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Letter from the District Chairs

Dear Friends

It is with sadness that this afternoon the Connexion is formally recommending that worship services in Methodist Churches are suspended for the time being in line with Government guidance. We would encourage people who lead services to think about how worship might be offered in different ways, including online and using worship at home sheets.

During this incredibly difficult time when people might want to spend time in prayer in their Methodist Church. Local trustees should consider whether it is possible to open up their churches to enable people to come and pray or sit quietly, perhaps offering prayer stations as a point of reflection with precautions around physical distancing.

Suspending services means that we advise that baptisms will not take place in public worship and if you have a wedding planned in a Methodist Church you should speak to your Superintendent in the first place.   While funerals may still take place, we would advise that the number of people attending is limited as per the Government’s advice.

In terms of Church business, we recommend that all meetings including church councils and circuit meetings should be cancelled. Jongi and I will be in touch about Synod.

Other community activities:
Foodbanks and night shelters: If your church runs a foodbank or night shelter please take note of all the advice that has been given by the Government and the NHS. If you are concerned about older volunteers we advise that (in line with the guidance) they should stay at home. Other community events like lunch clubs, after school clubs, playgroups and fellowship groups should be suspended.

Pastoral visits: 

In these extraordinary times, pastoral support is incredibly important and it’s likely it may increase but we would advise that you contact people by phone in the first instance to check they are still happy for you to go in person. If you’re visiting a care home or hospital take your guidance from them.

It goes without saying that if you have underlying health issues, are feeling unwell or are anxious about being with others then you too should self-isolate in accordance with whatever are the latest guidelines.

Jongi and Nigel will continue to be working and if you need to, please call us should you need to chat about anything on our mobiles. Emails are fine but we still believe that if face to face conversations are not possible, then telephones are the next best thing, or skype of course. But if you wish to skype please let’s arrange it in advance.

Following on from the email sent from the District Chairs yesterday, to Superintendents, we have made the decision to close the District Office at the end of today and will not reopen until at least Tuesday 14th April.

The work of the District will continue with the team working remotely, and can still be contacted as below. Please be aware that any team member with a desktop phone will not be able to call you back, so please email them if you do not immediately reach them on the phone. Any meetings currently organised will be notified to you separately from the event organiser about whether they will be organised differently, or postponed/cancelled.

Further updates are on the District Website.

At times such as this, those who went before us found much solace in the Psalms.  Psalm 91 is one such Psalm, we commend it to you.

We will probably find the words of the Covenant Prayer close to our hearts in the coming days and weeks.

May God continue to richly bless you and those whom you serve.

Nigel and Jongi

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