19 March 202032>
You will not have failed to see the impact that coronavirus is having around the world and across the UK.
We are living in unprecedented times with the spread of the virus causing disruption to the lives of millions of people. Bringing with it the threat of economic disruption and now social isolation.
As a leadership at St Paul’s Church. We have been monitoring government advice and met on Tuesday evening this week, to discuss how we should respond.
As a well-established church in the city. We know many people will be looking to us to set an example. We believe we should honour the wishes of the government and our decision has been shaped by the latest advice.
It’s important to note we are NOT shutting St Paul’s down. In fact, we’re doing the opposite!!
We’re “doing things differently at St Paul’s” and we hope you will join us as we use new and exciting ways, to keep in touch and encourage each other.
Earlier this week the Prime Minister’s guidance was that we had moved into the phase where “social isolation” should be introduced: “Now is the time for everyone to stop all non-essential contact with others. Avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such venues.”
As a responsible organisation, we’ve taken the decision to stop gathering publicly as a church and in small groups.
The government’s advisors state that social isolation could last for a number of months. We know this will not be easy for some of our congregation. Especially those who enjoy and rely on the support and friendship found when meeting together either at St Paul’s itself, or in our small groups throughout the week.
St Paul’s is known for its warm, friendly and loving congregation – this is something we are keen not to lose. As a leadership, you have our assurance that while we may not be seeing you face to face. You are in our prayers and thoughts and will be available to support you as much as we are able.
To allow this to happen, we have set up a St Paul’s helpline:
This phone will be manned from 9am until 8pm each day if you need support. Perhaps you’ve got to self isolate and you need someone to do a spot of shopping for you, for example. Someone to pray with, or someone to talk to, we’d encourage you to jot this number down somewhere where you won’t lose it. Alternatively you can email the church team via email@example.com as emails will be checked daily or phone – 01905 22022 – leaving a message when the office is not manned.
So….what will we be doing during the forthcoming few months?
Each Sunday morning, at 10.30am, we will broadcast on line a church service recorded at St Paul’s Church. This will include a few songs from our worship team along with an encouraging word from one of our great preachers.
We’ll also include testimonies of what God is doing, specific prayer requests and take the opportunity to give you the latest updates. So keep your testimonies and prayer requests coming in!!
It will be strange watching a church service from your own home, but we think you’ll soon get used to it.
We are very grateful that many who give tithes, offerings and gifts to the church each week or month, do so through a regular standing order or one off bank transfer payments. For anyone who would like to set up this service for continuity of giving, the church bank details are:
St Paul’s Church CAF Bank Account No: 00025056 Sort 40-52-40
Each week we will place the link for services on the church website www.stpaulschurch.co.uk Facebook and Twitter. The broadcast will start at 10.30am on Sunday mornings and will be available to view afterwards.
If you’re a member of one of our Life Groups (and we know the majority of you are!), your Life Group leader will be in touch. We’re going to provide some resources to give you something to think about each week and your Life Group leader will co-ordinate a way that you can all stay connected and even meet up virtually – this could, for example, be via a WhatsApp, Hangout or even via Skype and Facetime.
Other activities at St Pauls – including our popular coffee mornings, Young@Heart and our Friday night Kidzone sessions – have all been suspended during this period.
We really don’t want to lose touch in the coming months, so please stay in touch by visiting our website, following us on Twitter and Facebook and encouraging others in your Life Group and other small groups. Our ministry heads are all looking at ways of supporting the whole St Paul’s community in every way we can over the coming weeks and months.
With a lot of uncertainty at the moment, we know that many people in our communities have concerns and this is a great time to make a difference and look out for our neighbours and friends who may need some really practical help – like doing a food shop, walking a dog for them or collecting medication they may need. In many ways, there’s never been a better time to speak to your neighbour over the garden fence (make sure you’re two metres away,) and see if you can help them.
Government advice is constantly changing, so if the situation changes, we shall be in touch.
In closing then, we just want to say how much you are loved by God and by the leadership at St Paul’s Church. These are uncertain times, but we know who is ultimately in control and we pray for God’s protection and strength for every one of you.
St Paul’s Leadership and Ministry Heads Team
St Paul’s Church, Worcester