17 March 2020
Due to the latest Government advice, we have suspended all Riverside meetings and activities until further notice. However, even though our meetings have stopped, the church very definitely goes on! We are currently working on different and exciting ways to ensure we stay well connected to God, each other and our world. Look out for regular updates and information – we are committed to keeping you well informed on all that is happening.
Every person who is registered on Church Suite will have been assigned to a Community Group for pastoral care. WhatsApp and other electronic means of communication will be used to keep Community Groups together and informed. The staff will be working hard with Community Group leaders to ensure the smooth running of the church as we pass through these challenges. It is also our firm intention to look for ways to extend this care well beyond the walls of the church. Some creative things are already being done by individuals and we'll continue to keep you informed of that too.
Spiritual input and teaching
Although we may not be able to achieve this in time for this Sunday, it is our plan from the following Sunday (29th March) to broadcast either live or very recently recorded sermons, testimonies, interviews and anything which might be helpful to keep the church nourished and healthy. We are putting together a team of people with the technical expertise for us to achieve this. More details will follow with timings in the next week or so, as this is a top priority for us.
Keeping you informed
Helen and I will be keeping in touch with you via Church Suite and social media with updates and developments as we go along.
Most of us will never have experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. However, it has all happened before. The first major disruption to church is recorded in Acts Chapter 8. In those days a major persecution broke out against Christians in Jerusalem and they were no longer able to meet freely. The beauty for us is that we can read that their story didn't end there. Far from the persecution being damaging to the church, instead the believers spread themselves to all parts of the known world. As a direct result of the scattering, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was preached to many thousands in distant lands who otherwise may never had heard the way of salvation. Today, we are not dealing with persecution, but a virus. However, I am convinced that the good that God brought to the tender church in Acts will also in some mysterious way be brought to the 21st century church too. Our task is to hold tight in these times and look for God-given opportunities to give a reason for the hope we profess. Remember, "ALL THINGS work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus and called according to his purpose." (Romans 8: 28).
That's all for now. I'll be in touch again very soon.
Steve and the Senior Leadership Team