COVID-19 Message from Gail 20-03-2020

Dear Friends,

We are living in challenging and worrying times, travelling a path that has not been taken before. The Government's announcement yesterday has taken us all into the next phase. In response to this, the Methodist Church nationally and the Sheffield Circuit have given us further guidance as to the appropriate response and measures we should now take and we here at TRM will be following these. They are as follows:

It is recommended that worship services are suspended for the time being along with all Church activities. (Starting now) The Sheffield Circuit have identified this period of time to be 12 weeks, which means we will need to think creatively about how we celebrate Easter. Although we will not be able to worship together in our building we will still celebrate the risen Christ!

The next few weeks and months will be a testing time for us all, and especially for those over 70 or who have underlying medical conditions. Social isolation will be a real problem. Pastoral support is very important, please consider how best we can do this using telephone, email or even an old fashioned letter! Only make a personal visit if the person you are seeing is happy for you to go and if you feel comfortable responding in this way .

There is also a S17-Covid-19 community support group being set up on Facebook and other local initiatives and I will keep in contact with these.

As a fellowship this is a time when we can think carefully about what it means to be Church, and how we can be Church differently. After sorting out initial arrangements I will strive to keep in contact with you all as best as I can by sending, via email, prayers and a thought for the week. If we have any information to share with one another we can also produce a weekly “news sheet”. The details of all this are not in place yet but watch this space! As we start to communicate more in this way please print off a paper copy for those whom you may know that are not on the internet and pop it through their door. If you could start with this letter also please.

As Christians we have a social responsibility to model best practice and we hold faith and society side by side. Do you remember my sermon of a few weeks ago? “Prayer and action” Nehemiah told the people “Pray to God and post a guard” (Nehemiah 4: 1-9). Now is the time to pray to God and follow the guidelines we have been given, taking social distancing seriously.

One day we will look back on this time and consider many things, but for now we hold one another in love. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus and we have been called to share that love with the world, and that is what we shall be doing in the coming weeks and months as more and more people in our community are in need.

I want to finish, for now, with a prayer which J John a Church of England Pastor has posted written by Cameron Bellm, it says it all:

May we who are inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who are able to work from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health or working for rent.

May we who have flexibility to care for our children when schools close, remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips, remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market, remember those who have no margin

May we who settle in for our quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose to love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour

Amen

I continue to hold you all in my prayers and will support and guide you through these unchartered waters.

Shalom

Gail