As by now you will all be aware the government announced a new national lockdown on Monday 4 January, and we met last night as elders to discuss what the implications are for our services at Sunbridge Road Mission. In this lockdown the government guidance for places of worship is as follows:

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.

We are encouraged by the government’s recognition of the importance of meeting for public worship, and given this provision have decided to keep the church building open for those who would like to attend in person.

Our 10.30AM Morning Service will continue to be accessible both in person, and through the livestream on YouTube via this link:
https://sunbridgeroadmission.org.uk/online-services

There are, however, a number of things to bear in mind:

1. We recognise that the new COVID-19 variant spreads more easily which means the risk has increased, particularly as this new strain begins to hit Bradford. As a result, we will review this decision as the situation develops, and understand that some will choose not to come down in person because of the increased risk.

2. It is important that we leave the service promptly, and do not gather outside to socialise. We will restart Zoom ‘Tea & Coffee’ after the morning service each Sunday to provide an opportunity to chat together.

SRM “Tea & Coffee” (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/173126445?pwd=TjRwZ1ZBdXVRVEd6RkNQNGdpWmxYUT09)

Meeting ID: 173 126 445

Passcode: 006315

3. Given the prohibition on mingling with anyone outside your household we will no longer be able to run our normal kids groups or creche during the Sunday Morning service. Children will only be able to attend the 10.30 AM service if they remain with their parents in the main hall. As a result, we are intending to start a family service each week either before the main service on a Sunday morning, or ideally on a Saturday morning. This will run in a similar way to the Family Christmas Celebration on 13th December, and Lucas will be in touch with parents this week to work through the details. Therefore, there will be no provision for children this Sunday morning (10 January), but we are hoping to start a regular family service the following week.

Our 7PM Evening Service will move to Zoom.

We think that over the coming weeks Zoom will serve us best as a church on Sunday evenings. It protects those serving on various teams (e.g. stewards, welcome, tech) from getting burnt out, and also allows more interaction through breakout groups.

SRM Sunday Services (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/476602598?pwd=RnI0MkE2ZXkzTjlTYm5UY24vL0tDdz09)

Meeting ID: 476 602 598

Passcode: 024656

We have also decided to postpone the upcoming series on SRM Family Values. Whilst we think it will be a very important series for us as a church, the circumstances of this term have changed significantly, and we think it would be better to wait until after this lockdown to focus on this as a church.

This Sunday morning we will be starting a short series looking at what God says to those who are suffering through different books of the Bible. We will start this week by learning from Lamentations, and come on to hear from Ecclesiastes and Job.

This Sunday evening we will begin our Sovereign in the Silence sermon series looking at the book of Esther.

In working out how to respond to this new lockdown we realise that there is no simple right or wrong answer. These are wisdom issues and different churches will come to different conclusions. In fact, even within Sunbridge Road Mission we will have different opinions about what the right response is, and each of us will need to work out what we are going to do personally. As we do this it’s important we bear the following three things in mind:

1. Each of us needs to work out what is right before the Lord. We all come to this with different contexts in terms of our own health, family situation, access to technology etc.

2. We need to be gracious with one another as people come to different conclusions to us. Whilst the devil would love to use covid to sow discord and division this is a wonderful opportunity to be humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. To make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)

3. Whether we decide to gather in person or connect online let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deed, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25). Those verses were written to believers in danger of drifting away from Christ, and that is a great danger for us in this pandemic. These next few months is not the time to pull away from God’s people, but to make every effort to encourage one another to persevere, even if we have to be creative in how we do that.

If you have particular questions or concerns please get in touch with Matthew (matthew@sunbridgeroadmission.org.uk) or one of the other elders.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Much love in our Lord Jesus Christ,

SRM Elders