St John’s Coronovirus (COVID-19) Premises Reopening Policy
Thought for the day – reflections from members of the circuit
A message from the Chair of District, Rev Paul Martin:
Greetings from the District Manse!
There are more questions than answers. I have been inundated with questions about finance, Synods, governance, furloughing, property, pastoral matters – the list goes on. In many cases I haven’t been able to give the answer and have had to resort to the standard, “I’ll have to get back to you on that one”.
Perhaps the biggest question is what will the new normality look like? What have we learned (and continue to learn) during the pandemic and attendant lockdown which we will want to carry forward into the future? To put a theological spin on it, what is God teaching us? It would be a missed opportunity if each church, and indeed each follower of Jesus, does not reflect on how we might change and adapt what we do in the future. For example, I have been hugely impressed at the way ministers (and others!) have made provision for worship via one of the on-line platforms available. Anecdotally, more people seem to be accessing this worship than would on a Sunday morning. With the obvious caveat that some will be excluded from this medium (either because they don’t have or can’t or won’t use the technology) there is a great evangelistic opportunity. Such platforms can be steps to greater engagement with God.
That opportunity throws up another question: if ministers are going to continue making this provision, what will they stop doing when the lockdown ends in order to make the time? My daily Bible readings at the moment feature the Acts of the Apostles. Life in the early church which was full of questions, evangelical opportunities and not a few arguments! Let’s pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we reassess what we do.
God bless, Paul
A prayer from the President of the Conference:
Loving God If we are ill, strengthen us
If we are tired Fortify our spirits
If we are anxious Help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders!
Don’t let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves
Fix our eyes on your story And our hearts on your grace
Help us always to hold fast to the good and see the good in others.
And remember there is just one world, one hope,
One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.
In Jesus we make our prayer,
The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
In whom we trust, these days and all days.
Prayers about the Coronavirus outbreak
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love, for your name’s sake. Amen.
God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For those who are ill Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain, knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.
For hospital staff and medical researchers Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. From one who is ill or isolated O God, help me to trust you, help me to know that you are with me, help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. For the Christian community We are not people of fear: we are people of courage. We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety. We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity. We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs For as long as it takes wherever you call us.
Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference
Wesley’s Chapel in London will continue to live-stream worship, adapted for no physical congregation. Service times
Sunday 9:45 and 11:00.
All these services will be available at: www.youtube.com/channel/ UCUAUqhmhevz5sqhh72LIMxA