ALL ACTS OF PUBLIC WORSHIP AROUND THE CIRCUIT, INCLUDING MID-WEEK SERVICES WILL BE CANCELLED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. THIS WILL BE KEPT UNDER REVIEW IN THE LIGHT OF GOVERNMENT AND NHS ADVICE, BUT WE SHOULD EXPECT IT TO BE UP TO AND INCLUDING 14TH JUNE 2020 AND POSSIBLY LONGER.
"During this incredibly difficult time when people might want to spend time in prayer in their Methodist Church. Local trustees should consider whether it is possible to open up their churches to enable people to come and pray or sit quietly, perhaps offering prayer stations as a point of reflection with precautions around physical distancing.
Suspending services means that we advise that baptisms will not take place in public worship and if you have a wedding planned in a Methodist Church you should speak to your minister. While funerals may still take place, we would advise that the number of people attending is limited as per the Government's advice."
The ministerial staff will plan alternative ways to offer worship and spiritual support to individuals and your community if we move to further social distancing measures and the numbers in self-isolation increase. In such a situation, anxiety levels will rise, and people will be looking for spiritual resources accessible at home to help them. There are resources for people to use in worship at home on the Singing the Faith website.
Daily prayers can help give structure to our days for those who are housebound with more time for thinking and reflecting. You may wish to consider signposting people to the online Methodist Resources, Daily Prayer resources:
The Methodist Prayer Handbook has suggestions for daily prayer, scripture readings and a hymn.
Setting up regular prayer times, use of online conferencing facilities such as Skype, telephone prayer partners, could positively help to establish a sense of corporate prayer and the strengthening of the praying community.
People may not have access to the internet, so ministers and Pastoral Visitors may need to print off material and deliver it.
Conducting funeral services when the next of kin are unable to attend happens for all sorts of reasons at times. It may well become more common over the next few months. Copies of prayers for the sick and the dying and a copy of the funeral service from The Methodist Worship Book could be helpfully sent to those unable to attend the funeral of a friend or relative.