The news and statements from the UK government on Monday 16th March are clear; all non essential travel and social gatherings should be avoided. Faith groups were explicitly included in this by the Secretary of State for Health in his speech to the House of Commons.
Therefore, with immediate effect we are issuing instructions that all our churches are to close for all worship and to all other non essential users.
We realise this will come as deep disappointment to many but we are reminded that we have a duty of care to our members and to all those who use our buildings. This also includes all activities acting in the name of the church in people’s homes.
Just because we are not meeting does not mean the church has closed for business. The challenge for us all now that we cannot ‘go to church’ is how do we ‘be church’ in our own particular context. We will need to find new ways of supporting one another, of worshiping and praying together. There are lots of resources on the internet and social media groups are springing up everywhere and we will be working at ways to connect with those who are not online.
You may of course contact your minister and other members of the circuit team who will be working from home. We will be working with pastoral secretaries to keep in touch with people and respond to need as far as possible. We are also working at ways to ensure the smooth running of the churches when we are unable to Church Councils, Circuit Meetings etc.
If you have any queries that cannot be resolved locally please contact either Patrick or me directly by either email or by phone. Clearly we are responding to a rapidly changing situation.
On St Patrick’s day words from St Patrick’s Breastplate, a prayer of protection, seems appropriate – please feel free to use ‘us’ or indeed insert someone’s name in for whom you pray today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,