In my last blog I introduced our plans to trial some Sunday morning ‘in person’ meetings again at Welcome Church.
This week changes to lockdown restrictions were announced by the government, introducing the new “rule of 6”. We’ve been told that Covid is increasing across the country, and people have been asked to use additional caution and reduce interaction with others. From Monday (14th) it will be illegal to meet in any group greater than 6, indoors or outdoors, apart from some specific situations. Life Groups: please don’t miss this change and get fined!
In less than a week we’ve moved from a situation where restrictions were easing, to one with more restrictions and more Covid cases. In the next few weeks trials had been planned for some concert venues and conference centres – something we’ve been keeping a close eye on – but this is now subject to review as well.
With this in mind we’ve reviewed our plans
The announcement was very clear that places of worship are allowed to hold meetings, as long as it’s done in a Covid-secure way. This means WE ARE LEGALLY ALLOWED to go ahead. However, we also need to ask ourselves a number of other questions to determine if it’s the right thing at this moment, including:
- Is this the right timing?
- How might it affect our reputation as a church?
- Will people want to attend?
- Will it be beneficial?
- Will the trial succeed?
Having reviewed the situation late on Wednesday, including taking some honest soundings from some who were booked to attend, we’ve reluctantly made a call to delay the trial meetings, perhaps until Sunday 18th October. We will keep this under review week by week.
We are disappointed by this, but after wide discussions we concluded that the 20th September, 6 days after new restrictions come in, is not the right moment for us to begin. I’ve made a video to explain it all. I even managed to smile. Please watch it for more information:
Moving forwards together
As the weeks unfold we DO need to begin meeting together. We mustn’t hide away in fear or apathy as our faith dims, our commitment to God’s church fades and our passion for Jesus cools.
We need one another, and meetings online can’t truly replace the sense of God’s presence as we gather in community as God’s people; the dynamic of being together in person seems impossible for us to truly reproduce online.
Over the summer some regulations concerning church meetings were eased and, although masks must now be worn and congregational singing is still not allowed, more than one person is now allowed sing from the front and full immersion baptism is permissible too. I believe we can make this work.
We will be starting in person meetings at some point soon. Let’s aim to be there if we possibly can.
In the time of waiting please stay connected to welcomechurch.online each week, at 9am or 11am. Please stay connected to your Life Group. Please join us to pray. Please join us for online communion and also for our Encounter Evening on September 20th (8pm on Zoom). Please don’t be passive in your love and commitment to the one who came from heaven to earth to die for you and win you back to the Father.
As a team we’ll be using the delay to keep planning and preparing so that when we do start meeting it’s even better than we’d hoped. We’re also looking closely at what’s possible for us to do with youth and children.
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