Updated 18th March 2020
As promised following the most recent Government, NHS and Baptist Union advice the following is an update for all at MBC:
With great sadness, but in line with the current BU and government advice, we will need to stop gathering (at least for the short term) for Sunday Services with immediate effect. This means that there will be no Sunday Service from this Sunday (22nd March) either a.m. or p.m. until further notice.
It is almost certain that we will not be able to meet in our normal way over Easter.
Whenever we are able to meet again, however, we will, on that day, celebrate the reality of our resurrected, risen Lord together – no one in our church family will have to miss celebrating this.
We are currently making arrangements as to how we might ‘do things’ online. The most likely option is that we use a ‘livestream’ from the church on Sunday mornings via our Facebook page.
Additionally, we will record this service and then provide this on CD for those who do not have online access. Should neither option be possible for you we will provide typed sermon notes (for those who request them). Either the CD or the notes or both will be delivered at some stage to your door in the week following the ‘livestream’. We will also be investigating if it is possible to co-ordinate Holy Communion so that all can join together at the same time in our own homes.
Further updates on how we worship together and instructions on how to join any livestream with a link to use with be sent in due course – please keep an eye open for emails regarding this.
Church Members Meeting
Due to the possible time which measures to deal with the Coronavirus are likely to be in place for we will not be holding a Church Members meeting in May. According to the latest official advice it should be possible to hold our planned July meeting, but we will issue advice on this nearer the time. It is likely therefore that in this exceptional period the leadership may take some decisions on behalf of the church which would otherwise be agreed at a church meeting. This was ratified by the church meeting on the 17th March 2020.
The current official advice means that from the end of this week:
The Active Living Centre and the Girls Brigade will be closed until further notice. The Youth Club will meet this coming Friday and will then be closed until further notice. The Hub will be likewise closed from today.
The Hope Centre will be changing its format from next week and will no longer be gathering at the church but will rather use the church (hall and kitchen) on the days it would normally meet in order to prepare meals for the most vulnerable in our society on including those who would normally use the hope centre. These meals will then be distributed to the clients without the need for gathering.
We are currently working with other groups that use our premises with the majority deciding to cancel their meetings until further notice.
Small Group Activities
The latest BU advice is that people should avoid meeting wherever possible. Our small groups, including fellowship groups, care groups etc. will therefore be suspended until further notice with immediate effect.
It is recognised that several people new to the life of MBC are looking to join a fellowship group and that we may need to form some new groups in the future.
It is recognised that the current outbreak of Coronavirus may be with us for some time. We are currently working on how we might establish a good support network for everyone who considers MBC their church family.
Therefore, I ask everyone to think and pray about whether we might be a part of a support network.
It is not yet known exactly what might be required of this support network, but it is expected that it will be able to support those who are vulnerable through shopping and practical help, as well as mental and spiritual help through maintaining regular phone contact etc.
Those among us who are in vulnerable groups and likely to self-isolate may well have a vital part to play in our plans for good pastoral care of each other. It is intended to ensure that everyone in our fellowship (including the pastor!) gets a call each week so we keep in contact, to ensure all is well and to see how we might help each other. It is recognised that those who are indoors could carry out this vital work for us as a church family.
Margaret will continue to be in the office for telephone calls only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8am to 1pm. She will be helping me to co-ordinate this support network so please either ring her or myself if you can help in any way.
At this time, and in the weeks ahead, good pastoral care will be important so please consider helping if you can.
Prayer is a vital part of being a Christian community. Although we will no longer be able to physically meet to pray it is, of course, possible for us all to pray individually where we are. Indeed it is more than possible that woe could all pray more that we have been doing.
It is therefore intended to produce more regular prayer updates and points for prayer via our webpage (details to be worked out) and for those without access to this a hard copy will be produced. In addition, the prayer chain will continue and becomes a more vital tool than ever before. If, you are not a part of the prayer chain and wish to be please let Margaret or Paul know.
Prayer requests for the prayer chain can be made via the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Keep Praying
Our Christian identity is reflected in how we do life together and how we serve our communities and your prayers are a vital part.
Let us continue to love one another and treat each other with respect and kindness.
We call the church to pray continually:
We acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty in and through all things and pray using the words of Paul to the church in Ephesus:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
With God’s love and blessings to you all.
Paul and the Leadership Team.