The Government has issued new guidelines - “Covid-19: Guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 4 July”. I am sure that many of us are wanting to know what the next practical step is for Kingdom Faith Yorkshire.
After prayerful consideration, the Corona Leadership Team and I have decided that for everyone's safety, we will not be opening the Summit in July and August. The restrictions mean opening would be an inferior experience and a health risk.
We will, therefore, be following Government recommendations by continuing to live stream, avoiding whole church gatherings and enabling those who are vulnerable or self-isolating to continue to be connected. Restricting our freedom, declining our desires in preference of those who are more vulnerable or cautious, is not an act of fear, but rather, it is to be motivated by love.
The church leaders I have been in communication with, including Pastor Clive Urquhart and his team at Kingdom Faith Horsham, have made the same decision, we will not be opening our church buildings.
Our main review will be in September when all children return to school, and we have new expected Guidelines.
We want people to be safe. If we did meet at the Summit, the guidelines mean that it is not possible to spend social time together. We are encouraged to use a booking system for entry with staggered entry to avoid contact, crowds and queues and then depart quickly at the end by a row at a time. We cannot sing, play music above normal speaking level, raise our voices, hug one another or even preach normally. Each household would have a designated area in which it would need to remain, including children. Young children have to be held and children cannot play with others. Play areas have to stay closed, and there would be no children's work. Services are supposed to be as short as possible. Making bookings online is to make it possible to restrict numbers to safe levels. An attendance record means that if someone did have Covid-19, everyone present at the same time could be tracked and traced. Social distancing has to be maintained. The Hub would not be open; it is the primary way in and out of the meeting hall. We do not yet have the capacity to live stream and hold a meeting at the Summit.
We are looking forward to a Celebration! Worshipping God together, meeting friends, but sadly the experience of a Covid-19 Service will not be that. For now, the connectivity and experience enabled by Sunday Morning Live Church is much better.
We have decided not to reopen the Summit on any day of the week during July and August. In September, once all children are back in school and we have new government guidelines, we will review our next steps. We all want to get back to normal at the Summit, but the current restrictions mean it would not be normal at all. We would be placing people at risk, as well as excluding people considered vulnerable, those self-isolating and many families. It would divide us rather than unite us.
Thank you everyone who has been empowering us to be online, and to the many who are making every effort to enable us to be community in many practical ways. Everyone living and enabling their part in the body. Thank you so much.
Stand at the crossroads and look;
Ask for the ancient paths.
Ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls.
When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;
He brought me into a wide-open space.
We are at a crossroads; we are moving into a wide-open space of God's rest. The enemy would have us rush - he always tries to press us into busyness and rushing - the Lord moves us in His time, it may be quickly or (to us) slowly, but God is never rushed.
This is a time of reflection and waiting on God. It is a time of Church Reset. A time of patience. If we listen to Him, the “new normal” will be a reformation of the church as He wants it to be. Gathering is vital, essential. Right now, He has awoken our eyes to the importance of Household, the small informal gatherings. What is happening now must not be cast aside but built upon - for this is the foundation of the wide-open space of God's rest. Sure, in coming days we will be busy, but we will not be lost in busyness. The household and small gatherings remind us of who we are - the community of Jesus Christ, His body. So, let us make the most of what we can do! With correct social distancing, we can gather according to guidelines - two households indoors, up to six people outdoors - but actually, this is part of God's plan! These gatherings need to be the new church, working with House Church, plus the renewed Summit gatherings and missional activity. Today we take responsibility for ourselves, and we do not leave the initiative to others.
We have exciting times ahead! The fullness being restored:
Every day, they continued to meet in the temple courts. They broke bread together in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those being saved.
God bless you, love
Kingdom Faith Yorkshire