Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Wednesday, the government has issued some new guidelines that affect churches. There are some unclear areas, but as elders, we feel at Grosvenor we should do our best to implement these new guidelines. Hopefully, there will be further clarifications from the government, so we may need to change our practice before the following Sunday.
Organised children’s activities are exempt from the requirement of wearing face coverings. This means that face coverings will not be required for Toddler’s groups, Sunday School, Youth Groups or Youth Bible studies held inside church buildings.
However, other adult meetings are not exempt. Face coverings will need to be worn for prayer meetings, bible studies and other small groups held inside church premises.
This weekend (10th to 12th December) we would ask everyone coming to meetings at Grosvenor Barnstaple to wear face masks all the time they are in the building. We will no longer have a separate seating area for mask wearers, but a small area for those not wearing masks. Masks may be removed when taking communion or having refreshments, but please keep them on while singing, and at other times. Those on the platform do not need to wear masks while on the platform.
We also intend to introduce an extra coffee serving point so that there can be more space between people when mixing in the Richmond Lounge.
We are sad we have to return to stricter measures, we are doing this in obedience to the government God has placed over us, and to minimise the risk of COVID spreading in our meetings. It is also advised that you take a Lateral Flow test on Saturday, or before you come on Sunday, and please do not come to church if the test is positive or if you are experiencing COVID symptoms.
Above all let’s keep praying for healing for those in our church family who have COVID, and for a swift and complete ending to this pandemic across the world.
Psalm 62:2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
With Love from The Elders.
We are really excited to introduce a new structure to our services in October.
The service will be called ‘CELEBRATION’. It is a time to celebrate what God has been doing. Celebration is based on Acts 2:42. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (NIV).
It will be starting with prayer. The Elders would like to invite you to join them from 8:45 to 9:15 am in the Main Hall for prayer.
It is just one service but split in two parts:
. 9:30 to 10:00 – Communion (the breaking of bread);
. 10:00 to 10:30 – Coffee break (fellowship);
. 10:30 to 11:30 – Worship, preaching (Apostles teaching) and prayer ministry;
. 11:30 – coffee and tea.
The new celebration format will start on 3rd October 2021 as an experiment until Christmas, when it will be revised.
Our hearts are full of expectations on what God will be doing amongst us.
Thank you very much for your prayers and support.
Ramon Bruzzichessi on behalf of the Barnstaple Elders
What an unexpected time the last 15 months or so has been. Now with restrictions reducing we are really excited about what God has in store for us as His people and His church. Here are some of the plans for summer 2021.
Online services will continue each Sunday at 10.00am on Facebook and YouTube. There will be no children’s talks in the online services.
In person services at 10.00am in the church building will take place every Sunday. Please book your places in advance. (They are free!)
The same speaker and sermon will be in the building as well as online.
There will be a families and children activity each Sunday starting on 27th June when Paula will meet families with children in Rock Park at 11.00am for an hour of getting to know each other activities followed by an optional stay on for a bring your own picnic. Times and places for the families & children activities will vary each week – keep your eyes open for details.
The theme for July will be Stepping into a Different World. We will be looking at 4 passages from the book of Acts to see what we can learn from the early Christians about how they dealt with changing and unexpected situations.
Many of us will hope to have a holiday of some kind this month, and many people from other parts of the country will be coming to North Devon for their holidays.
August will be an outreach month with the theme The Best News Ever.
Online services will stop. Instead we will experiment with recording the in-person services and posting them on YouTube at a later time. (Please note they will not be on Facebook.)
Sunday services will take place every Sunday at 10.00am in our building, with refreshments served from 9.30am and after the service. No advance booking necessary.
As is our usual practice in August there will be no organised children’s activities on Sundays to give our wonderful children’s workers a break. Instead there will be activity sheets available for children each week, and the option for parents to take their children out during the service to Noah’s Ark or the Upper Lounge where parents can supervise their children playing and watch the service on the TV monitors.
Each Sunday talk will be evangelistic and suitable to invite friends, family, neighbours, people you meet in the street to come to. We hope to also have some outreach activities on weekdays in August.
In Barnstaple, the Sundays in September will include the restart of children’s work, and the elders sharing what we believe God is saying to us for the vision and direction of Grosvenor Barnstaple.
We are pleased to announce the return of Barnstaple in-person services after Easter .
Sunday April 11th – 10am Speaker: Graham Poland
Sunday April 18th – 10am Messy Church Family Service with Paula Clarke
Sunday April 25th – 10am Speaker: Nick Brown
All services in our COVID-safe Main Hall at Old Station Road EX32 8PB.
Wider social contact rules will apply to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
Bookings available online or email us.
For our Families service, the room will be laid out with tables and each family bubble will sit at a table, masked and socially distanced from other families in accordance with wider social contact rules. The service will last about ¾ hour, aimed at up to 11yr olds and will be very child friendly. All families are welcome, so if you are grandparents, please feel free to bring your grandchildren.
Our online Service will still be running during April with a series ‘Why Church?’ looking to answer our questions from the book of Ephesians:
The government announced a 4 step plan to ease lockdown this Spring.
Step 1 – 8 and 29 March
Step 2 – not before 12 April
Step 3 – not before 17 May
Step 4 – not before 21 June
In Step 1, our priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from 8 March…People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.
From 29 March, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside. The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.
Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.
As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances. This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this. Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.
The government announces a national lockdown to be reviewed in the week commencing 15th February 2021
The government announces Devon moves up into Tier 3 – Very High Alert
The PM has set out in a statement what the rules will be over this difficult Christmas.
Devon remains in Tier 2 – High Alert.
The government announced its Winter Plan.
England will return to a tiered system of restrictions: Medium, High and Very High, with different areas of the country falling in different tiers. The tiers for each area will be reviewed on December 16th.
Devon has been allocated at Tier 2 – High Alert.
The government announced on Sunday 1st Nov:
COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and in other countries. We must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following action:
Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
Closing certain businesses and venues.
This means the government has closed Grosvenor Barnstaple’s building unless it is being used for:
To broadcast acts of worship
Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
Other exempted activities such as some support groups
The Govt Guidance states about broadcasting:
Attending a place of worship for broadcasting or filming an act of worship is permitted but should only involve those people working or volunteering who are essential for the content of the service, and for technical support to enable people to watch and worship online or via a television or radio.
If musicians or singers usually form part of the act of worship that is being broadcast, they may participate but only if they are essential to the delivery of that act of worship. The numbers or people involved should be kept as small as possible to minimise risks and participants should follow social distancing guidance.
Barnstaple In-Person Services:
We are trialling services in the building. Our first Live service was on September 13th at 10am in the Main Hall at Old Station Road EX32 8PB. This was an experimental meeting and went well!
For our Families service, the room will be laid out with tables and each family will sit at a table, masked and socially distanced from other families in accordance with the rule of six. The service will last about ¾ hour, aimed at up to 11yr olds and will be very child friendly. All families are welcome, so if you are grandparents, please feel free to bring your grandchildren.
Our online Service will still be running.
The big question is: When will Grosvenor Barnstaple open its building again?
As we make plans for the future, we took your advice in a survey that gave us a snapshot to help us prepare. Whilst there has been no alternative for us, we’ve seen friends and family watch our services. Some of them who never came in person, are now regular online attenders! So it seems that whatever happens after the 4th July, the online services could continue alongside regular services.
Roughly 40% of those responding are in favour of returning (coloured red and blue in the pie chart) and the other 60% are unsure or won’t be returning soon.
Similarly, about 50% are willing to attend and not sing (coloured blue in the pie chart), but the other half are unsure or not willing to attend if there is no singing. Just under 60% are prepared to attend with all children staying with their families (coloured blue)
Roughly half of us feel tired in lockdown (5-10) and 40% of us may not have people in our life we can 100% count on.
So what might be our carefully thought through re-gathering approach? The criteria for opening our building for services could have three conditions:
Our intention is to honour the government, whilst organisations we are members of, like the Evangelical Alliance, continue to lobby on our behalf for changes in the guidelines. You can read them in full here. They are pressing the government for greater clarity on guidance for children’s ministry and on the use of outside areas for public worship.
Each family’s safety and the safety of the people we’re trying to reach is our top priority. So even when we are allowed, we need to be able to do so in a way that keeps people safe. We are going to need a measured approach to ensure we do this safely. Public Health England is researching singing and guidance will be kept under review in the light of their results.
It’s important to keep in mind that when we are given permission to fully open, guidelines may make it difficult to offer a spiritually uplifting service experience. The government is urging churches that open this weekend to record the names and phone numbers of all those attending a church meeting and keep them temporarily for 21 days to assist the NHS track and trace service. Most denominations are not rushing to start meeting this weekend. A recent rough poll suggested only 30% of evangelicals will meet in July. Others are delaying meeting until later in the year, with many aiming for a September opening.
Until we feel we can offer an uplifting Grosvenor service in our buildings, online will be a better experience for all of us as we invite people to our services and keep families on board.
The interim step we’re taking is exploring recording our worship band from the building.
Despite our differences about returning to Sunday Services, we want to remind everyone to be kind to each other and stay on mission together. To connect daily and weekly with believers. To keep inviting our community to hear that there is hope because Jesus is King.
The church elders met Tuesday 7th April to respond to the latest Government announcements and guidelines and we have prayerfully decided on the following action points:
We have consulted with our office staff in view of the church building being closed by the government until further notice and they have graciously agreed that we avail ourselves of the government scheme to furlough them on a temporary basis. So from Monday, 13th April, Susie Guyler, Susie Brown and Simon Wallis will be on furlough on full pay with the government reimbursing the church for 80% of their salary. The elders’ view is that the remaining staff are needed to support the ongoing ministry, especially in the pastoral care of the congregations and maintaining our online presence and so the church will need to continue to finance 100% of those salaries.
We are aware that for many people the present crisis poses many questions about their personal finances and job security. As a church, we will be affected by this as well and together we look to the Lord who has promised to provide all that we need while looking for ways in which we can cut expenditure. With the closedown of all our public services we project that our monthly income through Sunday offerings will be down by about £5k and, additionally, some people will be unable to sustain their standing orders. This could have a serious impact on the ongoing ministry of our three congregations and we ask you to pray for God’s ongoing provision, not only for staff salaries but also so that we can give through our crisis funds to those in need.
We have created a facility through our website whereby people can give online using credit or debit card and we will include an online offering as part of our Sunday service. If you would like to give but are unable to use this facility, please contact one of the elders or David Clapp our treasurer and we will provide a different way for you.
Thank you for your continuing support and prayer and together we trust the Lord for each day and have total confidence that he will provide all that we need.
Please keep returning to this page for essential updates.
With our love,
The church elders met this morning the 17th March to respond to the latest Government guidelines to “avoid gatherings” and we have prayerfully decided on the following action points:
We will have no public service this Sunday 22nd March at the Plough, Bideford College or Old Station Road. Instead, each site will provide an online message available via the internet (details will be sent out on Friday).
FAMILY GROUPS AND CHURCH EVENTS
We recommend that Family groups cease meeting face to face. We will consult with Family group leaders as to how each group can support each other.
All church events and activities in all three congregations will cease forthwith until Monday 13 April, when it will be reviewed. This will include the hiring of the Old Station Road building.
WATCHING OUT FOR OTHERS
We are actively exploring ways in which we can support the church and the public pastorally and will send out details as soon as we can put these measures in place. In the meantime please look out for those who are connected to you, being especially mindful of the elderly and vulnerable.
The current situation is unprecedented for all of us and we need each other more than ever. So let us continue to trust God, support one another in prayer and, where possible, practically. Let us also look for ways of being salt and light in our community and seize this unique opportunity to bring hope to a worried world.