Updated 7th January 2021
Parliament last night voted to make it law that people must stay at home unless absolutely necessary and schools will close. One of the few permitted reasons for leaving home will be to attend a place of worship.
At Therfield Chapel we place huge value on meeting in person (albeit in a limited way). We are therefore very thankful to God that Churches are exempt from the new lockdown, and are grateful to those who have petitioned the government, their MPs and organisations such as Christian Concern for their work on this issue.
It seems that the government recognises that Christian churches provide vital spiritual support to their congregations but they have also seen that Churches have been carefully organising their meetings in accordance with government guidance.
We may have our own personal views on whether the restrictions are too lenient or too harsh but in God’s providence the government and scientists have judged for us that it is a reasonable risk for churches to meet where it is appropriate and safe to do so. So on balance we believe it reasonable to use the permission to meet in person because of the benefits, and the witness it gives to the importance we place on gathering.
We will therefore continue to meet in person at the Chapel as well as broadcast on Facebook for those who cannot make it to the live service for any reason.
We will continue to be very careful in keeping all the hygiene and social distancing protocols before during and after our meetings and depend on the support of our church congregation in this. We will adjust our seating back to a wider distance between seated groups (and make some overflow space available upstairs) as well as continue with the open windows to allow for as much air flow as we can even if it makes it cooler (we will continue to offset it as much as we can with the heating). We also ask that you leave the building promptly at the end of the service and do not mingle between groups either inside or outside the building in accordance with our legal obligations.
The rollout of the vaccines also appears to be offering hope of a return to some form of normality in a few months. This is something to give thanks for, but as we patiently wait for this to happen, we must make sure that our hope is neither in science or politics, but in our Saviour Jesus, whose birth we have just been celebrating over the Christmas season.
Grace be with you