Update Friday 20th March from Our Pastor – Jonathan
Hey Church Family,
I hope you are well! Here is an update about everything that’s going on this weekend at Calvary. In the last update we gave, we said our desire and intention was to carry on with a regular service schedule, and keep things as normal as possible. However, about a month ago I said we would only consider online-only services if the schools were to close or we were directed by the Government not to meet. Well you know, it has been announced beginning today, the schools are to close except for children of key workers.
Our Deacons and Trustees spoke last night to discuss it and I’d like to explain what we’d like to do as a church and why we’d like to do it.
We will still have three sermons a week, but they will be live-streamed from the church building. We encourage you to tune into these live-streamed services from home on Facebook at “Calvary Baptist Church Peterborough” or at www.calvarybaptistchurch.org.uk. There will be a few people at the building running the services, of course, and the doors will be open at this time and for fifteen minutes before and after the meetings for people from the community to come and pray or ask questions and to see that we are still available as part of the community.
– If you are vulnerable in your health, elderly, expecting, or have any symptoms of illness, we ask you to abide by a wellness policy of staying home and not coming to the building during these times.
– Any surface that may have been touched will be sanitised before and after these times.
But our emphasis will be on the online / live-streamed services. During these livestreams, we want you to feel as involved as possible. I encourage you to turn off your other notifications (it’s so easy to get distracted by other things on phones and computers), open your Bible, take notes, and sing along if we have a hymn prepared! If you have others in the home, encourage them to gather and assemble and congregate with you as well. And please engage with the videos by pushing like, commenting, or sharing. At the end of each message / lesson, before the final song, we will try to interact with you through the comments section. After the live-stream is finished, the videos will be available on the website, www.calvarybaptistchurch.org.uk and DVDs will be made for those in the church without internet.
Please pray that people who may have never come to the building might hear the Gospel preached online and come to faith in Christ! We will still be preaching the Gospel and we will still be supporting one another as best as we can.
PRAYER REQUESTS: While we’re disconnected it can be hard to stay in touch. But if you would please send your prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, Amanda Baker will be maintaining our prayer sheet and we will include it in a weekly email to you all, along with some major prayer points concerning the Coronavirus.
*(Remember though, due to GDPR rules if the prayer request is for another person, we cannot print or send it out digitally, unless they send us the request themselves. But we as the leadership of the church will still pray for it).
WEEKLY ENCOURAGEMENTS – In addition to prayer requests, we will be sending out encouraging devotions that you can read through the week and activities for children.
These decisions were not taken lightly and were not easy ones to make. No pastor naturally would want to tell people to stay home. We considered our biblical responsibilities to both preach the Gospel and to shepherd God’s people. In the end, we decided to announce that we will livestream the services from the building, and have a time available for people to pray or ask questions, but encourage the majority of people to watch from home.
Other current advice to take into consideration at this time includes the following:
– The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock have made a statement and a clarifying statement in the House of Commons yesterday that in their guidance to avoid unavoidable social contact, they do include “with the deepest regret and heaviest of hearts gatherings of religious and faith groups.”
– The Christian Institute, which gives churches legal advice and help, has strongly advised that churches follow current Government guidance about public meetings.
– The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches have sent out a very clear statement that “While it is up to each independent church to interpret Government advice for themselves, we believe protecting the most vulnerable means everyone should be avoiding gatherings of people… Our advice is that churches should not meet for the foreseeable future. In practice, we would advise cancelling services and activities for an initial period of four weeks, and then reassess this on a rolling monthly basis as the situation unfolds and Government advice is updated.”
At this challenging time for the UK and countries worldwide, Christians should continue to pray for all those in authority, and for the witness of God’s people in the days and weeks ahead. We should act as salt and light and not live in fear, but in obedience of our caring Father.
All church services will continue as normal unless the government closes all schools or bans all public gatherings (we are not affected by the current ban at this time).
In that case, or for those already self-isolating, we will carry on with our live-streaming of all church services – these are available on Facebook.
In the meantime, we will continue to disinfect surfaces before services.
To ensure the health and safety of everyone, if you are ill, please stay home.
If you are at higher risk, we encourage you to take your health seriously and take precautions that lower your risk, even if that includes staying home.
We understand that church is a vital part of a Christian’s life and fellowship with believers is crucial to spiritual success. We also want you to make the choices that are right for you and your family in this time.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: No Afternoon Sunday School until th eEaster Break – we will resume on 19th April.