LATEST CORONAVIRUS UPDATE AS AT 18.03.20
Jesus, in a profound moment of challenge and crisis, blessed and assured his friends and followers with these words, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Philip and I want to assure you of our ongoing prayerful and loving concern and indeed, for the whole fellowship.
Please do contact us (email or phone) if there are any needs practically or spiritually in the coming days. There are already a number of people who have said they're willing to help with shopping, meals, regular calls and to pray specifically. Similarly, if you need to self-isolate, or become unwell, please let us know so we can make contact and support appropriately.
We have been following the evolving news and guidance since we emailed last week in regard to our upcoming gatherings and services. Recent announcements will have significant impacts on our gathering life together. The government issued new recommendations that social gatherings, including church services, are curtailed from this week onwards, in order to help 'social distancing' and reduce the risk of virus transmission amongst our communities. Therefore, in these unusual days, we are heeding national advice and guidance from the Baptist Union.
With immediate effect the following groups at CBC are being suspended:
Connect Cafe (Monday morning)
Charging Point (Tuesday afternoon)
Badminton Group (Tuesday evenings)
Solid Group Gospel Choir (Tuesday evenings) & Good Friday Concert
Breakfast Buddies (Friday morning)
Renew55 (Thursday lunchtime)… some of the team will be there this week to explain what's happening and how Renew will function in the coming weeks.
CAP Money Course is postponed until new arrangements made.
Homegroups: we're aware that some groups have decided to stop meeting physically and are finding creative ways to remain in fellowship. Please get in touch directly with your group leader.
Big Academy Lunch (Sunday 29th March) is postponed. Kate will be in touch if you booked in.
Of course, our current challenges mean change and doing things differently. We're rethinking creatively, in these exceptional circumstances, about how we continue to worship, witness and strengthen each other as a church family.
The following groups may happen in a different manner…
Refresh (not meeting at church) but contact Sarah Arthey (email@example.com), as depending on the weather, options for meeting outside might be possible.
Cell: Tim will contact youth and families directly about possibilities in the coming days.
We believe Foodbank is a critical service and lifeline to our wider community. As such, we are planning to continue opening on Friday lunchtimes. As you're aware we are looking for more volunteers to maintain this ministry. Please see Alan's email yesterday and contact Tooty if you're able to help (not necessarily every week; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org). If you're able to help with food donations they are needed more than ever right now.
Following the advice, we are not able to gather normally on Sundays for morning or evening services at the moment.
However, this doesn't mean we cannot creatively worship together. Philip and I want to suggest we continue to 'gather', not in one place, but many, at the same time each Sunday morning, as a church family, in unity, solidarity and fellowship. To enable this we aim to provide some worship resources, a weekly message, focus for prayer and some material appropriate for children and young people.
What will this look like? We are planning to write and preach a weekly message/sermon which will be available, as normal via SoundCloud (also on iTunes podcast and through church suite) on Sunday morning by 10:30 am. Furthermore, we are exploring the possibility of filming these messages (either live-streamed and/or via YouTube.) More details to follow this week. We are also anticipating that we can link you to some worship songs to accompany the message (again on YouTube, for example like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2veadbfyTY ). We'll email these links weekly.
In addition, Philip and I are planning to open the High Street Building on Sunday mornings (10:30 am -11:30 am) in order to open the church to provide a space for prayer and contact for anyone who needs it within the wider community. We are aware that many people are anxious and seeking answers to bigger questions right now.
The pattern of daily life may be very different in the coming days, especially if schools are shut. Soon, we will email with some ideas and resources to help establish and strengthen rhythms of prayer and worship to keep us growing as disciples. Remember that kindness, love and friendship can never be cancelled.
One resource we are aware of is an online resource by NT Wright (former Bishop of Durham) on Philippians. He has made this resource available for free for a couple of days (until Friday 20th March). It normally retails at £150.00. This might be helpful for you, especially if you find yourself confined to home. Please click here and follow the instructions:
And please pray especially for…
Our whole fellowship, especially for those who are most vulnerable;
Our children and young people, particularly those in critical exam years (GCSE's, A'level's & Uni Students); please also pray for our local schools, including John Sanderson, Head of Campden School;
All those in the medical profession, and front-line carers.
I am convinced that neither death nor life...our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow...indeed, nothing in all creation – including Coronavirus – will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Jesus our Lord.
Love & Prayers
Philip and Edward