Coronavirus, or COVID-19
Updated 23 September 2020
Amazingly we completed our 27th broadcast of weekly worship online last Sunday morning 19 September. Who would have thought it?
After the Prime Minister's announcement this week we think it will be some months before we are able to gather together in anything like our previous manner. In the meantime the pastoral staff overseeing each of our main areas of ministry are working hard to release activity as far as is safe and permitted. That covers the children, young people, small groups, Reach Out, Vineyard House and so on.
We have also formed a Task Force, with Dr Matt Button at the helm, whose remit is to review and research and recommend a way ahead for our main Sunday morning re-gathering. David will report back on progress through his blog. In the meantime we will continue to offer teaching, stories, worship and prayer ministry online.
We may not know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future - and we are reminded of Moses' words to the people when faced with great threat, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the virus (DSF paraphrase), for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6.
Updated 13 March 2020
As many of you will know yesterday the Government announced that we are moving out of the contain phase and into delay, in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Importantly, the church is to be a source of support, comfort and healing at this time – through the person of Jesus Christ and the power of Holy Spirit. This is what church (the Body of Christ) does. We believe this is a time for our faith to be seen and our hope in Christ to be lived out. As long as we can wisely do so, we want to meet together to encourage one another, to pray, to worship, to learn and to share our lives.
This health emergency did not catch God by surprise. He knows exactly what’s going to happen and when things will improve. We can trust Him with our lives and the lives of our families. Let’s join together in prayer for our nation at this time. May Jesus and His peace be seen in us.
We feel it safe to continue with weekly worship and our scheduled events (for adults and children) for the time being. We will introduce increased sanitising measures with our children’s areas, toys, furniture, etc. We are currently waiting for a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitisers to be delivered so you may want to bring your own to weekly worship on Sunday. We are also communicating best practice to our small group leaders to make sure that we are minimising any risks as we gather in smaller settings.
As per Government guidance anyone who shows certain symptoms* is now being asked to self-isolate for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people need to stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection. (*The symptoms are a high temperature, 37.8 degrees and above and/ or a new, continuous cough.) Please do follow this advice if this relates to you. If you are self-isolating please let your Small Group or one of the pastoral staff team know.
At the bottom of this page is a link to the Church of England website where they provide links to churches which are streaming their services – please feel free to participate in worship that way.
Please can we encourage you to revisit the way hygiene is handled in your home and workplace. The consistent advice of the medical authorities is that frequent thorough handwashing and the use and disposal of tissues when coughing and sneezing are the foundations of protecting ourselves and each other.
As the situation develops we will post our plans here and communicate through ChurchSuite and social media. Small Group leaders – please check that all your group have their details and communications preferences up to date on ChurchSuite.
We encourage you to keep up to date with developments as they occur. You may find the following websites helpful:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus gives you access to NHS and Public Health information as well as updates from the Government.
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk provides helpful answers to questions that many people may have about the virus and its implications for daily life.
You may also find it helpful to read this document prepared by Jason Procter, a GP who is part of our Leeds Vineyard family, with background information on COVID-19 as of 1 March 2020.
13th March 2020