Third National Lockdown

Dear Friends

Following the Government decision on national lockdown on Monday 4th January, the Standing Committee of the PCC met on Tuesday to discuss the situation, and the ministry leadership team also discussed this.

Although government guidelines say churches could remain open for collective worship, as long as updated new guidelines were strictly followed, the Bishop of Bristol and the diocesan leadership have made clear their understanding of the severity of the pandemic situation, and that the decision whether or not to remain open for collective worship, is a local one for each parish. Bishop Viv also made clear that they trust the decision making of local parishes, and will fully support whatever decision the parishes make.

The leadership teams of St Matthews Bristol have unanimously and clearly agreed that we should pause our services in the St Matthews church building for the time being, and focus our worship on Sunday worship online, and other online offerings.

The Covid figures continue to be hugely alarming, and we owe a duty of care to ensure each other’s safety during this critical phase of the pandemic, and to all play our own part in halting the spread of Covid. We believe there is simply too much risk associated with meeting in groups in church at this time, however hard we try to mitigate things and follow guidelines.

The leadership teams shall continue to meet together over the coming days, to discuss how we can respond to people’s needs during this lockdown, and to care for those who are particularly vulnerable and isolated. We shall also continue to constantly review the ongoing Covid situation with regard to the church building, dependent on how things evolve.

It is of course, disappointing to be in this situation again. But we do so as the Body of Christ, called to walk alongside our neighbours and those amongst whom we live. We also do so as people of hope. May we again encourage each other in living out this life of hope on the frontline of your lives, and looking out for others? Thank you for all you are already doing.

As we move forward, please join us in praying for each other and our communities. We ask for your prayers too, for us as a leadership team, but also for the most vulnerable of our communities, and those in greatest need at this time. Please do let us know if there is any specific help or support we can give you during this lockdown.

As Paul said to the church of the Thessalonians, ‘We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3Open Link in New Window).

Yours in Christ

Ian

Rev Ian Tomkins, Vicar.

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