As of Sunday 13 September, we are pleased to be reopening for Sunday worship. As you may be aware, the Government has just announced new regulations on meeting together from 14 September. Whatever the future may hold, we are still planning to meet together for worship in the church at Kempston East this week under our four-point guidance. We have also included a new poster below about how you might recognise someone who is unable to wear a mask because of a hidden disability.
If you are not able to come to the church on a Sunday morning, we plan to record the services and make them available to view on the website. Due to copyright reasons, we are not able to show any hymns or songs but the rest of the service will be available to view. Some weeks, it may not be possible to record the service, in which case, we will aim to have the sound recording of the service available to listen to.
Four Point Guidance
New Rules on Socialising from September 14
Last Tuesday, and following the large increases in Covid-19 cases in the previous three days, the Government announced new rules for how we can socialise with other people. This is our guide to what these are and how they might affect us.
There will be a limit of six people allowed to meet together socially (up until tomorrow the limit is thirty people). This applies to meeting together indoors and outdoors, so you won’t be able to have more than six family members meeting together, even in your garden, in a restaurant, or in the park.
There will be some exceptions to these rules:
This exemption has not been mentioned as widely on the news as the others have but the Methodist Church has posted its guidance by quoting a statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury: "After contact with Government we hear that there is no change to guidance on places of worship. Worship is the work of God – not a social gathering – and gives the strength to love and serve. The increase in COVID cases is very concerning. We must follow the guidance and take all the necessary measures to keep people safe. And let’s keep praying for everyone who is affected – those who are ill, or whose families are ill, those who are anxious, or struggling with cancelled plans and isolation. We give grateful thanks to God for the NHS and all those who work tirelessly to keep us safe." - The Archbishop of Canterbury
This Sunday (5th April 2020) is Palm Sunday where we commemorate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–9), when palm branches were placed in his path. It marks the beginning of Holy Week and the final week of Lent.
It is a time where we remember and read about Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, as the King of Israel who had come to save all mankind. Palm Sunday is traditionally celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches representing the palm branches the crowd laid in front of Christ as he rode into Jerusalem.
The symbolism of this event is captured in the Old Testament: Zechariah 9:9 "The Coming of Zion's King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey". According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there laid down their cloaks and small branches of trees in front of him, singing part of Psalm 118: 25–26 – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
At the end of the Bible, people from every nation raise palm branches to honour Jesus (Revelation 7:9) and we want everyone to do the same now. In this time of adversity and uncertainty, let us put our faith in our constant friend and saviour, Jesus Christ. Put your cross in your window and join others around the world as we celebrate the coming of the King.
Send in your pictures and we will share them on our website and Facebook page.
If you don't have a palm cross but would like to make one, here is a great video tutorial of how to make a paper origami cross.
As you may be aware, the Government has provided updated information suggesting that social gatherings be limited and have suggested that for the over 70’s social distancing is encouraged.
With that in mind, the stewarding team and our minister have met this evening and agreed the following:
There will be a service on Sunday 22nd March (Mothering Sunday) at 10:30 am led by Rev. Peter Byass. There will be no refreshments served after the service. Individuals can of course choose not to attend if that is their preference.
After the service on Sunday we will be suspending all worship at Kempston East Methodist Church until further notice.
- We are aiming to publish weekly internet-based worship material for the duration of the church closure, that will be accessible from the church website. (More information will be published in the church newsletter this Sunday).
- Our pastoral leaders will be in contact with our church family to keep them updated.
- Weekly newsletters will be published online, which will include information on where to e-mail any prayer requests. These may be mentioned in the online newsletter the following week and may be used our internet-based worship, so that we can also include them in our personal prayers.
- In line with Methodist Church guidance published earlier today, there will be no refreshments served after the service this Sunday, nor indeed at any events on our premises.
As a church, please continue to look after each other by speaking regularly on the telephone and reaching out to us if you need help.
We pray that you and your families remain in good health and look forward to seeing you in person as soon our face to face worship resumes.
May God’s love be with you all.
Phil Timms (Senior Church Steward)
Revd Prof Peter Byass (Minister)
Life seems so uncertain at present. I suppose it’s always been that way but there just seem to be so many more things that are outside our control which could have a major effect on us.
The spread of COVID-19, the novel form of Coronavirus, around the world is occupying many people’s thoughts at present. While it was only in China we perhaps were less concerned. It’s over there, thousands of miles away, no need to worry. But now, as I write this, there are three cases in Hertfordshire and, maybe by the time you read this, it will have got even closer. Much more of a concern.
Then, because of the effect the COVID-19 is having on the financial markets, people are also getting concerned about their savings, their pensions and so on. Not only that, but how much of our liberties, that we take so much for granted, will we lose if the government starts to impose restrictions on our lives to try to ‘contain’ the problem.
Mind you, if you live in Worcestershire or in Yorkshire, losses of a different kind may be occupying your mind, particularly if, like one couple, you’ve got flood waters right up to the eaves of your bungalow and have lost not only most of your possessions but possibly your home as well.
Like I said, so much uncertainty, so much to concern us. But, time and time again, Jesus tells his disciples, and us, not to be afraid. When he walked on the water towards his disciples, they thought he was a ghost but he reassured them - ‘Don’t be afraid’. When Peter, James and John were overwhelmed by the vision of the Transfiguration he told them - ‘Don’t be afraid’. These were all things that were
beyond both the control and the understanding of the disciples. No wonder they were afraid, but Jesus calmed their fears. As long as he was there, in control, they had no need to fear.
It’s the same now with us. Whether it’s the fear of catching Coronavirus or the worry of what the weather may do to our home, Jesus is in control. Don’t be afraid. Whether it’s the uncertainty of the outcome of tests you might have been having or the operation you might be facing, Jesus is in control. Don’t be afraid.
There are some books in the Bible that you can just dip into, read a few verses and you feel much better. The book of Proverbs is one of those, so let me quote to you some verses from The Message version of Proverbs 3, verses 21-26.
“Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive. You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip. You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.”
So, don’t be afraid, God is in control. He will keep you safe and sound.