We Can All Be Carers
It has been an exceptional week for the maelstrom of politics and pandemic issues that dominate our news media. Things may change again as the latest wave of Covid infections plays out, but we thought we would clarify the current position for 360Life Church events.
Our main concern must be: how do best care for one another at this time? And how do we make it easier for those with some misgivings or with underlying health concerns to join in with in-person services and events?
It is a legal requirement to wear face coverings in the church building. Obviously the usual exemptions apply. This is why the Welcome Team will want you to don a mask when you arrive at Cale Green.
Wearing masks definitely reduces the risk of spreading infection, as does sensible social distancing and the use of hand sanitiser. Everyone knows that we can’t reduce the risk to zero by following these measures but facilitating any reduction is a caring thing to do.
Since singing is the single most activity in church that could spread infection, we are asking everyone to wear masks all all times, including when we sing. Times when eating and drinking are naturally the one exception to this.
Wearing masks is inconvenient and may feel uncomfortable. But that seems a small price to pay for continuing to meet together in-person. Caring isn’t only something that we do when it costs us nothing and doesn’t inconvenience us. Caring in the way of Jesus always costs something.
Everyone is now also being advised to take lateral flow tests at home prior to going to social gatherings. Again, a negative test doesn’t provide a cast iron guarantee that you don’t have Covid and are not infectious, but it does provide a high degree of confidence that you are unlikely to infect someone else. Especially in a multi-generational church like ours, it is a caring act to take a test before coming to services. Whatever your views on vaccinations, regular testing is surely something that we can all do for the sake of one another. Hopefully the recent shortages of test kits will be short-lived.
For a long time we have been reminded that we really should stay away from church events if we feel unwell or are showing Covid symptoms. The scientists regularly warn us that what looks and feels like an ordinary cold may actually be Covid. So despite the disappointment that comes from missing church, especially at Christmas time, staying away can be the caring thing to do. At least the increasing availability of lateral flow tests means that we can test first and make informed decisions on this.
And if you do have to miss some services for some reason, at least you can follow the livestream. Some members of the church family rely on the livestream every week because their circumstances force it. Despite the teething problems that we have been grappling with on the livestream, it remains a valid and important way of participating in church events. And for some, it is a game-changer since the alternative would be to miss out on all services entirely. That puts any need to follow the livestream for a couple of weeks into some perspective and the fresh perspective that we so gain might help us care better for those for whom live-streaming is the only option available to them.
Jesus said that the world would know that we are his disciples by our love for one another. Not by our views on politics and pandemics and social trends and the like. That’s why we need to allow love and care for one another to shape our actions as we navigate these tough and challenging times together.
Hopefully this is all clear. If the advice and rules change, we will issue a fresh bulletin. In the meantime, please talk to the Leadership Team if you have any questions or unresolved concerns.