have created a church ‘YouTube’ channel and will post the link on our church website and Facebook page on Sundays at 10.30 am.
It would be a great way to encourage one another, if on Sundays at 10.30 am we post a picture of our ‘home church’ gatherings and tag the church on Facebook with @Holbrooks Evangelical Church!
We are looking at the possibility of creating some smaller WhatsApp groups for prayer requests and possibly even video links to pray together. There are also some really practical things to pray for, such as protection for the vulnerable and at risk, wellbeing of local businesses and people’s livelihoods, wisdom for church and government, an end to the pandemic, an opportunity to witness.
Gareth and Yolande are in the process of matching people up within the fellowship to meet practical needs, they are working through those who are considered to be at risk. Ben and Jon are still going to be around over the next few weeks and will be based at the church office, their working weeks will look different to normal, and they have allotted time in the week to be on hand to help in any way necessary. Whilst pastoral visits may not be wise, they are available if needed, and always in emergency. Ben and Jon have allotted time to do a ‘shop and drop’ service for people, so please do get in contact with them and they will collect a list from you, do your shopping and drop it round.
Also, over the next week, Ben, Jon and Gary are going to phone or video call if possible, all those who are likely to be isolated to pray with them and explain what is happening.
In order to maintain essential ongoing financial support to the church and ministry we are looking into adding a paypal option on our website. If you would like to send your offerings direct to the bank account, please speak to Gareth for details. Alternatively, you can send cheques made out to ‘Holbrooks Evangelical Church’ and send them to Holbrooks Evangelical Church, 20 Parkgate Road, CV6 4GD.
This is also a real opportunity for us to show Christian care to one another. We will endeavour to keep you up to speed with all that is going on and have included relevant contact details below. Not meeting together will be painful, but the first Sunday back will be sweet!
Feel free to contact me over anything raised in this letter.
With much love and prayer, on behalf of the church leaders
Ben 07803698523 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon 07703551384 email@example.com
Gary 07469886060 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gareth 07455816639 email@example.com