TL;DR: Love Your Neighbour. Spiritually draw close, Social physically distance. BCEC Sunday Services are online only. Minimize group meetings unless necessary.
Last Updated 19 March 2020
This is the Pastoral Team’s proposal to deal with the rising epidemic of COVID-19. We understand that different members of the congregation will have different feelings and concerns about it, and we hope this document will help the congregation members to know the church’s plans now and going forward.
We care deeply about the brothers and sisters in the church, as well as the public health of the UK. Because of that we want to encourage brothers and sisters that even during this time, the church is bound together by the love of God, and the love that we still share with one another. Let us grow spiritually even during this difficult time.
Our Action Plan will be following the guidelines of the UK government, and will act according to the changes encouraged by the UK government.
We see this as an important way for us to love our neighbour by reducing infection and slowing the spread of the virus, so that the NHS will be able to better manage, and can help prevent the loss of life. As Covid-19 is likely to spread exponentially, we should do our best to play our part in reducing infection.
The BCEC has come up with a suggested Action Plan with regard to each phase – Contain, Delay, & Mitigate. The reasons for this plan is for us to help society reduce infection and relieve the strain on medical and emergency services, as well as to protect those who are more vulnerable in society. As Christian , this is our way of loving our neighbour. This is not, nor should it be, a response from fear.
The government has just moved into the Delay Phase. Because of that, we have entered into the BCEC Action Plan Delay Phase. I have removed the Contain Phase information as our current stage is in the Delay Phase.
The government has moved into the delay phase. If the government chooses to implement stronger measures, we encourage all brothers and sisters to follow the governments guidelines.
- Transition to Sunday Services fully online
- We will begin live-streaming the Sunday Service on BCEC Online, and on YouTube. The Sunday service will no longer meet at the church premises, but will be fully streamed online.
- We will develop additional content
- We will look into developing additional online content, for LifeGroups, personal growth, and fellowship. Sign up to BCEC Online to get word of what’s happening.
- Follow the UK Government’s Guidelines on Social Distancing
- As the UK Government has provided new guidelines on social distancing, avoiding meeting in groups, visiting friends and family, the BCEC also asks brothers and sisters to do likewise.
- Government guidance on Social Distancing
- Please begin to move your LifeGroups & Small Groups to Online tools as soon as possible. We will publish a list of helpful tools next week.
Groups larger than 10 are encouraged not to meet As we want to help the UK government slow transmission, we request that groups larger than 10 cease meeting, so as not to cause unnecessary transmission of the illness. If you have a fever, or any symptoms of COVID-19, please do not attend these groups.
- Continue to practice excellent personal hygiene
- This includes regularly washing hands for 20 seconds. To help time this you can say the Lord’s Prayer, or sing the chorus to 10,000 Reasons, or the whole song of Jesus in the Vessel.
- Use antibacterial gel as necessary.
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your own arm.
- If you have a cold, wearing a face mask may help prevent transmission. However, wearing a facemask may not protect you from airborne respiratory diseases.
Should the UK government decide that they are entering the mitigate phase of their action plan, the BCEC will follow the government guidelines. We have prepared a possible scenario should that happen.
- All groups are postponed
- Congregation members should self-isolate
- We believe this will be the governments suggestion, so that infection rate can subside. That means schools and workplaces will most likely be closed as well in this stage.
This is our general action plan for the church to take to help reduce COVID 19 infections across the country. We will adapt and roll out accordingly in accordance with the government and keep the church members updated.
We are also encouraging each individual congregation to create a separate action plan of how to continue to minister and fellowship regardless of physical gathering.
Some Pastoral Thoughts Regarding Covid-19
- As Christians we do not have to live in fear of what might harm the body, because we know that our eternity is secure in Christ. So I strongly urge brothers and sisters not to act out in fear, but instead act out in love. The challenge I give to one another is to ask : How can I love my neighbour with God’s love?
- The reason we take these measures is to love our neighbour by preventing the spread of infection. We are following the guidelines as laid out by the government, trusting in the medical advice and the public health officials.
- We should continue to use this opportunity to be aware of the needs of those in our congregation. In particular elderly or vulnerable adults who are more susceptible to the illness. Although the government will not allow you to visit them due to the infectious nature of it, we should be actively praying, and also trying to contact them through other means of technology so they can continue to be ministered too.
- When using this opportunity to share about God’s sovereignty, be eager to pray for them and for family members. But be careful not to promise healing in exchange for faith.
- Continue to pray for those who are afflicted, continue to encourage each other with words, messages, scripture, and even songs. Spend time regularly in God’s Word, and let your relationship with God grow deeper in this time as well.
- Physical social distancing is important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but drawing close spiritually is vital. keep one another in prayer.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”