Dear All, it will come as no surprise that, sadly, starting from Sunday, 22/March, all church services and meetings are cancelled for the foreseeable future in line with government guidelines. The exception to this are Food Bank and Blood Donors services. We want everybody to stay as safe as possible over this difficult time. As you can see below, we are actively looking for ways to continue church life as much as possible. Needless to say that we will be much in prayer for all around us.
Here is the full statement from the Trustees:
In light of the statements on Monday 16 March from the Prime Minister in his daily briefing, and the Health Secretary at emergency questions in the house of commons, and in line with advice from our network of churches – the FIEC – it is with a heavy heart that the church trustees (Elders and Deacons) have decided that from the end of this week all meetings run by Freshbrook Church are cancelled for the foreseeable future. This means there will be no Sunday services on Sunday 22 March.
This includes midweek meetings, meetings in homes, and Sunday services – Breakfast@9, Morning Service and the Sunday Evening Service. We are also liaising with external groups who use our building and asking them not to meet. The only exceptions to this will be Food Bank and the Blood Donors who need to continue their services. We will re-assess after an initial period of four weeks, and after that on a rolling monthly basis as the situation unfolds and Government advice is updated. If meetings restart we will advertise as widely as we can.
This is an unprecedented situation and while we would love to keep meeting, the Bible teaches us to respect the governing authorities and at the heart of our faith is concern for the weak, frail and vulnerable. On balance we have concluded this is the wisest course of action to take.
We have started planning for how we might continue ‘being church’ during this crisis.
We have a pastoral care team and with some additional volunteers we are setting up a team to collect prescriptions and shopping for those who are isolating at home. To access this service and for other pastoral needs email: firstname.lastname@example.org. A dedicated text number is also in the process of being set up for this and other pastoral needs, we will let you know the number as soon as possible. If you would like to join the volunteer team use the same contact methods.
The church will remain open during our office hours (mon, tue and fri mornings) and if you feel the need to see a smiling face, have someone pray with you, or ask for help please do pop in, subject, of course, to the current guidelines of avoiding close contact, being in good health and washing hands thoroughly with soap and water on entry to the building.
We are exploring ways of posting weekly videos to our Facebook Page and Website with news, stuff for children and families, and teaching/preaching. We will also try to post some song suggestions for those who want to sing along at home (probably youtube links), and maybe some printable worksheets for the children.
We are also going to look at the possibility of video conferencing which would enable us run live prayer meetings, bible studies and worship without physically meeting. We will email any information out through the church contacts system and post notice of any such action on our web and social media platforms.
The pastor, youth and community pastor, and co-ordinator of pastoral care, and others, are available and willing to pray with you or share bible encouragement over the phone, or by other smart ways of communicating (Skype, WhatsApp video, FaceTime and so on). There are other things too that we are looking into to make sure everyone is looked after and the Gospel continues to go out to the neighbourhood.
Finally, brothers and sisters, put your hope in God, love one another deeply from the heart, look out for one another and for your neighbours.
On Behalf of the Trustees of Freshbrook Church