Church Reimagined

Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear Church Family,

These are unprecedented times – life is going to be very different in the coming weeks – which will present many challenges and many opportunities. The church is well placed to respond, we are already a strong caring community, no one will be alone, we are ready to reach out, care for one another and serve our community. There is lots of information in this email, but it is so important to communicate well at this time so please do get yourself a cup of coffee, find a comfortable chair and read it all through carefully.
The government guidelines issued on Monday were:
  • stop all non-essential meetings/large gatherings and travel
  • over 70s and vulnerable (pre-existing conditions, pregnant women) to self isolate for 12 weeks
  • work from home where possible
  • entire household to isolate if anyone in the house has symptoms (persistent new cough and/or temperature)
In the light of this all worship services, small group gatherings, courses, school visits, youth and children’s groups will now be suspended.
Yesterday the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a joint statement that I found really encouraging and inspiring – you can view it online but here are the highlights:
They called us to become “a radically different kind of church” in response to the current crisis, urging congregations to be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable during the crisis.

“Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead,” they wrote. “Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day. We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support. Then by our service, and by our love,  Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that can counter fear and isolation – will spread across our land.”They added: “This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly a church for all, or just the church for ourselves? We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”

So we are going to become “a radically different kind of church”. How can we be the Body of Christ at this time? We had a special leadership meeting yesterday and here is what we agreed:
  • We will broadcast, on The Point Facebook page (and Instagram), live worship services at 9am and 10.30am every Sunday. These will be led by a small team at the Emmanuel Centre and will not be a public worship service, so please only join in online. The 9am will be a simple communion service that people can join at home with their own bread and wine/juice. The 10.30 will be a celebration for all ages, with something for everyone. This will be a steep learning curve but we will be creative and try to make it work! We learned a lot from the live stream we did last Sunday from St Paul’s so this week the sound and video quality should be much better. You simply need to go to The Point Facebook page at the right time and click on the video. If you need any help accessing The Point Facebook page please do get in touch.
  • We are asking everyone to make a gift to The Point Fellowship Fund. Thank you to everyone who gave on Sunday morning when we raised nearly £300. But much more will be needed. We know that the Coronavirus outbreak will leave many in financial hardship. Please give as generously as you can by making a bank transfer to The Point, sort code: 20-12-75, account number: 13041670 (please put reference: Fellowship Fund). Thank you. If you know of anyone who needs help, please speak to your small group leader or one of the staff team or trustees.
  • We are encouraging everyone to make contact with as many Point people as possible, especially those who may be isolated or in need at this time. We may not be able to meet together physically, but now is the time to pick up the phone – let’s make contact with one another and keep connected. The most obvious way to do this is through our small groups. These groups take on a new significance in the current crisis. We are encouraging all small groups to continue to find creative ways to meet online and to support one another. I will be writing to small group leaders separately (please pray for these leaders as they take on extra responsibility). We want each group to “adopt” some extra people who do not currently belong to a group (which fits perfectly with our new 2020 vision for Small Groups – that they should be open and welcoming to new people and ready to grow and multiply).
  • John, Simon and myself, our clergy team/ordained pastors, will be especially available to our church community at this time: John Naudé john@thepointchurch.co.uk (07534 554587); Simon Shorey simon@thepointchurch.co.uk (07771 932718); Will Kemp will@thepointchurch.co.uk (07411 343151). We will be in touch with all those who we feel might be especially vulnerable, but please get in touch directly with us if you would like to. Liz Styles, our Children’s Pastor and Michael Holt, our Youth Pastor are working out, with their teams, creative ways of doing youth and kids ministry and will be in touch with all our families/children and young people in the coming days.
  • John Naudé is putting together a pastoral team who can be especially available to call people and offer practical help – If you would like to join this team then please contact John. Also, if you would be willing to become a “telephone befriender” with our sister charity Befriended then please sign up. Befriended has just launched a new campaign to offer telephone befriending though a central telephone number to anyone who is facing loneliness and isolation through this crisis. To find out more go to https://befriended.org/telephone-befriending/. There are of course loads of local facebook groups and neighbourhood schemes popping up. It is wonderful to see this outpouring of love and kindness, lets get involved in anyway we can. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and be exclusively churchy about these things when local people are already doing great things that we can support.
  • Another good way to stay connected is through The Point Community Facebook page (different from main Point FB page where the services will be streamed from). The Community page is a good place to share news, ideas and needs – do join/like/follow this.
  • We are also launching a new “ChurchSuite” App. Details will be sent out soon. We were planning to do this anyway, the staff team are already using it. It is basically an app which gives us access to everything on the website like talks, calendar, events etc, and it is a also a way of sharing contact details. Each person is in control of their own details – you only share what you are happy to share with other church members – but at this time of “being a radically different kind of church” where we cannot meet together – we are encouraging everyone to consider sharing email and phone numbers with others so that it is easy for us to stay in touch, support one another and be family. You can remove or change your details at any time. If you would like to get this ChurchSuite App just follow the steps which you will receive in the next few days.
  • Prayer is so important at this time. We will be sharing a Point Prayer email everyday and encouraging everyone to “devote yourselves to prayer” and share encouraging prayers and resources with one another. This is a time where we might be in danger of giving in to fear, selfishness or discouragement, especially if we are isolated. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, keep trusting Him and keep praying for one another and our world. As the Archbishops have said, our lives need to be characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day. So please take every opportunity to pray with and for others, and look out for The Point Prayer email which will also be posted on The Point Facebook page.
Let me finish with a few verses from Psalm 91 – a wonderful psalm for this time of crisis. Let’s join together in praying this today over ourselves, our church family and our nation.
Much love and many blessings,
Will

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.’

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Stream_Play_Button

This Sunday we will be streaming our 10.30am service on our Facebook page.

Church Suite App

Stay connected with your church family and get all the latest info to your phone.

Facebook Community

Join our online community – a good place to share news, ideas and needs.

Small Groups

Stay connected, encourage and support one another and be creative.

Befriended needs you!

Befriended are looking for Telephone Handlers and Telephone Befrienders in this time of need

Prayer Support

If you are feeling worried or isolated, or would like prayer and support, contact our team.

Point Fellowship Fund

Many will be in financial hardship. Please consider giving generously so we can help those in our church family who really need it.

Hope at Home

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