Update 27 March 2020
Dear Holy Trinity member,
In light of the latest government guidelines to stay at home to reduce the spread of Covid-19, it will be no surprise that we are suspending our usual services and groups. However, whilst the church building may be closed, our church is not made up of bricks but of people, and we are grateful for technology that allows us to continue to worship, grow and share fellowship together when we cannot meet face to face. Therefore, during this time of widespread uncertainty, let's keep praying for each other and our neighbours, keep in contact with each other and remember these words from Hebrews 10.23-25:
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
So how do we plan to keep 'meeting together' without leaving our homes?
- Firstly, I want to encourage you to familiarise yourself with Clayton TV, where you can find a huge range of Christian resources for all-ages and watch full church services from home. Every Sunday, we will be live-streaming services at 9.30am and 6.30pm which will include Bible readings, prayers, songs from Keswick Convention and Bible teaching. The morning service will also include a fun and engaging talk for kids.
- Secondly, we would love for you to join us for 'virtual tea and coffee' before and after each of these services, which will provide an opportunity to chat and see some familiar faces using the video conferencing app Zoom - on either a smartphone, laptop or tablet (bring your own drinks/tasty treats!) The pre-service chat starts 30 minutes before the morning and evening services (9am and 6pm) and the post-service chat will become available at the end of the live stream. You can find links to each of the these by clicking on the individual services on the Services page of the church website.
- Finally, we will also be using Zoom to look at God's Word and pray for each other in our Bible study groups, whether you are in a Home Group, Women's Revive Group or both. Please contact your group leader for more information, or if you are not yet in one of these groups, now would be a great time to join one! Please get in touch with me if you'd like to be part of a group.
For practical advice regarding reducing the spread of coronavirus and protecting yourself and others, please click here for the latest government advice. This illness is serious and the threat is real, especially to those among us who are elderly or immune suppressed. Even those who are not worried for their own health must take precautions for the sake of others. Please listen carefully as updates come and take all appropriate precautions.
If you are self isolating and in need of practical or pastoral support please can you let the church office and your Bible study leader (Home group or Revive) know so we are better able to support you.
If you are concerned about any aspect of our activities please let me know. And let's make sure we look out for one another – working hard to ensure those in quarantine don't feel socially excluded and isolated, especially the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
And in a time when many are anxious and worried, I want to encourage you not to panic, to respond in prayer, to seek opportunities to speak of Jesus and to love our neighbour. We know the one who spoke life in the beginning, and he is with us even now. As the song says 'Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side' and later on 'Be still, my soul, the waves and wind still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below'. Jesus was able to calm the storm with just a word, such is his power; and he remains in control today, even over coronavirus. So keep firm your faith in him.
I've created a short video to encourage us to look to God in his Fatherly care at this time, you can find it on Clayton TV here. You will also find a great range of helpful resources at the Gospel Coalition (corona articles are collected here) including a helpful summary of the facts, 8 things Coronavirus can teach us and Christopher Ash on God's control over evil and this from CS Lewis.
Coronavirus is frightening, we feel powerless – and we are! – but our power is only ever an illusion, it is always God who is in control. And he remains in control. He also remains good, loving, gracious and kind – our compassionate and generous heavenly Father. We can trust him. Hold onto that in the coming days.
Rod Earnshaw (Senior Minister)