COVID-19 & CENTRAL VILLAGES
19 MARCH 2020
Hello Central Villages Family!
The next few weeks, and potentially months, are set to be some of the strangest we have ever experienced. As every part of the world changes its practices drastically in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, our day-to-day lives are bring disrupted in ways not seen since the world wars.
It’s unprecedented territory, and it’s obviously a worry and a stress for many of us. How will we cope? How will we stay safe? How will we maintain friendships? How will we wipe our bottoms? Thank God that as his people we have somebody to turn to in a crisis, somebody who is in charge of everything, whose presence and promises can be a real comfort to us.
32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In Luke 12, Jesus urges his people, his ‘little flock’ (and our ‘flocks’ might feel little for the next while!), to not be afraid. And instead of being afraid, to practice radical other-person-centred generosity, because we know that Jesus is a better possession. Better even than the most well-stocked pantry.
My hope for us in the weeks and months ahead is that we can express our deep reliance on Jesus, that we can practice radical generosity towards others who will be in great need, that we can show that we aren’t worried because we have Jesus.
Sunday Church Services
On Wednesday 18th March, in light of the Prime Minister’s direction that no groups of more than 100 should gather indoors, our Archbishop and Bishops made the decision to call off all Anglican Church Sunday Services in the diocese. This applies to tiny congregations as well as huge ones. I’ve attached the Archbishop’s letter in case you’d find it helpful to read.
We were already thinking that calling off our Sunday Church Services would be a wise and loving thing to do, so this decision has not caught us by surprise.
We might not be able to meet in person, but we’re still going to meet! Being together and hearing God’s word proclaimed and praying and singing is one of the great joys of the Christian life. More than that, actually – we need it. You and I would find it so much harder to stick with Jesus and grow mature as a Christian if we cut ourselves off from other Christians.
Starting this Sunday, we’re going to be ‘livestreaming’ using the internet.
At 10am on Sunday you will be able to visit our church’s website or Facebook page on your computer or smartphone or tablet, and you will be able to participate in a gathering. It’ll be very similar to a normal Sunday, except that instead of us all being in the same room, we will instead be spread out across dozens of loungerooms and dining tables (and there’s the prospect of you coming to church in your PJs!).
We’re also going to encourage people to meet in small clusters on Sunday mornings to watch the livestream, if that is achievable. Even being with 2-3 others would make the entire experience more enjoyable, more personal. It is critical that during these times such group meetings maintain good hygiene practices – no food, lots of handwashing, 1.5m distancing, no handshakes.
If you’re in a Small Group, then talk with your group about how you might be able to meet as a group or two this Sunday.
If you’re not in a Small Group already, but you like the idea of meeting with some others, then perhaps reach out to some friends at church to see if it would work for you to watch together.
If you don’t know who to ask, then let me know and I will link people up.
I’m very conscious that some of us do not have the technology or know-how to make a livestream work. If that is you, then please reach out to somebody who would know how, and ask if you can watch with them. If that won’t work for you, then we are able to put the Sunday Service on a CD for you to listen to on a CD player. Let me know what would work best for you.
It’s really important that we don’t let Sundays slip.
The temptation is going to be to not participate, to sleep in, to ‘watch it later.’
We’re creatures of habit, and this is really going to break our habit of getting out the door on Sunday mornings in order to go and be part of something special and critical.
And we’re talking for weeks, potentially months.
THIS SUNDAY is a good time to commit to a new habit! The habit of setting aside the time to meet with your church digitally.
Our kids are precious, and continuing to teach them about Jesus needs to remain a high priority for our church and the parents of our church across the coming months.
As part of our Sunday Livestream, there will be a ‘Kids Spot’.
Alison and the Kids Church Team are also going to be putting together an activity pack, to be emailed out on Saturday, that parents can print out and use to run their own ‘Kids Church Mini’ at home.
Our small groups are able to keep on meeting for the time being.
This is such a good thing – we’re going to be more cut-off from others than ever before, and so getting to maintain some of the links and friendships we have is a really precious thing. Please, if you are able, do keep on meeting with your Small Group!
As noted above, any gathering needs to observe all of the now-normal hygiene practices to prevent any potential virus spread.
It is possible that some members of a Small Group would not be able to meet with the rest of the group in-person. If that is the case, then my encouragement is that our groups use technology (Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, even a phone call) to allow ‘isolated’ members to still participate in group time. Contact me if you need help in making this work.
It’s really important that we are caring for each other during these topsy-turvy times.
We can’t stop talking to each other, encouraging each other, praying for each other, helping each other with physical needs.
Please maintain the friendships and connections and support relationships you have with other church members. Be on the phone lots. Send texts and photos. Drop off food for those who need some.
If you have a particular need across the next few months, and you’re not sure who to turn to, please contact me. If you want to chat or pray, and you’re not sure who to turn to, please turn to me. As a church we need to look out for each other, especially those whose lives are going to be very much turned upside-down.
Fresh Food Pantry
At this stage, the advice we have been given is that the Fresh Food Pantry can continue to operate, which is wonderful – each fortnight around 50 people are coming to us for food, and we expect that this will only become a bigger need during this crisis.
Sue Grimble and I will liaise with Anglicare (who supply the food) to ensure that we have enough, and to work out procedures so that food can be served without risk.
Our Parish Council met on Wednesday night, and discussed all things COVID-19.
They have urged me to encourage us all to maintain our financial giving as much as possible (conscious that some people might see their wages drop due to a lack of work). Our church’s expenses are mostly to pay for staff, who will still be working during this crisis, and so the need for your giving remains as high as ever.
If you give using cash, this might be a good time to change over to using ‘electronic’ giving. You can make a transfer of funds from your own account to the Church account. This can be set up in your Internet Banking, or over the phone / over the counter with your bank.
The church account details are:
Account Number: 308142
Account Name: Anglican Parish Of Lawson
As you know, we don’t just go to church, we ARE the church.
And while we might not get to all be in the same room as each other for the next little while, we can continue to love and live and share the gospel of Jesus.
We need Jesus more than ever. Our neighbours need Jesus more than ever.
Let’s press on, get creative, and work hard to be Central Villages Anglican Church at this time.