Dear Church Family,

I do hope you managed to enjoy the Christmas Weekend and have had time to ponder and worship the God who comes to us in love and humility, but also with power and strength – He is Jesus, our Saviour!

I am aware that over this Christmas season, there have been a lot of challenges and struggles across our Church Family - sickness, sadness, sorrow. As I pray for you, I remember our reflections from Boxing Day – that we are invited to bring ourselves, and all the struggles we face, to Jesus. As we have often quoted before: Jesus says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

May Holy Spirit bring this ministry of Christ to you in these days, and especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ who walk a difficult or painful road just now. Let’s be in prayer for one another.

Sadly, during this week, the Church Board have also had to wrestle with some decision making about our response to the ongoing COVID situation. Again, these have not been easy matters to deal with, but over the last 24 hours it has seemed both sensible and practical to make the following decision. 

Due to the rise in COVID cases across the nation and in our own church family, the Church Board has made the difficult decision of returning to an Online Sunday Service for this coming Sunday. We will review the matter early next week regarding subsequent Sundays in January, but our intention is to be back as soon as possible with “in person” services. As an additional precaution, we also suggest Lateral Flow Testing for those who attended either the Christmas Eve or Boxing Day Services.

This is not at all how we envisaged the first days of the new year, nor the early stages of our new building, however, we hope this will be a short-lived change. I know this will be frustrating for many of us, as it has been for the Church Board and I, but the levels of illness just now make it impractical to continue as normal. Again, we invite you to pray for one another – for those who are currently unwell and for protection across our church family and beyond.

We will review things next week regarding Sunday 9th January and will let you know as soon as possible. In the meantime, we bless one another with this prayer…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).

We remain People of Hope as we are filled and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. So let it be!

Peace and Grace