Dear church family,
You might have guessed it was coming, but here it is, an official announcement:
As of today, we're suspending all face to face gatherings organised by AEC for the next 4 weeks.
It's important that we act as good citizens at this time. So while many will feel frustrated at the news, the government has advised that all public gatherings (faith groups included) should cease for the time being. This includes our Sunday services, all the events held in our church building and Rooted groups. Foodbank is the only exception, but there will be extra measures in place there.
It's something of a cliche to say that church isn't a meeting or a building but a people. Well, now we have the chance to prove the cliche true! Let’s pray and consider how this time of uncertainty and social distancing will even serve as an opportunity for us to grow in love, commitment and care for one another. Helping us to be more 'church' to one another than we have ever been before.
Practically speaking I (Sammy) intend to make the most of using Facebook, Youtube and Instagram as much as possible to continue to build you up, encourage you in the faith and generally help AEC to know Jesus more and make Jesus more known. If you don't already subscribe/follow then now would be a good time to jump on board! Once a few tech issues have been sorted I'll send out a planned timetable.
It would also be helpful to share this message with as many folks as possible - not everyone is on Facebook, even fewer are on our email database - so please, please, please do let people know even if you suspect they may have already found out.
Finally, this is a unique opportunity for us as Christians to spread hope and peace rather than anxiety and fear. Let’s make sure Jesus’ name is on our lips frequently.
Continue to respect boundaries and implement the recommended hygiene practices. Be especially mindful of those in 'at-risk’ groups. Phone each other daily. If you can offer practical help to neighbours with shopping or fetching medicines, then do it with cheerful generosity. Above all else, don't panic, be at peace. The reality is that many in our community will experience grief and pain over the next months but we, as Christ's brothers and sisters, do not have hope for this life alone.
"Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." - 1 Corinthians 15:20
Pray, read your Bibles and love one another.