One of the highlights of my week hitherto is the weekly drop of good news circulated by Pete Honeyball which is really good, as it enables stories from around the Circuit to be passed on.
Now, in these more challenging times good news seems more scarce and as almost all our activity has been suspended there is not much to celebrate or potentially even to write about. You churches will have received the latest advice from the Connexion which has further curtailed our activity so we cannot even open the church for prayer.
However, there is good news. The streamed service from Aylesbury gathered over 100 connections. I've no idea what that means in terms of people watching but I have received emails from around the circuit and beyond, thankful for the service being available and feeling sort of normal. For the time being we are being allowed to continue. Please advertise around your community.
The link is on the HOME and HOME WORSHIP pages, where people will need to click or tap the link and then hopefully all will happen. Pictures should come through from about 10.25 am each Sunday morning. There is also a backlog of previously-recorded services.
Also the staff are meeting virtually, to look at how we can enable and encourage our folk in the midst of these peculiar days. We are mindful of trying to equip the journey and how we can respond to those who do not have internet access.
Last Sunday I alluded to our being custodians of hope in these times, I think this is really true. Our core message is one of great hope and this should inspire us on our way. We are called to bring light into the darkness, a challenge to those drowning under toilet rolls, pasta and rice, hope to those who are frightened, comfort to those who are alone. This is a time to realise what a blessing a telephone, a good neighbour or even a smile is.
Let us all pray in the living of these days that the dispersed church will grow closer together and that in the midst of our new reality folk will seek hope and be enabled to reconnect with God, whose love is revealed in Jesus Christ.
A MESSAGE FROM RICHARD — Posted 12th May
A few points following on from our Sunday worship
There are three virtual house groups meeting with folk from around the circuit. If you would like to join one please let me know and I will send you an invitation will provide you with details of how to install zoom (quite straightforward) as well as an access code so you can join the group. We are looking at the Lord's prayer, nothing too heavy I assure you
Secondly if anyone is interested in being part of a virtual prayer group could they let me know
Some churches and circuits are having a virtual coffee gathering on zoom after service on a Sunday.
I gather people can be subdivided into groups. I could explore this if enough folk were interested or hopefully someone will know more than me. Let me know if you would welcome this.
Also, to say that I if your church has any notices needing delivering again please let me know
To keep you informed there is a meeting this week of representatives of all the circuit churches looking at the road map to re-opening our buildings. More details will hopefully be passed through the various church networks
Also following on from Sunday if you have any questions or comments following on from the service , or indeed other questions that have arisen at this time or that have been in your mind for a while, please do ask. It does not matter how trivial and we will try to help where we can. These could be Biblical, theological or practical, so anything from where does the Bible speak about relationship with the civic authorities, to is there such a thing a s a just war to why do some churches remove all flowers and banners during lent
Can I also thanks you for all your doing in the name of Christ in these challenging times
RETURN TO PUBLIC WORSHIP
A Statement from Rev. Richard Atkinson: 24th June 2020
Many of you will have heard Boris Johnson's statement at lunchtime yesterday (23rd June). Some will be delighted at the prospect of church reopening while others will be more hesitant. For want of sounding like a worn out record can I repeat the process that has to be followed. There are steps which need to be undertaken before any doors can be re-opened:
The church nationally has to agree to our reopening, this is because they decided to close us down. So constitutionally this is how it has to be
We have to wait from guidance from Methodist Church House which will be based on guidance from Government. This information, I suggest , will be key in deciding whether to open or not
Each church needs to submit to the Circuit Leadership Team a completed Covid 19 Risk Asessment form and an Action Plan (an idea of the measures and procedures that will be in place in your building both for Sundays and other times). Once we have both documents at Circuit level we will look at them and suggest any alterations, amendments or omissions
That there will need to be some consultation with the membership about the question of opening, this should not be a decision taken by a handful.
I will continue to try to keep you informed of changes as soon as they come to me but want to stress at this stage it is important we are being advised something is possible not told it should happen. This decision needs consultation.
I hope something will be forthcoming soon but past experience suggest the Government may not get around to publishing advice until later in the week and as Conference is about to happen the Church response may be slower than normal.
6 July — Good morning
In the hope of keeping preachers and churches aware of where we are:
July we have covered
For August I will publish a plan which will include those churches that have indicated they are re-commencing public worship and have completed the necessary paperwork. As far as I am aware the only places with a date for re-commencement are Aylesbury, Cheddington, Swanbourne and Wingrave. It would be really helpful for other churches to have as much notice as possible so we can allow the preachers time to prepare their services in light of the new regulations.
For September again a bespoke document
However I want to stress all is provisional. If you did not submit dates for the current quarter and wish to indicate any availability in August and September please let me know as soon as possible please. I will email those who did not in due course
Then we come to the future. For the October , November, December quarter I think the option will be to ask everyone to submit dates as normal by August 15th please. I will not hold anyone to dates (especially those who are shielding) and some churches may still not have recommenced public worship. I do not intend at this stage publishing a full plan but if we could approach this as normally as possible that would be a great help. The churches are aware that for the foreseeable future we will be responding to the evolving situation. Roy will hopefully have the relevant pages live on the website in the next couple of days
Any questions please do ask
Bring life into our worship that we might praise you more fully
Bring hope to our hearts that we might be devoted to prayer and contemplation
Bring us peace that we might learn to love ourselves as well as others
Bring vision that together we might follow your calling content where necessary to leave the familiar and embrace the renewing journey to which you call.
In the name of Jesus.