Letter from the vicar and churchwardens:

The St Barnabas leadership team is monitoring this ongoing situation. We need to encourage one another to cooperate and heed the advice given and take our personal responsibility to others especially ’the vulnerable’ very seriously.

During the current public health emergency with the outbreak of the coronavirus, we will be monitoring very closely the advice from the Government, Public Health England and the Church of England.
St Barnabas is a public place of worship, and there are currently no restrictions in place restricting our gathering together. We shall continue to meet for public worship and prayer. That is what we should do as followers of Jesus and keeping going our community life and worship will sustain us and others in the midst of uncertainty.
On the back of advice from the Church of England and the Government we will be taking the following measures to keep people safe at this time:
– Communion will now only be taken in ‘one kind’. This means that the congregation will only receive the bread. It is Anglican teaching that to receive the sacrament in one kind only (i.e. just the bread) is to receive the sacrament in its entirety.
– In communion, when we do ‘the peace’, we need to do it in a non-physical way.
– We will be encouraging everyone that enters St Barnabas to wash their hands for twenty seconds with soap and water.
– We will be extra vigilant when we do offer tea, coffee and other refreshments. When drinks are served, just one or two people, who have carefully washed, will distribute the drinks.
– We will not lay hands on someone when offering prayer ministry
– We will not be passing the collection plate, but taking offerings and financial gifts in other ways.
– We will continually be reviewing and keeping up-to-date with advice from Public Health England and the Church of England.
– To help prevent the spread of infection, please follow general best practice as outlined by Public Health England.
– If you develop a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, let someone in the ministry team know, but do not come to worship and follow all official guidance from the NHS.
– if you are aware of a church member who is unwell or self-isolating, or you have concerns about anyone in other ways, please let one of the clergy or churchwardens know.
– the senior leadership of St Barnabas are putting together a parish plan to ensure we follow health guidance, but also offer good support to those who are most vulnerable, both congregation members and members of the wider community.
We need to be careful about health guidance, but we also believe that God is calling the Church to be a non-anxious presence in the midst of uncertainty, panic and doubt. We remember that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
We encourage all of the St Barnabas family to set aside time to pray about the Coronavirus outbreak, to pray for the Government, health professionals, carers and that the global spread of this virus will stop.
Here is a prayer that we could use:
Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ brought peace to those he met. Protect and sustain all affected by the coronavirus, both here and across the family of nations. Sustain healthcare workers and all who care for the sick. Give wisdom to all in authority. Deepen our faith, that, whatever troubles we face, we may stand secure on the rock that is Christ. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you for being such a great church family!

David, Mel and Graeme

PS Information about coronavirus from the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
PPS Church of England guidelines : https://www.churchofengland.org/…/coronavirus-covid-19-guid…

Here is the latest advice from the Church of England https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

© 2014 St Barnabas, Middlesbrough
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