You will hopefully have already received messages earlier this week explaining that Sunday services and all other regular events at TMC are to be discontinued until further notice with immediate effect. This was felt to be an appropriate response to Government restrictions announced on Monday designed to bring about increased “social distancing” – clearly a sad development, but important for the protection of all in our congregation and our local communities.
However, we have a powerful message of hope, love and light to share amongst ourselves and with all those around us, never more so than in these challenging times. The worship, praise, prayer, teaching/learning & community life of TMC can and will continue to flourish. This message is therefore to make it clear that “Church isn’t closing – it’s changing!” in response to the challenges presented by the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Our focus at TMC has already turned to putting into place as quickly as we can various alternative ways of “doing & being Church” without us being in the same building as one another. Lots of great ideas are already being investigated using live-streaming, webcasts, Facebook, WhatsApp groups, Skype video-conferencing, as well as one-to-one telephone chats, printed materials & general good-neighbourliness for the many members of our congregation who may not be digitally connected.
An early initiative relates to the Lent teaching series. Those who have appreciated the first two sessions of Reverend Paul Smith’s talks will be pleased to hear that the remaining sessions are to be recorded and made available for listening to at home. You’ll receive notification as soon as this has been done and further communications on other initiatives will follow on a regular basis.
“Worship from home service” for this Sunday (22nd March):
Along with lots of other useful information on the national Methodist Church website, there are resources for worshiping at home, including a service sheet for a Mothering Sunday service on 22nd March. Please click on this link https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/ or open the attached Word or PDF document. Both contain links to worship songs with words on YouTube. If you’re aware of others in the congregation who may not have access to the necessary technology but would appreciate a copy, then please do provide them with printouts which they can easily follow. Alternatively, please let me know of such individuals and we’ll arrange for this to be provided. It will be great to be joining together in the same service on Sunday morning even though we’re not in the same room.
In the following weeks there will be further worship from home services provided, and we also hope that it may shortly be possible to share worship and talks by our own local preachers and musicians.
Finally, let us continue to support one another as a Church family at this time. Remembering to keep in touch with one another and pray for each other and the world.
A prayer from the Methodist Church:
God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.
We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.
Grant us your wisdom.
Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.