This has been one of the most surreal weeks I’ve ever lived through, with Government announcements and pronouncements on a daily basis. If we thought Brexit was bad, the current situation is much worse.

As a result of the announcements about social distancing and the need for social isolation, we have reluctantly and with great sadness decided to suspend meetings at our church building on Market Street from this weekend. There will be no Parent & Toddler group on Friday (20th March) and no Sunday services from 22nd March, nor will we have midweek meetings from 26th March. The last meeting in the building for the forseeable future will be tomorrow, 19th March, for the Bible study.

The fact that we can’t gather together is a difficult blow to us, since the importance of meeting together is stressed in the Bible (Heb 10:25) and forms a central part of our Christian lives. However, we don’t cease to be church because we currently can’t meet together. The previous verses tell us, ‘Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.’ (Heb 10:23-24) We need to continue to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for God is faithful. And we need to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, even if we can’t do that face to face.

We’re investigating ways to keep in touch with you all through livestreaming services on Facebook to regular blog posts (something we do already) and if you have any suggestions for how we can all spur each other on, please let us know! All of us can be involved in messaging and phoning people to check how they are doing. If people need help with practical issues such as collecting prescriptions or getting shopping, please let us know and we will do our best to help. We can all pray for each other, even if we don’t see each other – please check out our Facebook GPCC Prayer Group as well as our Facebook page so that we can share prayer needs and continue to support each other spiritually at this time. One thing we’re hoping to set up is a church WhatsApp group so we can talk to each other easily.

Over many months we’ve been talking about the need for deep vertical and horizontal connections and for us to be deeply rooted in God, accessing His living water to keep our lives fruitful and overflowing. Even though we can’t be physically together, we can be nourished and nurtured by God and can develop our horizontal connections with each other as we live out our faith in the everyday. Social isolation is not good for the soul, but we don’t have to be people who panic, are fearful or who despair, for we serve the Maker of heaven and earth. The times may be a’changing, but God never changes.