Dear St Swithin’s Church Family
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. - Romans 15:13
We’ve been thinking and praying about January and February for quite a while. January and February are often the toughest months in the year for people. Short dark days, cold weather, post-Christmas blues and lots of time indoors often seem to leave us all at sea in the world. It’s a time when we seem to need hope and light the most. Add Covid to the equation and these months were always going to be tough; now a lockdown has been added to that.
I’m delighted that as a consequence of churches navigating the previous lockdowns well, that the government has announced that churches are still able to meet in person during this current lockdown. This is a place of privilege, alongside other parts of our society that are still functioning. We’re not being encouraged to meet, but we’re allowed to meet. To my core, I believe in physically gathering wherever possible; it’s what it means to be church, it’s why as a church we gather and pray for our world and nation right now and it's why the closure of the church buildings in March was so difficult. Therefore, we would like to continue to serve people with ‘live’ worship for those who are comfortable to gather in these toughest months and let’s see how things go.
Since lockdown began in March, some of our church family have already been isolating for 9 months, some of those people will have now been vaccinated. Many of us have met in different forms inside and outside the church building and made judgements of what and how we want to engage. We are a diverse church; it’s one of our values and we want to continue to be that church where some will feel the need to be at home while others will feel that it’s perfectly safe to gather and worship together. We have worked hard to be a COVID safe environment for people to gather. We will adjust a few things, gathering less people, simplifying things further and a greater emphasis at this time on keeping our distance and not lingering in or outside the church building
As a consequence of all that, we will continue to offer the opportunity to gather in person at 10 am and 6 pm this Sunday. Please book online for those who would like to come. There will be the regular online ‘As One at 10’ resource for those worshipping in their own home. We will also continue to open the church for private prayer on Wednesdays between 12 and 2.
The plan for the Children’s, Family and Youth provision is to be online during this time in line with the guidance for schools (Fran has e-mailed the families separately) . There will be zoom meetings for Youth at 11 am on Sunday mornings and Pop-Up family gathering on Zoom at 3pm on Sunday too. Please get in touch for zoom links.
God’s richest blessing to you all,
Tim and the Staff Team