Public Worship from Sunday 20th August.
The UK government is changing the rules for people meeting in homes from Tuesday 15th September. The changes do not effect the way we meet in church. With increased local rates of infection, there is an increased need to act wisely.
Please take a few minutes to read this page to help us all be prepared to meet with as much love, harmony and safety as possible.
When in church, please: Go straight to the seat you are shown and stay seated, sit quietly. (perhaps listen to the music, pray or read your bible). Please don’t move around or speak loudly.
[Update from 20th Sept] After the service we can gather in the church yard in groups of six, but not mingle between groups.
A different way of gathering on the Lord’s day
On Sunday 4th August at Holy Trinity Church we met for public worship for the first time since lock down began. We planned to meet inside, but God had another, better plan for us. We met outside in the church yard. This because of a local increase in Covid19 cases in Sandwell.
From 16th August, we’ve been meeting inside. Sandwell Council has limited the number of people meeting indoors at Places of Worship to 30 at this time.
We hope you can join us. There will be activity packs for younger people and service sheets to help us all praise the Lord and hear his word.
Masks are compulsory, under the law, except for the the service leader and the following groups of people:
• children under the age of 11
• not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
• if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
• if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
• to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
The pattern of our meetings will be different, but God and his ways do not change.
We are called to remember to share a day of rest and keep it holy, which means set apart for God, and to meet for each other’s good. We can still do that, in different ways, physically in the building, electronically through the internet and spiritually by prayer in the Holy Spirit.
What if you can’t come?
If you can’t come to public worship we’ll be recording the service, editing and uploading it to our Church YouTube Channel as soon as possible, hopefully by mid-afternoon.
There will also be a copy of the service sheet on the website, which will be available after the service and before the YouTube video so you can print a copy if you have the means.
If you or anyone you know would like a service sheet or DVD delivered, please let us know.
We hope you can come and this is what to expect:
We will gather from 10:30am and aim to start around 11am.
[Update 20/9/2020] Groups of up to six can meet to chat, socially distanced, outside in the church yard, before the service.
You’ll be asked to use hand sanitiser as you enter the church and will be handed a service sheet and activity pack for younger people.
You’ll be asked to register your name and phone number, which will be kept safe for 21 days, in case we need to contact you if someone tests positive.
There will be no singing or communion, so the service will be short.
At the end of the service, we will exit through the north door with people nearest the door leaving first.
There will be a bowl on the communion rail or on the table with hand sanitiser if you want to give towards the cost of the church and ministry a you leave.
If you would rather give electronically, we have set up a donation page.
Toilets are open in the hall. There is a sanitiser station on the way in and out. Only one person can use the toilets at a time.
You might want to bring a flask of coffee or tea or a cold drink and your own snacks.
God promises to be with his people by the Holy Spirit when they meet in his name. We can turn to God together and he will meet all our needs in Christ Jesus.
I hope to see you Sunday.
Be aware of differences in our attitudes to meeting people
There will be some who are very keen to see others and be back in our buildings, there will be others who have not been out of the house for three months and are anxious about meeting others.
We’ve been studying Philippians in our small groups and need to remember “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” This requires love, grace, an awareness of others needs, and a determination to put those needs of others before our own.
Please be aware of the needs of others and do what is best for them.
Be aware of differences in our attitudes to forms of worship
The Bishop stated that services will feel different. There is unlikely to be any singing praise to God and communion will be very different. For some people, this will mean a welcome change and to others a sense of loss.
We must think of the needs of others when things are different.
In Philippians we are called to, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure.”
Let’s take the opportunity to show grace to each other, listening and caring, without grumbling or arguing.
And it’s important to remember what happened after Jesus rose from the dead.
His disciples asked him “Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” Jesus replied “You will be my witnesses from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the ends of the earth.”
Just like the disciples, we might want to restore church life as it was, and find comfort in the traditions of the past, but Jesus gives us comfort in our relationship with him and calls us to be his witnesses. Part of how we will be his witnesses will be in how we love one another.
This situation is an opportunity for us to show humility, think of the needs of others, pull together towards Christ as one people without grumbling or arguing.
I together with our elected wardens, Joanne and Sonia, have the responsibility of ensuring the buildings are safe and comfortable for whatever we do in the buildings. We will need to be satisfied that all relevant measures have been met before we open the buildings.
So, we continue to need your prayers and support as we negotiate all these changing requirements, consult on proposals and communicate any decisions.
Please be ready to play your part to be asked to serve, if you are able.
We have been in exile for over 100 days.
Our return from exile will take hard work, harmony and hope, as the people of God had in the days of Nehemiah when they returned to Jerusalem after 70 years in exile.
Whether you are eager to press on or anxious about the future; whether you long for the way things were in the past or are pleased to have a chance to change:
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”
We have the opportunity to shine like stars as we hold firmly to the word of life.
Pastoral Counselling and Prayer
If you need pastoral counselling and prayer, please call or text Neil, our vicar, 07810 544265. A member of staff will be in touch to make arrangements with you for a phone call or Zoom meeting.
Weddings and Funerals
UPDATE (1/07/2020) The UK Government has given permission for funerals to take place in churches from 15th June. There is a limit of 30 people in attendance. We are putting the necessary regulations in place to allow funerals to take place.
If you have been bereaved, please contact Neil on 07810 544265 or ask your funeral director to contact him.
Small weddings with up to 30 people in attendance are now permitted from Saturday 4th July.
Baptisms are not currently permitted because of the use of water.
You or your neighbours may have practical needs like shopping, collecting medication or even just having someone to speak to on the phone. We would like to link people together through church so that everyone is cared for and are working on a way we can do that.
There may be things God calls us to do which we can’t yet see. If you have a need, please make contact. We can’t promise to be able to do everything, but we can pray and do what we can together as a church as we follow the commands of Jesus to love each other as he loved us.