IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT CHURCH ACTIVITIES
Following direction from the Government on Monday afternoon, wherein the nation was advised to “avoid all non-essential contact with others and unnecessary travel” and “avoid…..social venues”, which includes faith based groups, the church leadership has taken the regretful but prudent step to cancel all church based activities with immediate effect. This will last until the advice is changed by the Government and includes all youth, children’s and toddler groups, senior groups, Carer’s ministry and Community Cafe and church services. With regards to Life Groups, our recommendation is not to meet and to find others ways of supporting one another. In any event, we would strongly encourage the groups to phone, message and look out for each other, especially with practical needs at this time.
We are, as a leadership, very mindful that not all people use email or social media. We will seek to make contact with them via means other than email, however, if you are also aware of anyone who falls into this category we would be grateful if you convey this message to them.
Over the next few days, we will be discerning how we could best function as a Christian community within the constraints currently upon us. We will also be considering the impacts on our Easter outreach and other events. As followers of Jesus, we continue to look to the One who is sovereign over COVID-19 and so can we encourage you to commit our church, wider community and country to prayer during these difficult times. We also want to encourage you to consider those in your local community that may be in need of support at this time, particularly the housebound and to show them the same love and support as we would each other, so that they too may know something of God’s love for them in these challenging times.
Although we may not be gathering in fellowship as Church over the foreseeable future, we continue to be Church wherever we are and will need to find new ways of expressing that. For the time being, the office and church building will remain open and the office telephone covered, but we will continue to monitor guidance as it develops.
On a personal note, if you do have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact any of the Leadership team and we will do our best to help, but in the meantime, please do look out for further updates during the course of this week.
Following the COBRA meeting on Thurs 12th March, the Government updated the advice on best practice as we tackle the Coronavirus outbreak. Much of it is still the same and relates to good hygiene (hand washing with soap, using antibacterial gel, liberal use of tissues, etc).
The additional advice is that if you have a new cough or fever, you should self-isolate for at least 7 days (longer if you still have the symptoms). If you are in doubt about whether you need to self-isolate, please contact the NHS (online: 111.nhs.uk or dial 111).
There is still no specific advice to avoid gathering in groups or hand-shaking, unless you are in one of the vulnerable groups (due to age or underlying health conditions). We’ll continue to monitor the guidance and will be planning & acting accordingly.
If you feel you need to stay away from services & groups for a while, we will understand – but please let your group leaders or Reception know so we can stay in contact.
If you lead a group/organisation/activity as part of RBC, please consider what (if any) additional precautions you might need to take. If you are unclear, please discuss it with your Ministry Head or Link Elder.
If you have particular concerns about a group or activity you’re part of, speak to one of the group leaders in the first instance (and prior to the next meeting of the group).
Try to remember that we mustn’t let fear become a way of life – it is a survival mechanism designed by God to offer us protection. Let’s try not to give in to fear, but instead use it, along with the intelligence God has granted us, to help us make wise choices in difficult circumstances.
With the news this week of the first death in Britain due to Coronavirus, it’s right to take the situation seriously, but we mustn’t give in to scaremongering & anxiety. We need to keep things in perspective – at the time of writing the Government’s general risk level is ‘moderate’, but the risk to individuals remains ‘low’.
Be assured that we are closely following the news about the developing outbreak, and are keeping informed as advice for Churches & organisations is updated [see links at end of email]. Most of the advice at the moment relates to sensible, good hygiene (which we should all practice generally – not just during an outbreak event). In case you’ve missed it, in order to minimise the risk, the general advice is as follows:
In addition to the above, there are a few things we want to point out about how life at RBC will change during the outbreak:
We will be reviewing some of our regular practices and altering them if required during the outbreak. Where changes are made, we thank you in advance for your understanding & cooperation.
If you are feeling unwell, we would strongly urge you to stay away from our services, groups & activities until you are fully recovered.
If you’re unwell and are asked by medical professionals to self-isolate, please let your Life Group leaders (or the Reception Team) know so we can support you as required.
If you have an underlying health condition which would put you at a greater risk if you are exposed to the virus, and you are concerned about being around large groups of people, we will understand if you need to stay away from services & groups for a while. But please let your group leaders or Reception know so we can stay in contact.
Let’s continue to keep our focus on Jesus, rather than the potential impact of the virus, and let’s turn our anxiety and uncertainty into prayer and pray for: