This post is a summary of a message from Stephen Walker-Williams (on behalf of our elders) to update and encourage us. 24 March 2020.

‘Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you”‘ (John 20:26)

Many of us will have tuned in to Boris Johnson’s update yesterday evening calling on the nation to stay at home in order to preserve and protect life – strict measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. Following this request the church office, prayer room, main meeting rooms and other spaces are now closed until further notice.

We are to stay at home and our prayer for each person in our nation is to be that although the doors are shut, Jesus will come in and stand before people and they will know his peace.

We recognise that for many in our church family and community the direct and indirect consequences of the spread of this virus will have big and possibly lasting impacts, not just physically with health, but also emotionally, financially and mentally.

These are indeed challenging times and whilst we are told to stay at a distance from one another we should not let anyone become distant from us. As we said last week, now is the time to BE church. As places of worship close in response to these measures, our homes can still be places of worship, prayer and encounter of the Lord Jesus who is alive and active today.

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” It has been wonderful to hear of the various ways in which people have been loving one another practically, pastorally and prayerfully… with people inside and outside the church family. We have ‘been’ church.

As time goes on, and things possibly increase in challenge, our love for others must increase. Jesus calls his disciples to love as he has loved us. Wow! That’s a challenge, especially at a time of staying apart. Let’s pray that God inspires us with new and fresh ways, in addition to a commitment and courage to love one another.

Let us also take inspiration and courage from Jesus who did not stay at a distance with us so that we did not need to stay at a distance with God.

Please join us in continuing pray for each other and for our communities.