A message from Will Dobbie, Lead Pastor
We are entering a season of anxiety and suffering for many. It’s not unlikely that some of our family will be touched by tragedy one way or another. I greatly hope that the more vulnerable among us will take particular caution.
Please let your Growth Group leaders or other friends in Redeemer know if you are having to self-isolate.
It’s important we acknowledge some foundational truths. Because COVID-19 is a uniquely special opportunity for…
1. …loving one another
The passage I would have been preaching on this morning (Sunday 15 March) includes these words: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) We are family. We stand together come what may. And following the pattern of Jesus’ love for us, our love for each other is sacrificial and practical. Do be active on your Growth Group WhatsApp chat and within other Redeemer networks, with ideas for how we can be serving and encouraging each other, particularly the more ‘senior saints’ among us.
2. …trusting the Lord
Proverbs 3:6,7 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Psalm 23 is also a wonderful resource for seasons like this. We have a God who is infinitely powerful and utterly sovereign, who loves us more than words can say, who brings good out of evil, and who has plans far beyond what our finite minds can imagine. Let’s be trusting him no matter what.
3. …reaching out to the lost
During the reign of Emperor Maximinus, between 235 and 238 AD, a contagious epidemic raged across the whole Roman Empire, taking the lives of many. One commentator at the time was Eusebius, and he wrote afterwards: “…the evidence of the Christians’ zeal and goodness was made clear to all the pagans. For example, they alone in such a catastrophic state of affairs gave practical evidence of their sympathy and kindness by works. All day long some of them would diligently persevere in tending to the dying and burying them (for there were countless numbers, and no one to look after them). While other Christians gathered together in a single assemblage all who were afflicted by famine throughout the whole city of Rome, and would distribute bread to them all. When this became known, people glorified the God of the Christians, and, convinced by the deeds themselves, confessed the Christians alone were truly pious and God-fearing.”
1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” There will be much sadness, anxiety and arguably no small spiritual hunger in the nation in the weeks ahead. We mustn’t let this special opportunity pass for being God-ordained beacons of wonderful hope. Do pray earnestly for opportunities to serve those in your communities and share with them the certain hope of eternal life in Christ. May we emerge from this season, albeit possibly with tears, also with amazing stories of God’s grace, and potentially new members of God’s family among us.
Practical Guide & Support
Caring for yourselves and others
- We strongly recommend everyone follow the guidance on Public Health England and NHS 111.
- If you fall into the Government’s self-isolation categories, please self-isolate immediately and follow Public Health England and NHS 111 guidance.
- If you have symptoms here, please stay at home and do not take part in church activities or have physical contact with church family for the recommended self-isolation periods, or longer if advised by NHS 111.
The Staff Team will be working as normal, albeit from home. It’s business as usual behind the scenes! Pastoral work will continue, likely even more than ever and we continue optimistically planning for the rest of 2020.
Staying in touch and who to contact
It’s so important that we all take responsibility for loving and caring for each other in this season. Given the many “one another” verses in the Bible, your first port of call for support is…each other! After your immediate friendship networks within the church, your next port of call would be your Growth Group leaders (not in a group? Now would be a great time to sign up for one! Click here if you’re interested!).
Growth Group leaders will be keeping the staff team updated on your needs and situation. The final element in the ‘pastoral care chain’ is then the pastoral staff and the elders. That said, if you’re having to self-isolate, do please notify a staff member straight away.
If you’re not in a Growth Group
Please contact a staff members directly. We’d love to support and pray for you.
Will – Seniors
Dustin – Families and 40s/50s
James Campbell – 20s/30s
Alternatively get in touch by sending us a message here or call the office on 07718 834494
There are some great resources that have been produced recently to stay spiritually encouraged during this time. Here are some of our top picks:
- Video from John Piper here
Continuing gospel proclamation
Given stricter guidance on avoiding social contact, Sunday meetings will be suspended until at least 4 July when we will next reassess the situation.
A new Sunday message will be available from 10am every Sunday on the website here and in your inboxes, to keep you going with weekly teaching and encouragement.
We no longer recommend that Growth Groups meet in person. However, you can meet virtually! Your leaders will be in touch to share your particular groups plans.
– Do stay in touch with your group leaders and members as much as possible
– Let your group know if you are self-isolating (leaders will let the Staff Team know your group’s news regularly)
All other events in the church calendar will be suspended until April e.g Sunday Prayer Meeting. If you take part in a regular event e.g. Friendship Friday or Monday Football, please look out for updates on your Whatsapp chats.
Get involved in the Redeemer Care Network!
We can all help practically and spiritually:
We’re a church family all week long, so even though we’re not meeting on Sundays we can love and serve each other.
Ways to get involved practically (daytime, evenings or weekend):
- Doing a food shop to deliver on doorsteps;
- Cooking a meal or ordering a take-away for someone;
- Going on a pharmacy run or helping with an errand;
- Phone or video calling those who may be isolated;
- Do a Bible study with someone over the phone or skype;
- Join a whatsapp prayer triplet
If you have ideas for other things we can do, please get in touch here