Response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
The COVID 19 threat is becoming increasingly challenging on a daily basis. All church activities need to be planned and managed in the light of current Public Health Authority guidelines. Following these PHA guidelines, and the directive of the Leaders of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the following changes to our church life must now happen:
1. Gathered services in our church buildings ARE SUSPENDED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
2. All weekly activities within our buildings, including use by external bodies, are suspended with immediate effect.
3. Despite this, David, Shirley, Ashleigh, Adrienne and Roy will be continuing to work. The unique circumstances of this period will, however, change the nature of how that work is carried out.
4. Funeral: In the event of a funeral the Circuit staff will work with the deceased’s family and Funeral Director to facilitate a funeral service but please note;
· the Church will not be able to provide catering facilities
· there will be restrictions on the numbers allowed to attend in accordance with the Government and HSE recommendations.
· families will be asked to consider a private family funeral.
· If the death is COVID-19 related there will be specialised guidelines for families and Funeral Directors to be followed
5. Pastoral Visiting: For the next period of time pastoral care will be provided differently. Pastoral communication by phone will be used. We encourage all our leaders and members to keep regular contact by phone with those they know to be alone or isolated. If you know of those who would particularly benefit from a pastoral telephone call from one of the pastoral team please contact David or Shirley to let them know the details. Our class leaders will also be helping with keeping in touch by telephone.
David: 07808 909192 firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirley: 07746 666860 email@example.com
Most Nursing/Care Homes are now following a restricted visiting plan. In a number of Nursing/Care homes this is one family member per day, or a complete suspension of visiting. If someone in your family is in residential or nursing care and they would benefit from contact with David or Shirley please get in touch so we can arrange this. This will primarily be through telephone contact, or (if available) contact using a smart-phone based video calling application (e.g. Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime). This could be facilitated by a family member or one of the Nursing/Care home’s staff.
· Coronavirus (COVID-19) is no respecter of persons. Therefore, we urge everyone to be particularly aware of those who are vulnerable in their area. If someone in your neighbourhood is self-isolating, practical help may be particularly appreciated. Please keep thinking of others even in these difficult times.
· We have all been made aware of inconsiderate ‘panic buying’. Please do not ‘panic buy’ or hoard large quantities of food or supplies. To do so negatively impacts on those who cannot afford to buy such large quantities.
· Church Finances: At this stage we do not know how long we will not be able to meet for Sunday worship, but we do know that most of the costs of running our churches and our Circuit will continue week by week. The church is dependent on your weekly giving. Therefore, we would respectfully ask that if you don’t already do so this might be a good time to consider giving by Standing Order. Contact David or Shirley to discuss how to arrange this.
· The church staff and leadership team will continue to support you in whatever way we can. Modern IT systems allow our leaders to meet on a regular basis.
· Through the medium of technology we are exploring ways in which worship and prayer ministry can be built into the weekly routine of all our families. More on this will follow during the next few days.
· This Sunday there will be an act of worship streamed from Seymour Street at 11.30am. This cannot be attended in person. It can be found athttps://www.facebook.com/seymourstreet/
· We will be providing regular updates on life and ministry in our church and circuit on our Circuit website(www.lisburnanddromore.org), here on www.seymourstreet.org and on our Facebook page.
· For general enquiries contact Adrienne at firstname.lastname@example.org
The coming days and weeks will prove challenging to all of us. It is likely that we will see more stringent restrictions in relation to movement and travel.
There may be those who are unable to access basic needs because of the need to self-isolate. In such cases all of us has a responsibility to do what we can to alleviate inconvenience and suffering in our wider communities.
The Board of Damask Community Outreach are working on ways which we can help support the most vulnerable in our communities through this period. The leaders of many of our church fellowships across denominations are working to see how community support can be coordinated and harmonised. Further details of this will be given in coming days.
It is essential that we all do what we can to protect ourselves and those who are vulnerable in our society at this time. This is the work of Christ’s church, and even though we are not gathering together for worship on a Sunday, we remain Christ’s Church, His presence in the community.