Grosvenor Covid-19 Update
Friday 3rd July 2020
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:
1. When we have permission from the government
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.
2. When we can gather safely
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.
3. When we can offer a spiritually uplifting experience
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.
Tuesday 7th April 2020
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,
Tuesday 17 March 2020
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.