Covid-19 Updates

11/07/2020

The Prime Minister announced that places of worship can re-open for public gatherings from the 4th of July. The overriding message from the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government is that it is imperative that all leaders of places of worship understand that they are responsible for the safety of their congregants and that their places of worship are designated as being COVID-secure before they reconvene.

Elim’s National Leadership Team (NLT) had already been working on a strategy for reopening and giving guidance to the local church. The decision to reopen individual churches will be made by the NLT following assurance that each church has taken the necessary measures to be deemed COVID secure.

In preparation, we have already carried out a comprehensive risk assessment which was submitted to the NLT on the 22nd of June 2020. This highlighted several issues which need to be addressed with subsequent actions taken.

There are various practical things that need to happen before we can reconvene. These include a deep clean of the building, maintenance of the side pathway to facilitate a one-way system, installation of sanitisation facilities to name but a few.

In the coming weeks, there are numerous opportunities to serve as we prepare our building and work towards gathered worship. We have several roles that we are recruiting to via our ‘Safer Recruitment Pathway’. These include cleaning team member, maintenance team member, online ministry, audio/visual technician and stewards. As it will take some time to complete the recruitment process and receive the required training, we would appreciate your prompt response.

As you can appreciate any future gatherings will be different from those prior to COVID. One example is that public singing may not be possible as we return to gathered worship. Before we rush back to church as it was prior to lockdown, we should consider and ask, “How effective were our church services prior to COVID?” and “What is their purpose?” Are they in line with our mission and values? Or are we simply doing what we have always done?

We give thanks to God for the previous ministries and for all that have faithfully served. Through these unprecedented times of challenge and opportunity, God is calling the Church to ‘reset’ its priorities. The church program as it was in the Spring is unable to resume. As we reflect on the questions above, the Holy Spirit is guiding us. As we are discovering on Wednesdays in ‘Reflections’, we are called to mirror the Early Church, released in power and ministering the life of Christ to the local community. We are to be a community of ‘Disciples-making disciples.

As our nation navigates its way out of lockdown, we are turning our attention to how we try to re-establish some sort of normality. Whilst this involves how we reinstate public gatherings, what is of greater importance is the wellbeing of our church family and the communities we serve. Our church is defined by our people, not our premises. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we begin to consider how we can care for those that the Good Shepherd has entrusted to us. Mental health issues, tensions in relationships, debt, unemployment, loneliness. These are just some of the issues we need to minister into. In response, we are looking to create, train and support a Pastoral Care Team. Please consider if this is an area in which you can serve?

Please pray for our Leadership Team as we navigate this next season.

We would appreciate your feedback, questions, help etc so please feel free to get in touch.

Every blessing,

Pastor John & The Leadership Team


20/03/2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Following our Church Leadership Team Meeting recently and recommendations from the National Leadership Team of our movement, we want to bring you up to date with how we are going to facilitate our life together as a church over the coming weeks. We will post updates regularly here on our FaceBook Page and in emails/texts etc… when we can.

Sunday Gatherings
All physical Sunday gatherings will be suspended from this Sunday until further notice. We will continue to meet online, with a Facebook live stream at 11am on Sundays. We will be focusing our efforts in online community on Facebook via our Church Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/elimchurchsunderland/ so please make sure you have access to that. If you need help in setting up Facebook, then please let us know and we will do all we can to support you in accessing the Page.

Church Midweek Gatherings
We are intending to have a midweek online Facebook event to include prayer and a short word. More details. to follow

Other special opportunities for online gathering will be communicated as they arise. We are exploring ways of reading Scripture together, sharing prayer requests and strengthening our faith. We have lots of ideas for how to create community online that we look forward to sharing with you over the weeks ahead. To help us in our planning going forward, can you please let us know which social media apps you routinely use or would consider using. The goal will be to create a strong sense of community and encourage growth & discipleship.

All other Midweek ministries and activities are suspended until further notice (foodbank will be running).

Prayer
We have access to God throughout this time, and we want to encourage you to pray personally and as a family. We will be looking at how best to facilitate communal prayer and prayer requests.

Leadership Team
Our Leadership Team will be in communication at least once a week across the period that our physical services are suspended and we will be in touch with you regularly.

Ministering to others and to one another.
We are working hard to support out community and want to encourage each of you to do the same. Whether that is buying extra food for the Foodbank, checking on those whom you know who might be at higher risk, or letting your neighbours know you are there to support and help them, this is a remarkable moment in our nation for us to show the love of God. We are planning to distribute Christian literature and an offer of support throughout our local community.

Pastoral Care
We want to make sure that each of you is being supported as you face the challenges ahead. We have a new mobile phone number for all church communications’ E.g. prayer requests, needing practical support. This will be carried by a member of the Leadership Team throughout this current period to ensure there is support available at all times.


Pastoral care line: 07387775011

Email: office@sunderlandelim.org.uk

We will be regularly checking with those in our church family who are at higher risk.

If you, or someone from church you know, has to isolate or is in need of help please let us know. If you are concerned about anyone, especially our older folk, please get in touch. We will be doing all we can to offer help not just to the church but also to those around us and show them God’s love in practical ways. There may be opportunities for you to help with this so if you are available to provide practical support please let us know.

Take care of yourself and of others
Please continue to follow all the guidelines in relation to good practice and well being. Wash your hands regularly, stay at home if you have any symptoms etc.

Remember that we are in this together.
Elim Pentecostal Church Sunderland is not closing. We are moving to a different way of enabling our life together, and there will be much that God will do in us and through us at this time. We will look back at this season and see wonderful ways in which God has been at work.

As a church, we continue to need your support. Please remember that finances, encouragement, support and serving continue to be important. If you do not already do so, please think about setting up standing orders for your giving. We encourage you to think about setting aside your offering this weekend and giving it when you can. Alternatively, you can make a bank transfer to the Church account. Please get in touch on the number above. Our overheads and ongoing costs remain the same, and some may increase as we try to strengthen our methods of communication, so please think about a one-off gift at the moment if you can. We also want to support those in our church and wider community that need help – so please think about how you can ensure that your support of God’s work continues.

We are in this together, and this season will pass. Remember that Church was never meant to be about Sunday meetings. Our worship and life together, and our witness continues. Now, more than ever, we have an opportunity to experience the grace of God and share that grace with others. It has rarely been as important for the Church to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’.

It continues to be a privilege to serve you all

Pastor John.
On behalf of Elim Pentecostal Church Sunderland Leadership Team.