|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on March 20, 2020 at 7:35 AM|
RE: COVID-19 Contingency Planning - A Way forward for Bunyan 20/03/2020
Following the suspension of our on-site activities, we promised we'd find some new ways of being church together over the coming months, with more contact to come…
It's an old Christian discipline, when facing hard times, to ask ourselves the question: "What is God's gift in all this?" As we meet these tough times together we can be sure to see the new and different gifts from God… for example, when we talk about mission we say that Church needs to leave the building: well we have! We are the scattered, dispersed Church of the 21st Century, spread like yeast throughout our communities, to be blessed, and be a blessing.
Where in the past we've been able to meet together, to encourage each other, to hear God and deliberately spend time in His presence, to pray for one another, and to learn and worship together, we're no longer able to gather in person. But we're still able to do and be all the things that Church is and does, even if it might look different!
The basic principle we're adopting is that we're going to keep running as many events, programmes, groups and services as we possibly can – relocating them all online and in other creative ways. We normally only have one thing on at a time; so, at the time we've got something in the diary, we'll lead a way of being together via our Facebook page and our website - with more functionality coming soon to our website especially! By and large, there should be something new appearing just about every day as we share links, ideas, content and more. As you join in, may you know peace, solidarity and connectedness, as many of us will be sharing in the same things at the same times!
For our services and prayer meetings, there'll be a video, or a download, a picture, or something written that we can share in together, put out via Facebook and on our website. Both give the opportunity to intact: to share your responses and thoughts, and we'd ask, please do make use of the option! It's a great way to recreate a vital part of our gathering as we hear from one another.
For small groups, we're encouraging leaders to explore what being together as a group might look like: maybe setting up a Skype group so you can still gather at the same time, even if you have to make your own tea! You can also stay in touch in between group with WhatsApp groups or similar… if you're not sure what the next step you is, phone or email your group leader or email@example.com and we'll try and help.
Our Pastoral Care is changing gear a bit … we’re going to try and make sure that everyone who wants to stay in touch with Bunyan gets a call, message or email, from someone at Bunyan most weeks just to say hello, to see how you are, and to see how we can be praying for you. If you’d like to be included in that, even you’re really new to Bunyan, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to the list! Meanwhile of course, we'd absolutely encourage you to pick up the phone, send an email, post a card, write a letter, or make contact via social media with anyone suddenly pops into your mind: if you miss someone, tell them!
One thing that is still the same in our Pastoral Care, is that you can get in touch with us too. If you're particularly worried, facing bereavement, struggling to get what you need, feeling lonely, or just need someone to talk to and pray with, please do get in touch You can start by emailing email@example.com or phoning Ali, Jan or I. We are still here for one another as a church.
Looking ahead, this is still all very likely to change! Not only is this a quickly changing situation, but also, we're learning how to make the best of it, trying new kit, new ideas and new approaches. We'll probably get into live broadcasting, and maybe even try and sing together… but not on week one!
Hopefully we'll get better and better at it as we go! But for now, we'll be sharing a video tomorrow, Saturday Church thoughts and activities for the whole family will be shared on Saturday morning, and we'll be engaging with the Churches Together in England's Day of Prayer this Sunday at 10:30am… so as we gather together in our own homes, connected with God and each other by His Spirit with us, and via Facebook and our website, we'll need to bring a candle and way of lighting it!
So as we get ready for the long-haul here together, let's keep our eyes open for the gift that God is giving us today.
Andrew and the team