January 6th 2021
Dear Emmanuel Family
Following the announcement of the new lockdown, the Re-Opening Team met on Tuesday morning (January 5th). This is myself, John Weaver, Linda Withers,, Rachel Tighe and Mike Maddocks. Following this meeting I have contacted the rest of our Trustees and sought their prayers and support for the direction we are feeling it is right to take. Thankfully, this has been given.
The key outcome of this prayerful process is that our Churches will not be open for physically-gathered services at the present time.
The reasons for this are, amongst others:
As almost every other opportunity to gather together indoors has been deemed unsafe, it feels uncomfortable that the main opportunity people may have to spread or receive the virus is in a Church gathering. I personally think it sends the wrong message if we don’t stand with others who are being restricted at this time for very good reasons.
I am not comfortable as Team Rector to host a service (or any other event) which leaves someone who otherwise might stay safely at home in a quandary about whether they ‘ought’ to come to Church or not.
We will of course be continuing our online provision this year. Thank you to James Fearnley and the team who led last Sunday’s service. If you are able to join us online, either at the time services happen (10.30 on Sundays or 7PM on Wednesdays and on YouTube for our Midweek Communion Services) or watch them later, please do. Worshipping online isn’t what many of us would ideally choose, but I have found many times over the last 10 months that there has been a profound sense of God amongst us, even as we are physically apart from one another. I will continue to offer material for individual and group Bible Study, along with the Clergy Team, which will be available online. If you find that you have need of support, conversation, assistance, prayer or anything else, PLEASE let us know. I have loved seeing the Church family at work together to support one another over the last year. Please also, if you are comfortable, make use of the Weekly Prayer Sheet. I know many people use it to guide their prayers. If you don’t know what this is or how to get hold of a copy, please contact Fiona Potter, or Linda Withers in the Church Office.
We are of course left with a couple of outstanding things to consider and act on:
1. Prayer for an end to the primary impact of Coronavirus.
2. Making sure that we support our Church family effectively, especially those who are not able to access what is provided by Emmanuel online. The Boothville team and congregation have done a marvellous job over the last 10 months, as this is the group primarily affected by our worship being online only, but if there are ways we could serve one another better whether online or offline, I would be delighted to hear suggestions.
Our Saviour Christ is the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.
If we follow Jesus, we know that we can have a sure footing and foundation for our lives, even when all around us it feels like sinking sand and uncertainty, and we also know that once we run this race of life as if to win, we will also be welcomed home to find true rest, peace and joy with Him. Whatever these next few weeks hold for us individually, or as a Church family, let’s do all we can to remain thankful and hopeful. This is an unbelievably tough and painful time for many of us and many around us. Keep walking with Jesus in this season.
Thanks in advance for your prayers and support in the coming weeks.