Coronavirus, or COVID-19
Updated 23 September 2020
We may not know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future in His hands. In Deuteronomy 31:6 Moses promises, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the virus (DSF translation), for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you."
Last Sunday we broadcast weekly worship online for the 27th time. Who would have thought? In view of the current introduction of new restrictions it is unlikely that we will be restoring "normal" services or meeting in homes for several months.
Those overseeing each of our areas of ministry (Growth Groups, children, young people, Reach Out, Vineyard House) are actively monitoring the situation and pressing ahead wherever possible with maintaining connection and enabling ministering together where permitted.
A Task Force has been formed, with Dr Matt Button at the helm, to think ahead, plan and advise about when and if and how we can re-gather on Sunday mornings as a church congregation. David will report progress in his weekly blog.
We are particularly concerned with ministering to those who are "Digitally Excluded" - who have no access to the internet or do not possess technology, or the elderly for whom this is so difficult. If and when we can gather together in numbers, they will be our priority.
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