Coronavirus update

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds everyone safe and well and virus free!

You will, we’re sure, be more than well aware that as a nation we have entered a new phase in trying to fight the new coronavirus and there is advice coming thick and fast.

This email is to let you know what effect this will have on our church life together, but first let’s be especially diligent about praying for one another, our church community and our nation at this time.

Let’s pray that we would face this challenge in the strength of the Lord and not with anxiety.
Let’s pray that we would be a light shining in the darkness of a fearful world.
Let’s pray that we would witness to the peace which comes from knowing Jesus and resting in all that he has done for us.
Let‘s pray for great wisdom for our leaders and scientific advisers.
Let’s pray for those especially vulnerable in our society.
Let’s pray for those on the frontline dealing with this, especially members of St. Peter’s working in the NHS.

With that in mind, the big message, in accordance with government advice, is this:
All Sunday services will continue.
If you are well, please continue to come to church to pray and encourage one another especially through this difficult time.
If you are unwell, please don’t come (and see further below).

And here in more detail are the practical measures we are putting in place immediately to make coming to church as safe as possible for everyone and to ensure that we are all looking after one another well:

Personal hygiene

  • Please wash your hands regularly. There is plenty of liquid soap, hot water and paper towels in the 3 loos and the dedicated handwashing sink in the kitchen
  • Signs will be displayed around church to remind us all what we are supposed to be doing to help ourselves and one another.
  • We are arranging for all commonly touched surfaces, door handles, light switches etc to be cleaned regularly.

Social distancing

  • We will all need to refrain from hugging and handshakes and rely on warm words of welcome (elbow bumps if that’s your thing!)
  • Both the 9am and 6pm services will now take place in the main body of the church so as to enable people to sit further apart.

Communion

  • Bread only will be offered at communion and all servers will observe rigorous hand hygiene rules.
  • Communion will continue every week at the 9am service.
  • Communion will now take place monthly at the 10.30 service on the 1st Sunday of the month.

Bibles

  • There is no specific advice against using church Bibles but you may wish to bring your own.

Refreshments

  • All refreshments will be served in disposable cups. Servers will wear protective gloves (and will serve you with milk and sugar too as you wish).

Midweek church activities

  • The seniors team has taken the decision to suspend our regular activities for seniors during March and April and we will review thereafter. Sorry no lunch on the 24th!
  • For the time being all other activities of the church will continue as normal subject to the measures we have explained.
  • It is important that we continue to meet and support one another and so do keep meeting in Rooted groups, subject of course to the government’s advice on self-isolation.

Pastoral Support

  • This is going to be a challenging time for many of us and we want to make sure that we are all loving and supporting one another as much as we can.
  • For those who are unwell (and for the elderly and vulnerable members of our congregations), we are putting together a plan to ensure that you are fully supported and connected during this time and we will share further details of this on Sunday.
  • We would encourage everyone to play their part in this by keeping in regular touch with others in Rooted groups.
  • If you know more elderly or vulnerable members of the congregation please be proactive in keeping in touch with them by phone or email.
  • Let’s also be a witness by doing the same with elderly neighbours or others who may be self-isolating.

 Any queries or concerns we might not have thought of, please do let us know as we continue to trust the Lord and to work out our response together. We will keep you updated as this situation develops.

Jesus said: “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

The staff and church wardens
14 March 2020