Public Worship paused but the Church will not shut up shop.
Please see the letter from Jude the vicar below - sent out 17/03/2020
For details of our online services, head here.
Dear friends and family at St James in the City,
We've been asked today by the National Church to stop all public meetings for as long as is deemed necessary to slow and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Therefore, we are temporarily suspending the public meeting of Sunday services, Connect group gatherings, Alpha, Minis, Brewery, Student group, School's work, Staff meetings etc.
However; God still calls us to be the Church, now more than ever.
As such, we're looking at a variety of ways to continue services and other meetings using online technology and to provide resources to pray and worship as a Church family. These will filter out over the next few days, but any Connect Groups meeting this week are being asked to use Zoom or an alternative technology for their meeting.
In addition to that, we need to think about how we serve each other and the wider community. St James' operates as a gathered Church, which means that our mission field across the city are the families, adults and students with whom our current members have regular contact.
Therefore, can I encourage us all to be loving and generous (and sensible) in how we reach out to those in need. Delivering food parcels, regular phone calls, prayer and moral support will become a regular part of our wider life over the coming weeks. Let's work creatively together as much as the restrictions allow. As a first step, we are making every effort to support the Hope+ Food Bank. More details at the bottom of the mail.
Some quick final thoughts.
Firstly; love, compassion and spiritual confidence. The Church in the second and third centuries faced an enormous challenge when a series of plagues swept through the known world of the time. Christians in cities became renowned for their love, compassion and spiritual confidence; not only did they alleviate much suffering, but their witness carried forwards for generations as the Church grew. I don't know what our response will ultimately look like; but may we be known for those same qualities.
Secondly; the power of prayer! If you find yourself anxious through the coming period, use that as a motivation to pray. Prayer is powerful, Jesus encourages persistent prayer (Luke 18:1-8 is a great reminder of this) and prayer is also an antidote to fear. May we all make time to pray regularly for all affected by this crisis. Let's pray.
Finally; one another. God has gifted us to each other to help us on our journey back to Him. Group & ministry leaders will be reaching out to explore ways of staying connected and supporting each other. Let's all take the time to stay connected. How are our friends doing? How can we help? And how can others help us if we find ourselves in a place of need? Let's reach out and encourage others to do the same.
Love and blessings,
P.S. Food Bank. People can drop food parcels off to my garage any evening during the week. Just phone ahead and I will leave the garage door open for you to drop parcels off. We will then be dropping food off on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to the Hope+ distribution centres. They particularly need UHT milk, Breakfast cereal and tinned food (ideally fish).