Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In the light of the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and a 3rd national lockdown, we are once again being encouraged as a nation to ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’. Whilst under the latest lockdown rules we may gather in church for corporate worship, having prayerfully weighed the arguments, the PCC, Church Wardens and Clergy believe it is right that as a church we should follow the lead given by our Bishops and set a good example in this by suspending our ‘in person’ corporate worship for the time being. This is a decision made with a ‘heavy heart’ and we will keep it under review over the coming weeks. I know it will be a difficult decision for some, but I think on balance it is the right thing to do in the circumstances and believe it is important that we stand together in this.
Over the coming weeks can I encourage you to engage with our online services at 10:30 on Sunday mornings if you are able to via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheRiversTeam/ or our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcs1YpJKXVs4c7ySjI8eH0Q or to use the At Home worship sheets that Linda emails out. If you are able, please also join us for our Zoom Fellowship meeting following the online service (starting around 11:30am): Meeting ID: 970 4058 6857 / Password: 048851, and use our social media platforms and all other means of sharing and encouraging one another. In particular please try be aware of those who may be feeling vulnerable, isolated or frightened at this time and look for opportunities to share the love of God and the hope of the gospel with them in whatever ways you can do so safely.
There is an old saying that the darkest time is just before the dawn, and it feels a bit like we are in that place at the minute, but as Christians we know that light has dawned in Jesus, the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out, so let’s remain steadfast in following him because Jesus promises: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
May the Lord bless you and keep you and those you love safe, and the peace of the Lord, which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds safe in the knowledge and love of God.
With blessings and prayers
Despite the Coronavirus restrictions, we’ve got a busy week of events planned for The Rivers Team in the final run-up to Christmas, both online and in person.
Thursday 17 th December – Reflective Christmas Service
St. Helen’s Church, Treeton @ 11:30am
(Socially-distanced with limited capacity)
Saturday 19 th of December– Colours Of Christmas
St. Mary’s Church, Catcliffe
COVID-secure walkthrough experience allowing household groups to explore the Christmas story
through games, crafts and activities
Limited places, booking in advance online essential:
Sunday 20 th of December – Online Nativity Service
Rivers Team Facebook and YouTube @ 10:30am
Thursday 24 th of December (Christmas Eve) – Online Candlelit Carol Service
Rivers Team Facebook and YouTube @ 4:00pm
Thursday 24 th of December (Christmas Eve) – Maranatha (Come Lord, Come)
St. Lawrence’s Church, Tinsley @ 6:30pm
(Socially-distanced with limited capacity, booking in advance by phone is essential, please call Julie
Barringer on 01709 301927)
Friday 25 th of December (Christmas Day) – Zoom Family Communion Service
On Christmas day please join us at 10am for a short communion service via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 817 652 1557
The service will also be displayed on the screen in St. Mary’s for those who can’t access Zoom from
home or would prefer to gather in a church building. This will follow normal protocols for ‘in person’
worship gatherings (social distancing, masks to be worn etc.) and seats must be booked in advance – no
later than midday on Christmas eve) by calling Julie Barringer on 01709 301927
We’re delighted to announce we will be holding an ‘in-person’ nativity this year*. Themed around the colours of the rainbow, this COVID-secure walk-through experience will offer household groups the chance to reflect on the Christmas story whilst participating in games, crafts and activities. Booking in advance is essential – please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vqG-d2AMEFlbd4v30lEsHyVFXKy5-tsQbBQS98003XQ/edit.
*subject to any changes in advice from the UK government or Church of England surrounding public worship.