Month: July 2020

DEC Coronavirus Appeal

Coronavirus Appeal

In ‘normal time’ we would probably had a retiring collection for the Disasters Emergency Committe’s appeal. Please consider carefully if you able to support this emergency request.

 

Here in the UK we’ve all had to make sacrifices to protect each other and save lives during the coronavirus pandemic, and witnessed the incredible dedication of our amazing NHS staff.

But as lockdown lifts here, people around the world need our help – families who have fled violence, conflict and hunger in countries where there is no NHS if they fall ill.

Many are now living in crowded refugee and displacement camps with little access to medical care, clean water or enough food, making them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. In these places, the virus is likely to be even more deadly than it has been here.

Imagine having to leave everything behind to keep your family safe, only to face a deadly new threat: Covid-19. This is the reality for people living in tents and makeshift shelters without running water or soap in places like Yemen, Syria and Somalia.

But, as we have seen in the UK, simple measures can make a huge difference. If we act now to protect millions of vulnerable refugees and displaced people, many lives can be saved.

We need your help to:

provide families with clean water, soap and information on keeping themselves safe

provide frontline medical and aid workers with equipment and supplies to care for the vulnerable and sick

ensure families get enough food to prevent malnutrition, particularly amongst children

People who have already suffered so much need your help now more than ever to face this new threat. Please give whatever you can at this challenging time for us all.

Donate Online at https://dec.org.uk

By Phone:  please call 0370 60 60 900.

By Post: All donations should be made payable to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal and sent to PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA

By Text: Text the word DONATE to 70150 to give £10.

Thank you

An Update from the Circuit Leadership Team

Salisbury Circuit

Registered Charity no. 1134362

16th July 2020

 

To the Members and Friends of the Churches of the Salisbury Circuit

 Dear Colleagues

 Yesterday we held a meeting of the Circuit Leadership Team.  We met in person for the first time since February; it was good to be together even with all the restrictions of distancing and without normal human contact.  I am writing to share some of our discussions and decisions.

Our absolute priority is the safety of our people.  We are recommending action that is based on a real love for people and their welfare.

The Coronavirus has proved to be and remains a deadly threat.  You will be aware of the talk of a second spike and already some of the easing of the lockdown restrictions are being reversed in some places.  We hope and pray that it will not get worse.

Worship.  Of course, we talked at length about the possibilities of a return to Worship. We want to make it happen. We uphold the right of the Managing Trustees of each of our nine Chapels to make the right decision for their premises and their members.  We are committed to supporting any decision – to open or not to open – that Manging Trustees make.  But, and it is a big But, with all the regulations and requirements that are currently in place, our recommendation is that Worship should not take place until after the first of October.

We acknowledge that our people are missing all sorts of aspects of our coming together to worship the living God.  In their replies to the Questionnaire that I have circulated (and Thank You to the many people who have responded), people have mentioned singing, Communion, fellowship and coffee – and more.  We are very aware that among those who feel most deprived there are those who are the most vulnerable.  Were we to resume Worship now it would be very different.   People at two metres distance would mean a very reduced number in Church.  We are not allowed to sing – can you imagine – surely anathema to Methodists.  We would not be able to meet and mix after Service but ‘commanded’ to go out and go home.  No coffee!  Then there is the eight-page list of all the compliance rules that we must adhere to.

At Woodfalls and at Bemerton and perhaps elsewhere, consideration is being given to holding outdoor services, which would be a partial solution while the weather remains in our favour.

I recognise that this will be deeply disappointing to many.  While some have told me that they are apprehensive about returning to Church, others have expressed their eagerness.   I repeat that our priority is the safety of our people.

Fellowship Groups. There are some positives.  We are very aware of the immense amount of work that has been devoted to maintaining, and indeed increasing, our pastoral contacts with both our own members and those beyond our normal reach.  Thank you for that ongoing work.  We wondered about the possibilities and then proposed the setting up of small fellowship groups.  Some exist already. It’s like going back to our roots.  Under the regulations and with common sense precautions, it is possible for 6 or so people to meet in a garden or a suitably large living room.   We want to encourage you to invite one another and perhaps share coffee or perhaps prayer and some of the written or recorded material that the ministerial team are producing week by week.  Could you initiate such an invitation?

We have the resource of our two Lay workers, Linda and Christine, who are returning to work from their furlough period.

Published and Broadcast Services and material. In their replies many, many people have expressed great appreciation for the material that is available through the Circuit and from beyond.  As the ministerial team we are committed to continuing this in its variety of forms. We have been hugely blessed by the technical team that have produced complete Services from SMC.  Currently there is the substantial proposal and active research into the possibility of purchasing the equipment that will enable the streaming of live as well as recorded Services.  It would enable us to maintain the contacts with those who are not able to physically join us at Church; contacts that have been a positive outcome of our work during the lockdown.

A serious proposal that we are investigating is the purchase by the Circuit  – perhaps on a large scale, of second hand iPads or similar equipment which we would give, along with broadband and also appropriate training, to those who do not currently have access to the technology that many of us have come to rely on during this period.

‘Outside’ users and hirers of our Premises.  Again, a whole area that took a great deal of time and energy in our discussions.   Again, an area where the safety of people became the prime motivation of our thinking and decisions.  While we acknowledge that some provide essential community service and some a means of livelihood, we cannot see a way through the maze of logistic difficulties that outside users would present.  The cleaning process after each use alone would be a very expensive nightmare.  Who would ensure the various regulations are adhered to?  What would happen if two or more users were on the premises at the same time? What if there were children – notoriously difficult to make compliant with social distancing, involved? Wouldn’t we need a full-time caretaker in each of the premises that others use? We gave consideration to the Circuit employing professional cleaners to execute the required deep clean and give us a certificate that it had been done.  But that would only be valid for one brief moment in time.  As a ‘user group’ came and went, we would have to start again.  We could not see how we could sanction any ‘outside’ use of our premises unless there is a discreet self-contained part of the premises for which a group would accept total responsibility for complete compliance with all of our regulations including cleaning.

Again, it is not ideal.  What is the alternative?   The Circuit Leadership Team is called to exercise leadership and that, under God, is what we have tried to do.   We will continue to work together – especially as it seems that it will not be possible in the normal way to hold our planned September Circuit Meeting.  There will be some essential business that we shall have to conduct by correspondence – either post or email.  A meeting under the difficult conditions of a zoom meeting does not seem viable.  We will continue to review the situation.

We continue to hold each other in the presence of God who, through it all, is our Rock and our Salvation.  We will continue to pray – especially for David and Helen.

Thank you again for all you do and for all you are in the life of our Church

Sincerely

Bryan

Bryan Coates

Acting Superintendent

 

A letter from Revd. Bryan Coates

To All the Members of the Churches of the Salisbury Circuit

Dear Friends

I am very grateful that the letter I wrote in the third week of June has been widely circulated and that it has produced some feedback.  As the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus lockdown are being eased, I am aware that we need to be somewhat more pro-active about the process of discussion regarding the re-opening of our Churches for Services of Worship.

The regulations about preparing our premises, from both Church authorities and Government, remain very strict.  There is a lot of work to be done.  The Circuit Leadership Team is due to meet and we shall retain oversight of the process in order to reassure our people about their safety as they return to Church.

I want to record my thanks, on behalf of us all, to the ministerial team for the work they have put in to creating a variety of Worship material that has been available over this period.  Similarly, a sincere ‘Thank You’ to our Technical Team who have spent a great deal of time in making this possible.

In my June letter I raised some questions about the future – those questions remain in play.  We do need to talk together about our direction.  There are some immediate questions and the gleaning of your answers and opinions will help enormously as we enter a period of planning and preparation for the resumption of Worship and continuing church fellowship and life.

The Circuit Leadership Team (our five Circuit Stewards, our Administrator and the Ministers) will appreciate it if you will please commit some time to thinking creatively about the following subjects and sending me your reflections which ideally will be more than just single word answers.  Thank you.

With best wishes

Sincerely

Bryan

Bryan Coates                                                                                        Email – sandyandbryan@tiscali.co.uk

 

  • What have you missed about Church during this lockdown period?
  • Of all that the Church has continued to do, what has been helpful to your faith and fellowship?
  • What is important and what have you discovered NOT to be important in church life?
  • In the light of all the continuing restrictions, what is your expectation about a return to Worship? When do you think that your church should re-open?
  • Are you aware of the regulations which will put some restrictions (eg no singing, social distancing etc) on the Worship that we are able to offer?
  • Are you excited or apprehensive about coming back to Church Worship and activity?
  • Should we try to continue, in some form, with some of the provisions we have made during lockdown with online Services and written material?