Tuesday, 17 March 2020
Greetings to Everyone,

We live in very difficult and trying times. I have today written today to everyone concerning how we will handle Services and activities in the weeks to come. However, before I had sent out the email I received the message copied below, which is self-explanatory and will cover formal gatherings of the church for the foreseeable future.

Dear Elders, Congregational Leaders and Pastoral Council members,

The government’s recent advice to avoid pubs, restaurants and theatres has been clarified to include religious services. In light of this the National Ministry Team has made the decision to stop physical gatherings of the Church in the UK and Ireland effective immediately. This includes church services, bible studies and prayer groups where there is a direct risk of transmitting the Corvid-19 virus. I know that a number of congregations have already had to take this step as meeting halls have become unavailable and speakers and worship leaders have had to self-isolate. Regretfully it has also become necessary to cancel the upcoming Scottish Retreat which was scheduled in April.

There is a lot of uncertainty about how long this will have to continue and as we face these difficult times there is a need to recognise that the Church is not just a time and a place to meet – it is you and me and our precious members, along with all our brothers and sisters around the world. We are the Church – the body of Christ and God’s chosen instrument to share his love with the world and to witness to his Son Jesus Christ. Let us be the body of Christ not just in word, but also in deed. Let us, who have been gifted with the Spirit of the Risen Lord, rise to the challenges before us and find new ways to engage and connect with those around us. To this end we encourage you all to seek ways in which you can continue to participate in Christ’s ministry even though we are no longer able to meet together face to face – perhaps this might be through telephone calls, emails, WhatsApp messages or social media. Perhaps you have ideas that you want to pursue in this regard.

From a national perspective we have a number of resources available that you can point our members too, including www.daybyday.org.uk, www.because.uk.com as well as our main church website www.gracecom.church. On the US website, www.gci.org, you can also access Speaking of Life each week and fortnightly updates are available at update.gci.org.

In addition to this we are hoping we will be able to livestream a video message at 11am on Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend. We are still working out some of the details of this and will announce more information via the church website (www.gracecom.church). The Church website will also be updated later today to reflect that we have cancelled physical meetings in line with government advice.

We will update you with more information when it becomes available and will confirm, when it becomes clear, when we will be able to resume meetings in person again.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Alexis or myself.

Warm regards,
Gavin Henderson
Operations Manager

In consultation with the Watford Church council I will write a further message explaining how we will seek to serve everyone while these restrictions last. I will also address a number of questions that have come to me in the last couple of days and any other relevant information. I hope we will all be able to take a responsibility for the care of our fellow brothers and sisters in these difficult times. Stay safe!
Best Regards,
David Silcox
On behalf of the Watford Church Council

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