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Seaford Baptist Church – General Guidelines (Covid-19 Coronavirus) - March 2020
Please note that these guidelines are to supplement the advice provided by UK Governmental Departments and the NHS and should not be considered as alternative advice.
We are in uncertain times and the Coronavirus is high on the media and the government’s agendas. We therefore need to “Be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2), however we also need to ensure we do not pass on fear unnecessarily. The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) version of 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgement” is a helpful verse to reflect upon.
We are sure we are all capable of following guidelines with sound judgement! Most of this you will already know, however it is good to remind ourselves.
What are the typical symptoms of coronavirus?
• a cough (usually a dry cough) / shortness of breath
• a high temperature
• loss of taste and smell senses
These symptoms are similar to lots of other illnesses, like common colds and flu. If someone has these symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean they have coronavirus.
What should I do if I think I have symptoms?
• you think you might have symptoms of coronavirus
• you’ve been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus
• you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days.
Don’t go to your doctor’s surgery or hospital. Stay calm and immediately commence self-isolation in line with current NHS guidelines (isolate for 7 days if living alone or 14 days if living with other people).
You should only phone 111 if you start to deteriorate or have an underlying health issue.
How can I reduce my risk of getting coronavirus?
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of infection for yourself and the people around you is, to wash your hands, frequently and thoroughly, for around 20 seconds, with soap and rinse with hot water. You should:
• wash your hands more often than you would normally, especially when you get home after going out, before eating or handling food, and after sneezing or blowing your nose.
• Sneeze into a tissue, then put the tissue in a bin and wash your hands.
• Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands
• Use hand gel if you can get it!
Should I stop going out, attending church, mid-week meetings / house groups?
The Government has advised that we should stop going out or meeting up with other people unless it is absolutely necessary and to maintain the good hygiene practices above.
As Baptist believers we are individually saved through a personal belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each of us is a fully capable individual, aware of our own physical frailties and able to make decisions about our own personal wellbeing. Individuals should therefore continue to make decisions about the personal risk after giving due consideration to the advice provided by the NHS.
If you have underlying health conditions, you will want to consider whether it is wise to have contact with other people.
Please feel free to speak to Andy or Hilary to seek their advice, and they will be happy to pray through this decision with you.
If you are self-isolating, please let Andy or Hilary or your Care Group Leader know, so that we can offer appropriate practical pastoral support.
The advice is that we do need to reduce as much as possible our physical contact with people – if you do go out and meet people then rather than hugging and greeting with a kiss it is wiser to stick to keeping a distance until this virus passes. Greet each other with a holy smile and communicate at a distance!
If you’re worried about someone, encourage them to use the NHS online coronavirus service.
Practically we can:
Stay in touch with each over the phone, by post or online.S
Encourage and pray for each other.
Go shopping for those who are self-isolating
What we have done in church
Obtained a small number of alcohol based gel dispensers for hand cleansing, available for people to use when entering the building
Posted notices in all the toilet facilities reminding people of the NHS advice on the importance of washing our hands thoroughly
Put in place guidelines for those carrying out pastoral visits
In line with Governmental and Baptist Union Guidelines, Sunday Morning Worship, Prayer Meetings and House Groups are all suspended until further notice.
In addition the following groups are suspended:-
SBC Choir Rehearsals and planned concert
Weekly Oasis meeting
Friday Youth Clubs
Body and Soul
Who Lets the Dads Out
Who Lets the Kids Out
The Cabin – all activities
The church building and office will be closed to all casual visitors, SBC members and attendees and all enquiries should be made to them by phone or email.
In order to support the SBC membership and wider fellowship a communication and contact strategy is being prepared to ensure that where required everyone can be supported during this period of uncertainty.
Prayer is vital
Pray for medical professionals, and government decision makers. Pray for those who are already isolated and concerned about cutting off vital connections. Pray for people who are at greater risk of more significant consequences of becoming infected. Pray for miracles. And pray for the witness of the church, that people would turn to God for their security and peace.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NRSV)
SBC Leadership Team
Pastoral Care Action Plan during Coronavirus pandemic
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified … for the Lord your God goes with you: He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
These are difficult times and it is natural to be concerned, especially for those with under lying conditions who may be feeling vulnerable and lonely at present. As you probably know, the Leadership Team has followed Government and Baptist Union guidelines.
We want to make sure that during this time everyone has access to someone by phone or email contact and if there is a genuine practical need to provide help as much as is possible.
In order to do this properly and to make sure that no one “slips through the net”, Andy and Hilary have been working on a Pastoral Care Action Plan. This is now ready to be put in place.
Over the next week or so everyone who regularly attends church, and who is not in hospital or in full time care establishments, will be getting a telephone call to check their circumstances and to establish if they need regular contact or help, as well as giving others who are well the opportunity to volunteer to help as appropriate.
From the information gleaned from these telephone calls, Hilary is compiling a list of those in need and those who can help. This way it will be co-ordinated and people will know who their contact is.
So please have patience as we set this in motion and we would be grateful for your support with this. I have a list of people who I am asking to do the initial telephone calls.
Thankfully in uncertain times we have a sure and certain God who has not lost control and never will.
God bless you