Letter from Paul – 18th March 2020

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Dear Friends,

Loving our neighbour as Jesus Christ called His followers to do is challenging at the best of times, but during a pandemic it becomes even more tricky, not least because we can become unwitting carriers of the virus ourselves.

In the light of the Government’s announcement and advise from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, our leaders had a conference call last night. It is clear that we cannot just carry on as normal and that we must take notice of Government advice. Therefore, from today we are suspending all gathered church activities for the foreseeable future. This includes all mid-week meetings and activities, house groups, prayer meetings and Sunday services.

This is not something we do lightly or easily, but with a heavy sense of responsibility. We understand that it will raise many questions, which we can’t answer at the moment. We have very real concerns about how we love and serve people during this time. Our understanding of the teaching of Jesus to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves has been, and will be, our primary objective throughout this crisis.

We will be utilizing technology at this time and on a Sunday morning there will be a live stream of some prayers and a short message presented by our Pastor. You can access this facility by logging onto the Church website and clicking on the link for the live stream. We also have a Church Whatsapp group and we will use this tool to provide information and prayer requests to the wider congregation. If you would like to be included in this, then please contact Ruth for more information. For those without the use of a computer or smartphone we are currently exploring ways of recording the Sunday message onto a CD, to be made available and subsequently delivered to those who require it. If you would like to receive a copy please let one of the leadership team know. We are also considering what other types of communication technology we can use (e.g. telephone conference call) and will update you further as these plans are finalized.

As Christians we believe that God is at work in every situation for the good of those who love Him, and we invite you to join us in prayer that the Coronavirus will turn out to be a great opportunity for us to be good news to Stockton Heath, and that we will discover some wonderful and innovative ways of being church together.

We will do our utmost to keep you well informed on a regular basis. If you are anxious and would appreciate someone praying for you, or if you need practical help in some way, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Church website, you can email Paul at the following email address – Pastor@shcf.info or leave a message on 01925 601309.

Grace and peace to you all.

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