Greetings to you and yours in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As I have communicated several times, and as we have all been hearing and experiencing – these are truly unprecedented times and the world clearly is in a battle with the pandemic right now.
The Corona virus (COVID-19) global pandemic continues to severely impact society and all our ways of life. In the last 48 hours, the UK's response to the pandemic has been ramped up with the announcement, by the Prime Minister of social-distancing measures, closure of Schools to limit the spread of this virus and Guidance policy that states that people should avoid mass gatherings, crowded places such as pubs, clubs, theatres, restaurants and other venues. All unnecessary social contact with others and all non-essential travel is to be avoided. Home working is being encouraged where possible and anyone with symptoms are required to self-isolate.
Whilst this advice was not as clear as we would have wanted regarding the impact on us as a church, a question was posed on the floor of the House of Commons a few days ago by an MP, specifically regarding places of worship. In responding and offering guidance on what constitutes a large gathering of people – as it relates to religious communities, churches, mosques, temples etc. the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, stated: "…in our advice to avoid unavoidable social contact, we do include religious groups in that…. so, with the deepest regret and with the heaviest of hearts, we do include faith groups and gatherings of faith within the advice." The RCCG denomination has since made informal contact with people in government to confirm and verify the above.
These new restrictions mean we as a body need to review our operations and plan for the days ahead.
As "Sparks of Light", we must act responsibly and respond to the situation around us and adapt ourselves in accordance with the guidance and advice from the government and health professionals.
Please be reminded of God's assurance in our Anchor scripture for the Month of Mar 2020, our Month of POWER at TC - 2 Tim. 1:7 KJV: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." As I have mentioned in times past, our first response must always be to turn to God in trust and in prayer in every situation and most especially at this time. This too shall pass in Jesus Name. We must daily lift our voice to Heaven for God to put an end to this plague in all nations of the earth.
2 Chr. 7:14 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.
Therefore, I am minded to pay careful heed to the health and wellbeing of our members and that remains my number one priority. This responsibility places a burden on me, and the leadership, to do all that we can to find alternative ways to continue our worship of God (rather than physical gatherings), certainly for the next 4 weeks or thereabouts.
As a result of the foregoing, I am compelled, after deliberations within the leadership, to announce the following changes, effective immediately, in regard to our activities here at Trinity Chapel.
- All meetings that would normally require physical attendance at The Discovery Centre are hereby cancelled or moved to online meetings. Our Lighthouses are also suspended for the time being.
- Our church service on Sunday 22nd March 2020 will be online and going forward, until the government advice on mass gatherings is rescinded and/or amended to allow us resume our normal. The link to join the Sunday Online service on gotowebinar will be sent out by the Church Office as well as service times.
- The upcoming Open Eyes Seminar on Saturday 21st March has been postponed, a new date to be announced at a later date.
- Our Daily Prayer webinars continue every morning at 6:00am and evening at 7:30pm, and 8:00am on Saturdays for an hour. It is now more than ever a time to pray, to uplift the church, our members, our families, and our communities and to seek the Lord for protection and healing.
- The 7 days of Demonstrated Power Fasting & Prayer Season (SD2P) will commence and run as scheduled from Monday 23rd to Sunday 29th March online and I will be leading the webinar sessions every evening at 7:30pm by His Grace.
These decisions are part of our sacrifice and playing our part in the fight against this pandemic, and so we must continue to be fervent in spirit, trusting the Lord and committed to prayers . I encourage everyone of us to embrace every opportunity to fellowship, using the well-tested technological solutions we already have in place. This is no time to faint, and physical self-isolation must not give way to spiritual self-isolation.
Also, the RCCG UK Central Leadership has also made the following announcements:
- Church Events - The position of the RCCG is that all major church events over the next 4 weeks should be postponed. This will allow us to take stock and determine further courses of action as things evolve.
- RCCG Events - The General Overseer has directed that RCCG events are to be postponed until further notice. These include: The Workers Rally, the Festival of Life, the 'Flame' Youth Festival of Life event and the Ordained Ministers Conference.
- Church Services - We strongly recommend that regular church services in the form of physical gatherings should be suspended for the time being. We will continue to monitor the situation on a weekly basis to determine our response to any changes that occur. We are encouraging all our churches to explore other means of providing church services to our congregations - primarily through online transmission of those services; but also including new forms of technology like Zoom, Periscope etc.
- Team / Group meetings - In this same vein, we also strongly recommend that group meetings that normally take place physically in church should be postponed for the time being, for the safety of our members. In the meantime, we would advise that each parish should develop means of communicating and engaging with its members and teams be used over the coming weeks. These include the vehicles mentioned above, as well as webinars.
I, as your Pastor, would urge you to please remember that Together we are stronger, and I am assured that this too shall pass.
Further information will be provided in the coming days via email and the TC Telegram platform. If you have not joined the TC Telegram group (our information dashboard), please do so immediately, to ensure you have access to up to date information. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the joining link. Heads of Departments/Ministries, Ministers and Divisional Heads will all be able to assist with any information and/or requirements that you may have.
The Church office will also continue to operate remotely and all the telephone numbers to call for Pastoral Support will be posted and pinned in Telegram for ease of access. Please continue to email your queries through to the office in the meantime at email@example.com.
We will maintain a close watch over developments and communicate any updates as soon as possible.
In all of this, we know nothing catches God by surprise and He knows the end of this matter, so we want to encourage you to stand firm in your faith, have no fear but trust and seek God's face for our land .
May the Lord continue to be with you and keep you in all you do. May His peace guard your hearts and keep you well.
Remain steadfast in the Lord and keep safe out there.
Yours in Him
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TRINITY CHAPEL | SHAPING DESTINIES, INFLUENCING SOCIETY