The Lord is here! His Spirit is with us! But so too is the Coronavirus
Further to the Prime Minister's statement yesterday, the Baptist Union today issued a call to all Baptist churches to suspend all services and other meetings with immediate effect. The Deacons at WRBC have met by video conference this evening, and confirmed this action for our own life together. More details will follow, and you may anticipate receiving further communication by email and perhaps by telephone call, but we will be exploring some form of online service, hopefully for this Sunday morning, as well as a trial online prayer gathering this Saturday. At this stage we do not know how long these measures will be in place. The church buildings may be closed for all our regular activities, but please let us not think for a moment that the church has shut up shop. Already there is a mobilising of care and compassion for those who are feeling most isolated (including those who are being asked to isolate themselves for various reasons), and if you need such support (perhaps with shopping, perhaps collecting a prescription, perhaps with something else), or indeed you can give some support to someone else, please don't hesitate to get in touch so that we can coordinate things as helpfully as possible. Each of us is able to initiate that care for others even if leaving home is not an option, as we can, any of us, pick up the telephone for a few minutes' chat that will surely make all the difference. The Bible reminds us 365 times that we are not to be afraid, and as you may have seen, the church website (which really will become a most significant focal point in our life together during these next weeks) already carries a reflection on a less familiar Bible passage that includes this very instruction. We are not a people of fear, but a people of faith, and our faith is in Jesus of who the writer of the letter to the Hebrews speaks declaring:
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever
With my prayerful greetings and best wishes to all who belong at WRBC,
PS: One very practical tip I've come across recently, particularly for those who are finding the media coverage of the virus is creating significant anxiety, is to limit the time you give your attention to the television, radio or social media. There are other things to occupy us more helpfully, such as a piece of music (worship songs or indeed listen to a favourite artist or composer), or a book (it could even be the Bible, and many who are in lock down in China and elsewhere because of the virus have been finding huge comfort and encouragement in reading the Bible. Let us follow their lead!).