We appreciate that at the moment, our decision to cancel our activities goes beyond government guidance. This is why we took that decision:
When it comes to our response to COVID-19, it is easy to respond with either fear, or indifference.
For many, especially those of us who are younger, healthier and less ‘at risk’ of the worst effects of the Coronavirus, indifference is more common. “After all”, we say to ourselves, “I probably won’t get it, and if I do, it probably won’t affect me that badly.” So you get the kind of situation in Portugal for example where, the day after the schools closed and people were asked to action social distancing measures, the beaches were packed with people enjoying an early Easter holiday!
But it is also possible to be driven by fear. This is more likely if you are vulnerable in some way, although it is by no means limited to this group. Many people are anxious about how bad the situation might become.
As Christians, we do not want to be driven by fear, or indifference. Christians should never be motivated by fear, since we serve the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. We are not suspending our activities because we ourselves, as Christians, are afraid to get ill or even afraid to die. For us, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Rather, we are cancelling activities because we believe it is imperative for us to be a part of our society’s response to this virus that, at best, will be serious for the most vulnerable, and, at worst, could put even more people at risk by creating a severe and sudden spike in demand on our already overstretched NHS.
With that in mind, we want to make sure that we do not, in any way, become a place of ‘spreading’. While we are not afraid of getting it ourselves, we are afraid of distributing it to others, especially those who are most vulnerable. This has been a very difficult decision to make, but we hope it is what best allows us to love our neighbour as ourselves.
We will continue to publish our sermons on our website for you to listen to at home.
We do not wish to totally isolate people before we have to. We will continue to pray for our government’s response, and for the health and protection of our community.