GCC Online during the coronavirus (COVID-19) closure
Information and resources for during the Coronavirus outbreak
Good Morning Everyone! Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!
We hope you have had a great week and are able to enjoy the long weekend.
As many of our children and teachers / support staff return to school this week, let’s be praying for God’s blessing on them all – that new arrangements would work well, that healthy rhythms would be established and that they would all see the opportunities God presents them with to share His life and love in their wonderful scattered places!
Below is a collection of materials for you to use to help facilitate your time with God this weekend. We look forward to gathering together online again next Sunday, 6th September at 10:00!
Included in this week’s playlist is a brief Welcome and Encouragement from the Mooneys, three Song Suggestions to inspire our praise and worship of our Awesome God, and Ruth Valerio sharing on the theme “Love Always Hopes”.
Some of the Key Points include:
As you watch the video, consider what God is speaking to you about using these Simple Questions. How about sharing your reflections with others, perhaps in your Mini Group?
Please do continue to share any Testimonies and Prayers through the various WhatsApp groups and on the GCC Pray Wall (password gccpray), and join with encouraging and praying for others today.
Don’t forget our two whole church “organised” gatherings happening this week:
– Wednesday 2nd September @ 8pm – Pray!
– Sunday 6th September @ 10am – GCC Gathering Online – Lord’s Prayer 4
Both on our normal zoom link. Email email@example.com for details.
We’re continuing to build playlists of resources that we’ve used over the last few weeks so that you can go back and make use of them again at any time:
Thank you to everyone for your continued giving, it enables us to love, serve and bring about transformation locally and further afield together! If you would like to give your Offering to the work of GCC, please use the following bank details:
Sort Code: 40 52 40
Account Number: 00009435
Dear GCC Family,
Following on from our earlier email setting out plans for the next month or so, we wanted to further encourage everyone to be looking and reaching out at this uncertain time. We need to recognise that there are more opportunities and needs than we can meet (individually or collectively) – but let’s nonetheless look to be used by God, joining Him in His Mission.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)
A few thoughts to help us, of course applying Government guidance at all times:
Individual / Organic
Being a church within a city, we each have individual “frontlines”; our scattered situations with neighbours, colleagues, families and friends which present different opportunities and challenges. Let’s seek to reach out as individuals in our personal contexts – praying, sharing and caring. As a church we are preparing GCC cards to assist individuals in offering services locally (general examples are already available online) – details regarding availability / collection to follow!
Corporate / Organised
It’s great to join together to reach out too, as a church and more widely across organisations, although we should see this as complimenting what we do individually, rather than being an alternative.
A few things we’re already thinking about:
Further updates will be provided!
Some ideas to get us thinking / responding:
Please be sharing other ideas via our various WhatsApp groups – it would also be great to be hearing testimony (God working in naturally supernatural ways through us) on these forums too!
Dear GCC family
Following our email earlier in the week, we are writing to share some of the ways that we as a church family will be looking to ‘do life’ together over the next few weeks. Clearly the situation continues to change rapidly and so our plans may need to change with little notice to follow the updates and advice issued. It’s clear that our community life will be severely affected by recent guidance to minimise social contact and avoid unnecessary social gatherings, but we will continue to seek all opportunities to continue to share life together and with others.
The leadership team have been sharing thoughts throughout the past week (including receiving ideas from other Christian organisations and from you all) and met “virtually” yesterday evening to work out some next steps – including a plan for the next five or so weeks.
Before coming to practical details, we want to share a conviction that at this time we should expect that God would be powerfully at work in and through us and that the vision for the church–“Loving / Serving / Transforming”–is more relevant than ever. Last night at our leadership team meeting a picture was shared of a sail on a ship being filled, so that we can be directed by God. Let’s be expectant that God wants to be equipping us for his Kingdom at this time. Likewise, our emphasis on healthy rhythms and a focus on balancing UP / IN / OUT is crucial when developing new routines: it is possible that our relationships with God, others in GCC and our wider communities will grow and strengthen at this time if we posture and invest ourselves for Him.
As you’re aware, we have decided to suspend our Sunday meetings for the foreseeable future. While there will be lots of great online opportunities to join with other (usually larger) congregations, we recognise the importance of us continuing to gather together as a church family. To do this we will be sending a weekly email sharing a blend of items that can be used as individuals and families at times that are convenient for you. These will include a mixture of a recorded GCC encouragement, some suggested worship songs, a Bible reading or message with questions for reflection, and some ideas for children. Our plan is then to pair this email with a “live” virtual gathering that will be focused on prayer based on and out of these resources.
Details for this Sunday will be sent out separately within the next 24 hours – but we are proposing to join the National Day of Prayer that has been called, including a virtual prayer time as a church from 6:30 to 7pm – please set this time aside if possible.
To allow us to gather virtually we are going to be making use of Zoom online meeting software. Apps are available for laptops, tablets and phones through your usual App store – just search for “ZOOM Cloud Meetings”. It is free and you don’t need to sign up/register for an account to use it. Please go ahead and download this now so you are ready for Sunday – further instructions about how to join the virtual gathering will follow in tomorrow’s email.
Being part of a community is really important, not just socially but spiritually too! Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:20 that “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. Being in a pandemic doesn’t change that – if anything, it makes investing in community all the more important.
Over the coming months, the primary place of connection and support in our church will continue to be our Mini Groups – in person where possible and in line with current Government guidance, or virtually. If you are not part of a Mini Group already, now is a great time to get involved and all of our groups are able and willing to make space for new folk. Please email Matt (firstname.lastname@example.org) if this is you.
A further email will be sent to mini group facilitators early next week which will include details of support, ideas and some tech suggestions!
All of our ministries will be affected by the ongoing situation, however, we will be looking for the leaders of these groups (e.g. Youth, Pray!, Little Stars etc.) to be creative in maintaining community whilst following Government guidance. We ask that these plans are coordinated with the leadership team so that we can maintain healthy rhythms and make best use of our shared resources.
We recognise that there will be cases where individual focused care will be required at this time. Whilst mini groups are the first port of call, any issues can be shared by contacting the office (email@example.com) or contacting Phil or Matt in the first instance. Government advice will be followed at all times so phone / video calls will be preferred to face to face visits where possible and appropriate. It has been fantastic to hear and see many other groups responding in generous and selfless ways over the last week. We encourage you to get involved with those locally as you are able.
Please keep up to date with Government advice (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public) as a community we want to play our part in doing all we can to support the national / international effort.
If you have any ideas, questions or concerns regarding the above, please be in contact. In the coming days, we’ll be sharing further emails on Sunday Plans, Reaching Out and Mini Groups as well as further updates – please keep an eye out for these. If you are finding emails from the church office account are going to your Spam/Junk folders please choose the option to tell your email client these emails are not Spam/Junk. Equally, if you would prefer emails to be sent to another address please just let us know.
Finally, please be assured of both our prayers, and a commitment to help in all ways that we can with practical and spiritual needs, as they arise. These are unusual times and uncharted waters, which will contain some real challenges, but they will also be a season of new blessings and opportunities as we give ourselves, together, to following Jesus. Let’s be praying that God meets us all in fresh ways during this season, as we seek Him amidst these new circumstances and the opportunities it presents.
With much love,
Phil (on behalf of the LT)