We hope and pray that you are doing well in the middle of uncertain times!
Faith in Jesus draws us into relationship with God but also relationship with others as part of a Church community. In this moment we find ourselves unable to physically meet together and therefore we are looking at different ways of being a church community together. We hope you read this letter that is being sent by email and post and social media to all who are part of our community at Ernest Street.
Our hope and prayer is that in the next months, as a community we will find ways to keep connected with others at Ernest Street, and also be encouraged in our relationship with Jesus.
As a leaders team we met on Tuesday night to talk about all the issues that are raised by the current situation and we hope that as you read this letter you will feel encouraged by all that is planned. We also hope that you will be willing to take an active role in supporting and connecting with one another.
It is true that it is a challenging time, that the situation in the country is changing almost daily and that we cannot be certain how long the current situation will last. We know that even though things are difficult:
that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We are aware that God can use all that is happening for good. Paul’s words to the Romans above are significant. He is saying that even in difficult times, God is present. Even when it seems like things are out of control, God is working and is using all that is happening to shape the people of God in new ways.
Since the current situation might last for a significant amount of time we are putting in place plans that will sustain our life as a community. The current plans for the coming weeks for the Ernest Street Community are:
· We will be posting a 30-40 minute Sunday Gathering online which will include a message, prayer, notices, questions to share (as you talk to others during the week).
+ We are organising the Ernest Street Community into care groups, each with a main contact person. We hope in this way to be in touch with every person who is part of Ernest Street on a weekly basis. We hope this will support people in their different circumstances
+ We encourage people to organise to meet in pairs or threes weekly. This could be by phoning, WhatsApp video calling, or (if appropriate) meeting up for a walk or at an appropriate venue. This is a really significant way that we can still ‘be church’ together over the next weeks or months. If you are willing to do this, please let Ian know that you are doing this. If you would like to find a person to connect with please let Ian know and we will attempt to support you in doing this.
+ We hope in following weeks to send out craft packs to the children/young people from Ernest Street to help families engage with the Sunday ‘Youtube’ gathering in an age appropriate way.
+ We are creating a WhatsApp Group to update you when new activities or events or information is available online. We will also use this to send information about Sunday Gatherings, e.g. how and when they are happening.
+ We are regularly updating the website (and social media pages) with new information. Please see erneststreetbaptist.org.uk/updates and you will find the information.
+ We will be sending out a questionnaire asking you to let us know what thoughts you have about how we keep in touch with one another
+ We hope to offer the exciting/new opportunity on a week night to meet together by joining a video ‘conferencing’ site (called Zoom.us). It allows discussion and communication between participants. We can give assistance with accessing this, if it is needed.
+ Dave and Linda are organising a WhatsApp Group for Tuesday Friends members
+ The Why and WHATEVER teams will be sending out post/activities/contacting people from those groups every two weeks.
+ We have given the Church’s food from the Foodbank to Accrington Christians Together Foodbank. If you would like to donate food then you can drop it off at Cuppa Cabana on Church Street.
We pray that during this time you will be able to connect with others at Ernest Street in a new way and that you will be blessed through making new friendships and starting new conversations about faith with others.
We have a good God who is with us in all we do.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging Psalm 46:1-3