'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.' Phil 4:4
In these uncertain times, the mission of the church remains unchanged and we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated with all the new ways in which we are continuing to be the church together.
Statement from the Prime Minister - Wednesday 9 September
The Prime Minister gave a Press Conference on 9 September with revised guidance including the 'rule of 6'.
From Monday 14 September we must not meet socially in groups of more than 6 - in any setting, indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub.
This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing 2 households to meet indoors. Now we only need to remember the rule of 6.
COVID-secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than 6 people in total. Within those venues however, there must not be individual groups larger than 6, and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.
We will need to work through exactly what the implications of this latest update are but, both as a church and responsible individuals, we all need to be playing our part to avoid the possibility of a 2nd spike.
You can read the full transcript of the Prime Minister's statement here: Prime Minister's Statement
- Although we are still not currently meeting together on Sundays, services are available online. You can catch up with our latest service here: Sunday Services Online
- Whilst safety for all remains our absolute priority, and mindful of the very likely possibility of further changes to Government Guidance, we are in conversation with the school in which we meet about when we might be able to resume some kind of Sunday gathering.
- As government guidance now permits churches to gather, we are continuing to keep the situation under review. As things stand the restrictions that would need to be in place in order for us to meet together would be fairly onerous:
- Large scale services can only be held in places previously used for worship and grounds – not in public spaces
- We are reliant on the venue managers at Ark, Putney, Academy for permission to use the facilities, for the capacity to be set and the processes to ensure safe distancing
- Attendance must be recorded for purposes of Test and Trace and so attendees may need to pre-book
- The number of people permitted to enter the place of worship at any one time must be limited according to the risk assessed capacity, so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres, or 1 meter with risk mitigation (where 2 meters is not viable) between households. (This may involve wearing masks.)
- Car parking and entry systems have to be carefully managed, which may involve queuing and would possibly require one way systems for entry and exit
- On entering and leaving, everyone, including staff, would be required to wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or to use hand sanitiser if hand washing facilities are not available
- Access to toilets would have to be carefully managed
- Services would need to be as short as possible and people required to leave as soon as they are over
- People would have to be seated, not standing and people would be required to sit in household groups
- Objects could not be shared, such as bibles, Lord's Supper, offering baskets
- No refreshments could be provided, including doughnuts
- The congregation would not be permitted to sing and there must be no or loud music that encourages people to shout and people should not be encouraged to call out or make responses
- Live music is being discouraged and, where possible, the preference would be to use recorded music. Where essential to an act of worship, one individual only should be permitted to sing, and the use of plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers from them, as this will further prevent transmission and the screen can be easily cleaned
- Time spent in contact should be kept to an absolute minimum - so no hands on ministry
- Young children have to stay with their parents and toys and play areas cannot be used
- Vulnerable people and people over the age of 70 should not be attending
- Cleaning the venue and equipment will have to be carefully done
- Masks should be worn by everyone, unless they have specific reasons for not doing so
- COVID Secure venues like places of worship, can still hold more than 6 people in total. Within those venues however, there must not be individual groups larger than 6, and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups
- As we don’t have our own building, we are in conversation with the school about when services might potentially resume, but realistically think it unlikely that will be before November at the earliest.
- This will be dependent on a number of factors including: the response we get from the school, the impact of the virus over the coming weeks and any changes to Government Guidance.
- Whilst we are longing to all meet together as soon as we can, we want to ensure that when we do, we do so safely & responsibly so that every member of the church - from the youngest to the oldest – feels safe and properly cared for. In the meantime, we would ask you to pray for us all as we navigate these unfamiliar waters and we will keep you updated as and when the situation changes.
Sunday Services on Zoom
As we start the autumn term, we would like to try something new by running Sunday services on Zoom.
Rather than a link to a pre-recorded service going live at 11am, there will be a link to a Zoom call, where we can all join in together and 'be church' together online!
We have no idea how (or if) it will work, but the dynamic of having us all in the same (virtual) space, worshipping together, listening to the same talk, joining breakout rooms for a catch up and for ministry, feels an important development at this stage.
We'll keep you posted with developments once we've worked out the technical side of things but are planning for our first Zoom Sunday Service to be held on Sunday 20 September. Details will be available on the website.
Again, for those unable to join us on Zoom at 11am, we will continue to offer a pre-recorded on-line service with similar content from the website.
- A wide range of small groups are up and running and are a really important way of keeping connected. You can find out details of the small groups available here: Keeping Connected in Small Groups
Reaching out to those in need
- In times of crisis our priority is always to the most vulnerable and so we are looking at ways we can safely continue running as many of our compassion ministries as possible. Foodbank is still being run on both a Wednesday & Sunday from the Yard and you can find out more here: Foodbank
- We are working closely with local authorities to co-ordinate the most effective response to support those most in need and have developed a team of volunteers to offer that support. If you'd like to volunteer please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you: Volunteer Support
- For those in need of support, of any kind, please do get in touch and we'll do all we can to help. Our Duty Pastors will be available both in & out of office hours and you can get in touch by phone: 020 8785 9530 or email us: Support Line
VKids & Youth
- With many year groups still not at school and our young people facing challenges of all kinds our team are working hard to provide resources and support for all ages 0-18.
- VKids and VParenting have their own dedicated pages, please click on the names to see some of the resources we have been working on.
- Youth meet every Sunday from 12pm online. For more details of what we're doing to support those in Years 7-13 please contact Charlie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Join us online for Daily Pray Together from 9:20am-10am. Daily Pray Together
We will start with 10 minutes of worship before we pray from 9:30am Join us as we pray:
- for our leaders & the government as they make important decisions
- for the medical and healthcare teams
- for the scientists researching solutions
- for local authorities serving our communities
- for the isolated and the vulnerable
- for all those working in schools & educational institutions
This pandemic has impacted us all in ways no-one could have imagined and although the church may have to function differently for a time, the mission of the church remains unchanged.
The way this will all look may differ to how it had before, but we will continue to care for the vulnerable, share the message of Jesus and be a light on a hill in this ever-changing situation.
With our love
Neil & Kate
'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' Phil 4:6-7
With coronavirus still dominating headlines around the world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and afraid. Pete Greig of 24-7 Prayer has penned a short prayer of deliverance as we look to refocus on God
Join us as we pray for wisdom for all as they all face the reality of the current situation.
- for the medical and healthcare teams involved in caring for the sick;
- the scientists researching solutions;
- government officials making important decisions;
- local authorities serving our communities;
- the isolated and the vulnerable;
- all those working in schools & educational institutions
Join us online for Daily Pray Together from 9:20am-10am. Daily Pray Together
'Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.' Matthew 6:10
In light of Government Guidance there are things we can all be doing.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means we must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if we can
- limit contact with other people
- keep our distance from people not in our household (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash our hands regularly
From 4 July:
- you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
- when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
- additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
- other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
- stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household
- It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law
You should not:
- gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub
- gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
- interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
- hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
- stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)
'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.' Phil 4:8
Find more resources here:
One of our wonderful JobClub coaches has branched out during lockdown to make & supply a range of face masks with 25% of the proceeds of each sale going to the Wandsworth Foodbank. You can find out more details here: