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Coronavirus - District response
In the light of the coronavirus outbreak we are issuing some guidance about precautionary measures and suggestions about how we continue to care for each other. Given the rapidly changing situation anything that appears below should be checked against the most recent advice from government.
Services - Public acts of worship are suspended until after Easter. Sometime before Easter
we will have a further conversation. This is in line with guidelines issued from the Secretary of Conference.
Other gatherings – District, Circuit and local church events are cancelled for the same period (eg, Safeguarding Conference, Schools Conference, Circuit meetings, coffee mornings etc.).
Pastoral matters – We were especially concerned about the isolated, vulnerable and lonely. Pastoral visitors/friends should stay in touch with people by telephone or where appropriate, social media. Ministers and lay pastors will similarly keep in touch with those who are in need.
General concerns – The effects of the current situation are likely to have greater impact on those who are already economically vulnerable. For example, those who need to resort to food banks will be deeply affected. Creative ways of continuing the provision are being explored.
Use of technology – Other forms of communication rather than face-to-face meetings, for example conference calls, Skype, etc.will be even more relevant as we move forward.
Sharing good practice – It would be good to hear of ways in which churches and individuals are responding to the crisis. Please share with your minister or email me directly so that ideas can be shared.
Prayer – This is a time when we need to hold each other before God. Again, the Methodist Church website has resource material. Locally we pray for those who have contracted the virus and for healthcare professionals. We often pray for “those affected” in a time of crisis; this crisis affects all of us and therefore underlines the need to pray.
Guidance for delivering supplies - My son Andrew who lives in France has written the following guidelines for delivering food to those who are housebound. It does not have any official status but comes out of his experience of the lockdown in France and offers some useful pointers. The full article can be found here.
Useful information has appeared on the Methodist Church website. Please continue to consult the site as it will be updated in the light of unfolding events. If anyone wishes to speak to me privately then please get in touch either by telephone or email.
A prayer from the President of the Conference:
If we are ill, strengthen us
If we are tired
Fortify our spirits
If we are anxious
Help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders!
Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves
Fix our eyes on your story
And our hearts on your grace
Help us always to hold fast to the good and see the good in others.
And remember there is just one world, one hope,
One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.
In Jesus we make our prayer,
The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
In whom we trust, these days and all days. Amen