13th March 2020
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:3
Brothers and Sisters, as you are no doubt aware there is much concern in our nation, and indeed in the world, over the strain of coronavirus, COVID-19. As Pastor of Newquay Baptist Church, I take seriously my role to love and care for the wellbeing of the congregation, both spiritually and physically, which means I must consider the threat of this virus.
In recent days I have spent much time taking advice on how we as a church should best proceed in the light of the current pandemic sweeping the world. We are constantly listening to what the Government and NHS is advising, and also observing how other churches are dealing with the situation. In the light of all the information we have, Newquay Baptist Church will be making the following temporary steps to help ensure your safety.
1. From Sunday, 15th March 2020, we will suspend the use of hymnals and pew Bibles in the chapel. Studies have shown that the virus can spread via paper so we have decided for the time being that the best course of action would be to project the hymn lyrics and Scripture reading onto the wall. We do encourage everyone to continue to bring their own Bible to Church, and if you have your own hymnal you can bring that also, but we ask that you do not share your Bible or hymnal with someone else.
2. Following NHS recommendations we would encourage everyone to regularly wash their hands with soap for twenty seconds. While there is a shortage of hand-soap at the moment, we have managed to find some bottles. All toilets will have ample handwash. We would also ask that you please use the paper towels to dry your hands and immediately dispose of them in the bin.
3. Seating: If possible, we would encourage you not to sit close to each other, perhaps spread out around the chapel. The Government recommendations is that we try to have a one metre gap between people. We acknowledge that this isn’t always possible, but if space permits, we would encourage gaps between people.
4. Handshakes / Hugs / Body Contact: Please refrain from making any body contact with others; we understand that it is very natural to want to make people feel welcome at church, but in these difficult times we would suggest that a warm smile and verbal welcome is just as friendly.
5. Cold / Flu: If you have cold and flu symptoms, then we would ask that you: a) Let us know so we can pray for you; b) Not attend any of the meetings. We would dearly love to have you with us, but we would ask that you please refrain from attending church if you are unwell. We want to ensure both your well-being and also those of your fellow church attendees. If you have access to the internet we can recommend online sermons for you to listen to while you are at home as we don’t want you to miss out on the teaching of God’s Word.
6. Visitations: For the time being all pastoral visitations will be limited; if you desire a visit, then please feel free to contact me, and we’ll see if a visitation can be arranged. Due to the nature of my work I am often in contact with many different people, so I want to ensure the health and safety of all.
Let me stress to you that I love you in Christ, and I want what is best for you, that is why the above decisions have been made. We do have other plans that we are working on if the pandemic worsens.
I understand that many may be afraid during this time, so let me conclude by reminding you of the sovereignty of God. Our Lord was not caught off guard by all of this; He is in control, and He will work all things out after the perfect counsel of His will. I would encourage you to mediate regularly upon the power of our God during this time, and to also think constantly of Christ’s love shown at the cross.
We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know the One who controls the future.
Yours in Christian Love
Pastor – Newquay Baptist Church