Last weekend we had our first Sunday service since the lockdown began, and we had a lovely time of fellowship and sharing and communion together. This coming Sunday we continue the process of restarting our services. Our meeting starts at 10.30am and Rob will be bringing the Word of God to us.
We will be continuing with the Government imposed restrictions. This sadly includes no congregational singing at this point in time, and we will be observing the social distancing requirements. For a summary of the guidelines please refer to last week’s post on the church website, Restarting Church Services.
We are limited on numbers, so if you did not attend last weekend but you do plan to attend this weekend, can you please let us know (07866 265155 or email@example.com). This will help us to manage the numbers in attendance, so we can comply with the guidelines.
Thank you and God bless,
Good evening. This morning we held our first service since the lockdown began in March, and it was wonderful being able to gather as a congregation again, albeit only in part. Despite the restrictions on numbers able to gather and not being able to have congregational singing, we enjoyed fellowship, sharing and communion together.
Below is a recording of thoughts from John and myself. I will post a recording of other testimonies on the Celebration Social Whatsapp group. Firstly, here is a video of Paul Wilbur, I Enter the Holy of Holies.
God bless, Andy.
Thoughts from John and Andy:
We started the service by declaring the goodness of the Lord by reading Psalm 103:
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
As mentioned last weekend, we are restarting church this coming weekend (Sunday 12th July, 10.30am) and to that end, Karen & I have been up to the library and conducted a risk assessment so that as a church fellowship we can comply with the government guidance and regulations to the best of our ability.
I did already share a link to the guidance for places of worship on our Celebration Social Whatsapp chat, but here is the link again for those who wish to read it in full.
Based on NHS statistics and a general reading of the situation, our own opinion is that the risk of infection at present is very low and receding. However, we still need to respect the government guidelines and ensure the best protection possible for all coming to the service. We outline below the steps we are taking to do this. The principle issues are social distancing and cleanliness. There will be hand-santisers available on entry and around the premises, face-masks available for purchase, free disposable gloves and all seating will be socially distanced.
Karen and Dawn have volunteered to serve as stewards in order to direct people on arrival to the seating arrangements. Further directions will be given during the service.
Social distancing and numbers
We will not have in place the usual worship team or sound equipment, so there is more space freed up at the front than would have been the case in normal circumstances. We calculate the library main hall will accommodate the maximum number of 30 people, seating people in household groups (individuals, couples or family groups) with the social distance 2m between each group, or individual if alone. So for example, a couple sitting together, then a 2m space, then the next family, then a 2m space to the next couple etc.
We are asking for everyone to please let us know if you are planning to attend. We do need to manage the numbers in attendance, so this is important. Please advise us by Friday evening (on mobile 07866 265155, email firstname.lastname@example.org or on the church Whatsapp group) if you are planning to attend. Thank you.
Congregational singing is not currently permitted, but one person can sing alone as part of our worship. So we won’t be having the usual time of worship but we will have background worship during the service.
We cannot pass around the offering bag as previously, but we will provide a receptacle into which we can put our gifts and offerings.
The sewing club, that also uses the library premises, have been making some excellent face masks. We have seen these and have purchased from them a number for our own use. These will be there on Sunday for us to buy and use should you wish to do so. They are of a superior design and come with a handmade laundry and storage bag.
As there is scope for the provision of teas and coffees in the regulations, in the weeks to come we will look to see how we can safely re-introduce these into our meetings together. However, certainly for this coming Sunday (12th July), we will not be having any refreshments after the service. If you wish to bring your own water bottle, flask or travel mug for your own use you are very welcome to do so.
Test and Trace
In the event of someone testing positive for Covid-19, we are required to be able to advise the NHS those who have attended our services. We will NOT be taking names on the door, as most if not all who attend will be known to us. However, if we do not know you we will need to ask for your names and contact details for this eventuality. We trust you will understand if there is a need to do this.
Individuals over 70 and those ‘shielding’
The Government guidance states ‘certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions. Individuals who fall within this group are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if they do go out, to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside of their household.’ The guidance goes on to say this advice, for both the clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable ‘is however advisory and they can choose how to manage their own risks.’
Should anyone feel at (health) risk by coming to church then please do not feel you should attend. We fully respect the fact that may be the case, and although we will miss you, we would not want anyone to feel uncomfortable. In no way should you put yourself at risk, if you feel you would be at risk by coming to the service.
We are seeking to mitigate the risks as much as possible by taking the precautions listed above. The service will be recorded (partly) and will be posted on this website later on Sunday, so that those who are not able or happy to attend can still listen to the recording.
It has been a long time since we have been able to meet together as a church fellowship, so this our first service will be open for everyone to share experiences, thoughts, blessings and victories in God. So please come prepared to share and encourage one another. And please don’t forget to let us know by Friday evening if you are planning to attend.
Many thanks and God bless,
Andy and Karen.
Due to the current coronavirus crisis and the latest Government advice, as a church we are suspending all our services for the time being.
We feel as a leadership this is our responsible course of action in this crisis at this particular time. This action is also in line with most other churches. By doing so we hope to assist in helping restrict the spread of this virus and protect the health of all of us who meet together.
The statement by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, reported here by The Christian Institute, made it clear the advice given to pubs, cafes, theatres etc, that people should avoid “large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs”, also applies to churches.
Hopefully this will be for only a short period of time, and during this time we will be endeavouring to stay in good contact with one another, looking to ensure the wellbeing of the whole congregation as best we all can.
We will continue to post recordings of messages on a regular basis on this website. And more news will be posted as and when information becomes available.
This month (November 2019) we are focussing our prayers for the nations on Lebanon. This is a nation that has suffered much in years past, and still is, in particular at the hands of radical Islamic groups such as Hizbullah. But Lebanon features in the Bible numerous times: Luke 4:24-26, where Jesus relates the account of Elijah being sent to a widow in Zarephath. And in Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus Himself went to the region of Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon) and healed the daughter of a local woman because of her faith.
The symbol of the cedar of Lebanon features in many Biblical passages, such as Psalm 92:12:
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
And the promise of God to Lebanon in Isaiah 29:17-19:
Is it not yet a very little while
Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
19 The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord,
And the poor among men shall rejoice
In the Holy One of Israel.
Here is a link to the Global Connections website for Lebanon. It features various prayer items: prayer/middle-east/lebanon
Can we also pray for the work of the fellowship River of God Lebanese Church please? This is based actually in Israel, in Nahariya, close to the Lebanese border, but ministers primarily to the many Lebanese who live in northern Israel. The pastor there is Joseph Hadad, an old friend of ours from our time in Israel and a wonderful believer. The Lord led him to pioneer this work in the early 2000’s. The story of how this came about can be found in this Jerusalem Post article from 2010: Lebanese with a Jewish Heart
A country preacher decided to skip services one Sunday and head for the hills to do some bear hunting. As he rounded the corner on a perilous twist in the trail, he and a bear collided, sending him and his rifle tumbling down the mountainside. Before he knew it, his rifle went one way and he went the other, landing on a rock and breaking both legs. That was the good news. The bad news was the ferocious bear charging at him from a distance, and he couldn`t move.
‘Oh, Lord,’ the preacher prayed, ‘I`m so sorry for skipping services today to come here and hunt. Please forgive me and grant me just one wish … please make a Christian out of that bear that`s coming at me. Please, Lord!’
That very instant, the bear skidded to a halt, fell to its knees, clasped its paws together and began to pray aloud at the preacher`s feet:
‘Dear God, bless this food I am about to receive ….’
Please note that, due to the annual Grimsby 10k race, our service on Sunday July 21st has been moved from the usual 10.30am start time to 4.30pm start.