This page was updated on 26-06-2020
Last week saw the Prime Minister announce the return to public worship services from 4th July 2020. Well, sort of...
Having read the guidance, it is clear that this return to public worship is not a return to public worship as we would have known it prior to March 2020.
The guidance would limit numbers, prohibit singing (classified as a risky activity), hugging, handshaking, raised voices. We would need to maintain a social distance regime and deep clean following every meeting and enhanced hygiene procedures during the meeting.
There are other aspects of guidance that will prove challenging for us; for example, in the overall guidance announcing the changes from 4 July, people are advised not to interact socially with anyone outside the group with which they are attending any given place. This makes the whole idea of joining together in a corporate act of worship in person a challenging subject.
There will be much for us to consider over the next weeks: How we may meet physically to worship (in a different way), sanitation, social distancing, pastoral care, keeping our online ministry effective, and of course, how to turn this time into an effective harvest for the Kingdom! Please pray for us as we consider our plans.
What this means
For the time being:
- We will not be returning to regular physical Sunday Meetings.
- We will continue to Worship Online
- We will explore ways we may choose to meet physically and what this may look like.
- We will not return to physical mid-week groups - this is still prohibited.
- We will continue to meet via zoom.
I would love to be wrong but I suspect this will be the case until at least the autumn, if not the end of the year.
We will keep watching the guidance, both the high-level announcements and the detail that follows, that is often not quite the same. As things change we will, consider and react appropriately.
This is a time to be both bold in our faith and actions and responsible.
We never closed
While it is easy to look forward to meeting together and I look forward to this as much as anyone, it is important to remember we never closed. While the building was not available to us:
- We worshipped online with our services on Youtube and Facebook. I know may of you have and many more people that would not already have attended a physical church have engaged with the online services.
- We have met together on Zoom for Sunday night prayer, being joined by other Christians from the area.
- We have met together on Zoom for our mid-week groups, continuing our exploration of discipleship.
- We have engaged with local, regional and national events online both receiving great input and publishing video content for Lincoln City Churches group, Hope Together, Groundlevel and others as well as taking part in live meetings with a range of groups.
- Our social outreach Assist has continued to provide support for the most vulnerable in the area, increasing its provision through partnership with others during this time. We do not see this need abating any time soon.
- We have engaged with the children of the village through TST Online and the Video content 'Freya Speaks'
- We have kept in touch with each other as best we can.
We have not closed, we have adapted and God has provided great opportunities to work with others and to reach people who would not consider stepping inside 'the church'.
Update of 23-03-2020
Following the Prime Ministers press conference on Monday 23rd March 2020, physical distancing has been mandated with the instruction to stay at for other than for the most essential, limited reasons. Other than food shops and essential services, all shops and premises have been ordered to close this includes the suspension of all gatherings and ceremonies other than funerals and the closure of all leisure facilities including libraries.
This means all Vine groups, services, social activities and gatherings and most community outreach activities are being suspended until further notice.
Information on streamed service and virtual mid week meetings has been circulated. If you wish to find out more please see the coronavirus information on the home page and contact us.
We are one church, we are a family. We are all positioned to provide support, connection, reassurance and prayer for each other.
If you are unwell in any way, please do let us know so we can pray for you. We may not always be able to visit in person at this time, but we will be in touch by phone to chat, pray and help you trust and draw on God.
What does this mean in practice
These things will not run until further notice:
- Physical Sunday Services
- Souled Out
- Coffee Connect
- Physical home groups
- Physical Monthly Prayer Nights
- Assist Dementia groups.
- Home (connect) groups.
- Third Thursday Book Club
- Library Service
These things will continue to run:
- Assist One-to-one Support
Our absolute priority remains to be the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone within the Vine and those we serve.
Assist one-to-one support.
The service will continue to operate but will primarily operate through non-contact or extremely limited contact operating procedures with Volunteers being encouraged to telephone clients. Volunteers will not enter clients homes as standard practice.
We continue to closely monitoring the official government guidance as well as current best practice and will alter our approach further as this changes.
Current Action being taken by by The Vine
- Send instructions to all staff members and volunteers on good personal hygiene practices
- Instruct all home visitors to check the person they are visiting is not self isolating before visiting and not to enter the property
- Ask everyone who exhibits any cold or flu like symptoms or Coronavirus specific symptoms to follow the current advice.
- Regularly update our decision on services, meetings and operational activities as guidance is received.
- Regularly update our advice to you, the latest of which will always be available at http://bit.ly/vinecoronavirus
Taking care of ourselves
We encourage you to use the official government website(s) as the official source of advice and information.
Further help on self isolation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
Again we would also request that you inform us of this so that we can support you both in prayer and if necessary in other ways this is of course at your discretion if you wish to inform us or not.
We will continue to update our approach as the situation changes via our website : http://bit.ly/vinecoronavirus
The Vine's wider response
We will continue to pray for every individual affected in any way by this virus and are thankful for the Church who is able to rise up in these situations to bring hope, peace and care in times of fear. We are called to love our neighbours including the least in our society and we will look how we can do this in a sensible and practical way.
The Church is in some ways uniquely positioned to be of service at this time.
We have met today with leaders of the Other churches in the village, the Parish Council and key individuals who are instrumental in community actives within the villages to structure a support mechanism during this time. Elements of this will operate under the Assist framework. The role of this will be predominantly co-ordination, communication and some physical assistance.
If you have Facebook I would encourage you to view the post on the Vine's Facebook page or the Community page for the villages.
The aim of the group is to provide a safety net for those self isolating who can not rely on friends, neighbours or family.
To facilitate this there is facebook group to help with co-ordination and communication.
The first activity is a leaflet drop if you are able to volunteer for this or more please contact us.