I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7)
As Boris Johnson said yesterday, this current crisis is unprecedented in peacetime. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have just released this statement and we’re going to follow this advice. Therefore, all formal group meetings of the Windsor Fellowship Church are postponed until further notice. Whilst this is entirely the right thing to do, I feel deep sadness about this. Meeting together as a church family is one of the great joys of being part of Jesus’ family. However, we live in a technological age, so below are details of how we propose to deal with this crisis as a church. First however perhaps I could offer some encouragements:
- We are all bound to feel anxious. It’s a sobering reminder of our human frailty and mortality and of the limitations of medical science and government. However, if we trust in Jesus, our living sovereign Lord and loving personal saviour, we can be sure that he loves us deeply and we’re secure with him. (Romans 8:28). So may I encourage you to ‘cast all your anxiety on him’ in prayer. We have an opportunity to encourage one another, to witness to unbelievers, and to remain calm in the face of sickness and death. Not because we are British, but because we trust in our living Lord and loving Saviour, Jesus Christ.
- At a time when many unbelievers will be afraid or even panicking, God may be giving us special opportunities to love and serve them – we really do have the gloriously comforting gospel – Jesus loves us so much he died for us and lives to offer us the certain hope of resurrection! We’re likely to have opportunities to ‘give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…’ (1 Peter 3:15)
So, considering the wonderful technology available to us, this is what we propose:
- Sunday at 4pm
– In lieu of physically gathering on Sundays we will ‘gather’ remotely. We’ll use web conferencing software which will allow us to ‘meet’. Further details will be sent out later in the week.
– It will include a time of prayer, a Bible reading, and a shorter than usual talk. It will also provide an opportunity for us to interact with each other, to ask questions and to share prayer requests. We won’t be able to sing together, but will suggest some songs that you could listen/sing along to after our time has ended.
– If you have children, we’d love them to join with the whole family gathered round your screen. We will include some activities for the children as well.
- Prayer Meetings
– I will send out suggested ideas for prayer and would encourage us to all to join in prayer at the time of our usual prayer meetings. The first being tomorrow at 8pm. Regardless of whether you usually attend the prayer meeting, please do pray!
- Home Groups
– If you are in a home group, then your leader will email you separately with ideas about how to ‘meet’ and support each other.
– For those not in a home group, I will contact you about setting up a ‘virtual’ group. This is so you also can be supported, prayed for, and know in what ways you can encourage the wider church family and love our community.
- Contact & Contact Nano
– These groups are postponed until further notice.
– We will think of ways our children and young people can still ‘meet’. As they are so much more technologically advanced than we are they probably are way ahead of us! We’ll send an email to parents with ideas about organising group ‘meetings’.
- Loving our Neighbour
– I’m in frequent contact with the other church ministers in Windsor about how we can support our community.
– Please do contact your physical neighbours about how you can help them. If you would like one, I have a template of a flier I can send you to print out to put through letter boxes. Also, I have ordered 300 short tracts – Hope beyond Coronavirus – to give out. Please let me know if you would like some of these.
- Share one another’s burdens
‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ (Gal. 6:2) – We have the joy of supporting each other. Please let me know if there is anything you need, so we can help carry your burden. Also, please let me know if you have capacity to share the load of someone else.
And remember, ‘God is our strength and refuge, an ever-present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1)
With love in Christ
Senior Minister, Windsor Fellowship Church