Dear PHBC Family,
It was just a fortnight ago, that I wrote to you concerning the ongoing danger that the COVID-19 virus poses to our way of life. In that letter, I urged that we all exercise vigilance and care, in as much as we continue our lives in faith and not fear.
As many of you will have heard yesterday evening, from 5th November, the UK will sadly enter a second national lockdown, hopefully lasting no more than four weeks. What makes the situation sad, is not so much about the restriction of movement, not so much about the impact on our worship services, not so much about not the ever-changing nature of the situation. What makes it particularly sad is the number of people who have lost, and will lose their lives as a consequence of this illness. What makes it sad is the lives and livelihoods that will be irreparably affected by these changes, as companies go out of business, jobs are lost, and food poverty rises across the nation. We must not cease to remember these people in prayer.
As a consequence of the Prime Minister’s national briefing, UK government restrictions for the new lockdown have been released, which mean that all public worship services will once again be suspended, with effect from Thursday 5th November.
This means that besides administrative and other essential duties, we at Pollards Hill Baptist Church will not be holding any in-person gatherings, including Tots’nTinies, Hope Coffee Club, home groups, meetings of any kind and Sunday services.
The permitted exceptions to this are:
- To broadcast acts of worship
- Individual prayer
- Formal childcare or where part of a school
- Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
- Other exempted activities such as some support groups
Please also note: Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
WHERE WE GO FROM HERE
Over the last eight months, we have been blessed with technological resources, as we have broadcast our worship services live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and on PHBC Radio. This has all been made possible by the sacrifice and dedication of the Media Team, who have adapted to meet the various needs as they have arisen.
The impending national lockdown on 5th November, as well as its practical and logistical impact on those who will be in the building, means livestreaming on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter (Periscope) will be suspended until further notice and we will return to broadcasting the Sunday worship services on PHBC Radio only.
If you already have the radio app, then you’re all set to go – you can simply tune in on a Sunday morning as usual. If you have not yet downloaded the app, I would urge you to do so, as it also means you can listen conveniently anytime you wish. Just search for PHBC Radio from the Apple App Store, or Google Play Store. Don’t forget that PHBC Radio also broadcasts the life-changing word of God, Spirit-filled music, times of prayer, and other programmes I know will be an encouragement to you at any time of the day or night.
Just as it was in March, for those of you who are not too familiar with using the Internet or mobile apps, perhaps a friend or relative can help you with installing the PHBC Radio app or just to connecting to the radio via the PHBC website.
If you do not have internet access or don’t use a smartphone, do let me know ASAP. Just as it was during the first lockdown, we are working on ways to ensure that everyone journeys together each week, and we do not want technology to be a barrier to our keeping in contact with one another or fellowshipping as one. So, if you would like to be included in these arrangements, please call, and let me know.
There is a well-known saying that ‘a ship does not sink because of the water around it, it sinks because of the water inside it’. As such, even though the nation is entering a state of lockdown, we must continue to live in liberty, and it is critical that we guard and gird our hearts and minds from being polluted with things that will weigh us down.
Because of the freedom we have received in Christ, God’s presence is the only place where we can truly be locked in. The psalmist wrote, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
It is my prayer over you that for the next few weeks, as you continue to trust Him as God, your life will demonstrate that you are a person who is truly liberated, even in lockdown.
With every blessing,
Rev. Deji Ayorinde