July
08
Author
Simon Redmill
AN UPDATE ON ‘UNLOCKING’

8th July, 2020

It’s been 15 weeks now since lockdown measures were introduced and with recent government announcements about places of worship, we wanted as an eldership team to bring you up to speed with our plans.

As Joe announced on Sunday though lockdown restrictions are easing slightly, there would still be many restrictions to us meeting.  We would be limited in the number of people that could be together in one venue, social distancing would need to be in place, masks would be advisable, there would be minimal contact.  Services would need to be short with no contact afterwards and children would need to be fully supervised by their parents.  We’d also need to keep a log of everyone who attends. There could be no singing, apart from one person at the front who ideally would be behind a screen or facing the opposite way!! 

This isn’t ‘church’ for us, and so for the months of July and August we have decided that we will keep meeting online for our Sundays, and then review the situation and the latest government advice in time for September, and then take it from there.

As we move forward we’ll take three key factors into account before we can start our Sunday meetings:

  1. Is it legal and safe for us to meet? Can we follow the Covid-19 guidelines and make our meetings safe?  We will continue to monitor the government advice.
  1. Will our hired venues (Sarum Academy and Stonehenge School) be open and available for us to hire? Currently that is not the case until September. 
  1. Will meeting face to face be ‘better’ than what we currently experience online? Can we genuinely worship together?  Can we enjoy community together?  Can our children have an experience that they’ll be able to enjoy?

Despite the challenges it’s worth reminded ourselves that:

 “though the doors may be shut, Grace Church is very much open”.

During lockdown Grace church has been alive and well.  We’ve gathered on Sunday’s, met in Community Groups, are running a great Alpha with non-Christians moving on in God.  People have been encouraged through our marriage enrichment course, we ran our ‘Let’s Talk About Race Sessions’ which have been incredibly powerful. We’ve encountered God in prayer, our youth have been meeting via Zoom, we’ve had a Nigerian baby naming ceremony. On Thursday a new parenting course starts and by God’s grace we’ve launched two new Community Groups, one in Amesbury and one in Tidworth. 

 The doors may be shut but Grace Church is very much open and God is still very much at work.

 

MOVING FORWARDS:   I want to encourage us Grace Church, during this next couple of months (and in reality it may well be longer than that), to:

“stay connected and stay prayerful”  

STAY CONNECTED

I know it’s not the same, but let’s push through any screen fatigue and gather on Sunday’s online to worship, hear stories of God’s goodness and to meet with God through the bible teaching. 

Community Groups will continue to meet online but with the easing of some restrictions smaller gatherings of 6 are allowed.  Inside, two households can meet together.  Why not meet on a Sunday morning to have a ‘viewing party’ and watch the service together?  We’ll be starting a new preaching series  over July and August on the life of David which I’m really looking forward to.

How about meeting up with a friend for a walk, or inviting friends round for a BBQ?

Our youth will shortly be meeting face to face in small groups of up to 6.

Let’s be creative about staying connected.

STAY PRAYERFUL

Prayer is so important in these days.  We’ll continue with our weekly zoom Tuesday 8am prayer meetings, for half an hour, and our fortnightly Wednesday night times of seeking God (at 7.45 – 8.30pm).  Why not join in – give it a try if you’ve not done so far.  You’ll love it!

Finally, I for one, have missed meeting together face to face.  I’ve missed singing together as a church family, I’ve missed greeting one another, I’ve missed giving someone a ‘high five’, I’ve missed being greeted by the smiling faces of our welcome teams,  I’ve missed seeing our children enjoy themselves and I miss looking out and seeing young and old, black and white gathering together in the name of Jesus.

But….. one day we will be able to meet again face to face, but until then, let’s remember that church is about more than just our Sunday meetings, we’re a family together and so let’s:

“stay connected and stay prayerful”

 

With much love and affection,

Simon, on behalf of the elders of Grace Church