A PASTORAL LETTER
in this Time of Crisis
Friday March 20th, 2020
Grace and peace to you.
I am sure we are all wondering each day what news will be forthcoming. Things seem to be moving at such a pace and we are living in ‘unprecedented times’, please keep safe and take care.
We have been contacting our Emmanuel Family to give the sad news that we have had to close Church and cease all our activities until further notice. We are co-ordinating efforts to make sure that we follow all the guidelines from our Methodist Connexion and of course our Government but are doing so with as much love and grace as we possibly can. Calls have been made to our community users of the posters have gone up on our notice boards outside our building to assure folk of our prayers and support and notices have been posted here and on our Facebook page so we can keep our online visitors up to date and again giving assurances of our support.
Our next task will be to put into place practical measures at church so we will have a deep clean of our building and we also will check that it is secure and safe during our absence. Any other financial or property based matters will be dealt with in due course.
But most importantly, I will continue working with the stewards and others to find ways of keeping us all connected at this time. We are still family! Our building enables us to ‘meet’ together but our relationship enables us to ‘be’ together. So you will find posted on here ideas for morning and evening prayers that may help you over the coming weeks. It is based on the Methodist Diaconal Order’s spiritual rule of life that keeps us as deacons connected to one another throughout the country year by year. I would like to think that if we as a church family use this daily it will enable us to feel joined together too during this time of social distancing.
Might I also commend two other ways we can do this …
If you are able, would you please stop at 12 noon each day and just find a few moments to pray for our Emmanuel Church Family and the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Family. It would be such a joy to think that at that moment each one of us is connected in prayer.
Jot down the name of three people from our church that you particularly want to remember in prayer and pray for them daily. You choose the time!
We will be making sure that each household will receive regular updates and resources to keep us worshipping and praying together, also a phone call/text message to check everyone is keeping well and healthy both in body and mind, during these uncertain times. Isolation can be a very difficult for all of us, families with young children, those that live alone, folk who are missing their work colleagues and routines, all sorts of reasons. So a friendly chat or message can go a long way to alleviate any pressures or difficulties. Hopefully in the coming days everyone will receive details of a contact person that they can be in touch with from the church, that person can help co-ordinate along with others any necessary shopping, picking up of medicines etc and is also someone they can talk to for any need. We don’t want to replace family and friends that may already be helping, or you yourself may be that helpful person but we do want to make sure that no one is neglected during this time. It is going to take all of us to care for all of us!
We will do our best to also support our neighbours and communities where we can too … conversations this week with CCA and the Salvation Army central has enabled us to link people with necessary food, conversations with colleagues in charities and other denominations has given encouragement to keep going! All of us can be sources of support and love even from within our own homes!
The bible contains 365 verses about not being afraid or fearful, one for every day of the year. So for this season may I share with you the following … assuring you that you are perfectly loved by God! So do not fear what you may hear or read, do not fear for your life or for what tomorrow may bring … let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Love and prayers always,
P.S. Thank you for those who have been praying for me, sent messages, cards and gifts during my illness of a severe chest infection. I have had some complications and am still returning to the doctor for treatment but improving. Obviously being careful now with a compromised immune system but praying for you and trying to do all I can alongside others to help during this time, from home. Be assured of great love and thoughts always.