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OUR RESPONSE TO THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS
This advice was updated on Thursday 19th March. Further updates will appear here.
This has been a fluid week to say the least. We are continuing to monitor COVID-19 updates closely and the implications for our church and our broader community. Due to concerns about large public gatherings during this time, and in compliance with the newly-announced guidelines issued by the government (see link below*), we have decided to suspend all in-person gatherings at Bethany Christian Centre until further notice. This includes our Family Breakfasts and of course the Easter Club.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to corporate worship and the work of the church to proclaim the gospel and be a source of encouragement and hope, especially in times of uncertainty. Hebrews 10:24-25 is clear about the importance of gathering together to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
As such, we will have online services starting this Sunday, 22 March, and will likely make additional adjustments moving forward.
WHAT ABOUT GROUPS OR OUTSIDE MINISTRY MEETINGS?
While no ministry meetings will take place at Bethany during this time, we would encourage the church to continue to connect where possible. Everyone needs to practice wisdom. If you are high-risk based on age or underlying medical condition, minimise social interaction in person. But for the majority, we need to be with each other. Consider small gatherings for House Groups, families, and others. Families and groups might want to gather together to experience the online worship service and share a meal.
WHAT DO I DO IF I NEED PASTORAL CARE?
Our staff, and to some degree our Care Ministry team, is available to support you in your time of need, both with spiritual direction and practical support. You can call the church office at 0191 512 1234 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our office email will still be checked periodically and our phone message system will direct you to where you can leave a message in case of an emergency. We apologise for this inconvenience but believe this decision is in the best interest of everyone at this time.
HOW DO I GIVE MY FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THE CHURCH DURING THIS TIME?
Online giving is available at here, providing a secure, safe way to contribute to the ongoing needs of the church. You can also give through standing order. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a check to the church office. We are grateful for your financial support and encourage you to continue to be generous as Bethany seeks to step into the uncertainty of the day with the truth of the Gospel.
As always, we trust in God’s plan and presence, and we encourage you to trust in Him and not be afraid. We are taking these measures out of an abundance of caution, as we desire to proceed with wisdom. If someone asks why your church chose to respond to this health crisis by closing its doors, consider this response:
We are loving our neighbours by protecting our neighbours.
We are not being fearful. We are being responsible.
This is what love requires of us in this season.
Going forward, we will evaluate the situation on a weekly basis and update you as needed. Remember that church is a body of people, not a place, so while programs are cancelled, we encourage you to stay engaged in church life. We are exploring a variety of ways to keep engaged with you, and will announce those over time.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3
Praying with you,
Pastor Jason, Staff, and Elders of Bethany Christian Centre
*The government has provided more detail in regarding what defines a “large gathering.” According to this statement churches are included.