To bring life in all its fullness in Jesus’ name to our towns and villages in the Stour Valley’ is as true during this pandemic as it’s ever been. We continue to have a heart for our community, to be Jesus’ hands and feet to the people around us and to help them to connect with God’s boundless love for them. In response to the Government’s guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing, we are adapting our methods of how we meet together to worship, and how we serve our community.
To find out how you can join us online for our church services and small groups, keep reading. Discover how you can connect with others in prayer, compassion and outreach, and please let us know if you need any help.
Church At Home – Sunday Services Online
There will be no people gathering at the Vineyard Centre, not even a small tech team, at the moment. Instead, we will be hosting a simple service, streamed direct from Andrew and Emma’s home. You can watch, each Sunday morning, at 10.30am from our YouTube channel (simply search for Stour Valley Vineyard on YouTube).
Each Sunday from 10.00-10.25am, the Planet Vineyard team will host a Zoom web meet-up for all of our children, young people and their families. The children and young people will be able to join with their leaders, share in a short message, check in with each other, and pray together: much of what they would normally do in regular Planet Vineyard session.
This will finish at 10.25am so that everyone has 5 minutes to switch over to the live stream of the main service starting at 10.30am. Check your email for the link to connect with the team.
Small Groups are still happening via the wonderful world of technology. With platforms such as Zoom, WhatsApp and Teams, people can connect together ‘virtually’. We do not want anyone to find themselves isolated, so these groups are all the more important during this period of enforced self-isolation. Please contact your Small Group facilitators to find out how they are connecting people, or if you would like to find out more about how to connect with a group and find an online community, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayer is the bedrock of our church community. Our conversations with God are vital for our own spiritual health, and also, for the health of our community and nation. So, don’t pull back on prayer – instead, press in. If you are finding yourself with more time available, then use it well and you will find, as you spend more time in God’s presence, that you are able to live from a place of peace instead of being swept along with the panic in the news.
At SVV, we have been connected to the 24/7 prayer network for many years now, and are planning a week of 24/7 prayer later, in May. But for now, in this Coronavirus crisis, we can join with people all over the nation in a virtual prayer room here. Sign up for an hour in the virtual prayer room. The 24/7 team have a page with resources available with helpful prompts on how to pray.
For ourselves, we will be hosting virtual prayer gatherings, so keep an eye on our social media for more information as to when they will be.
We have adapted our Drop-ins at Storehouse to take into account social distancing and have increased our deliveries to enable emergency food to get to all those who are referred to us and cannot come out. As always, our Foodbank is for people in financial crisis who cannot afford to feed themselves and their families.
If you are aware of anyone in this situation, (particularly because of the COVID-19 virus), or you yourselves are in financial crisis and need food, please contact email@example.com and our team will help you.
If you find you have physical symptoms, economic fallout, or are isolated and lonely, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staying in Touch
It’s likely that things will continue to change for a while and so there is a need for us to keep you updated. In order for this to happen smoothly and efficiently, please could you:
- Contact the office and give us permission to add you to our ChurchSuite database. This way, we can send regular emails out to everyone on there. It will also enable you to keep connected with each other.
- If you are already on ChurchSuite, please check that your details are up to date and correct. If you are struggling with any aspect of it, please contact our admin team.
- Sign up to our weekly SMS text service. From here we will communicate any important changes and send out reminders for things happening.
- Download and follow Stour Valley Vineyard on Instagram. We will be posting notices and encouraging stories on here. There is also an opportunity to send us your stories via Instagram. If you’re not fluent with how to use it, speak to someone who knows (no doubt pretty much anyone under 25 will be very capable!).
This crisis will not be here forever. For those we know who contract the virus, the consequences could be life-changing (let’s not forget that, and keep praying for it to go), but it is also a time of incredible opportunity when we all have the chance to change the way we are living, to re-prioritise and ‘reset’ our focus. To slow down and truly eliminate hurry from our lives.
For the planet, we are already hearing stories of clearer air and skies (people in Beijing can now hear the birds and see the stars at night in the first time that many of them can remember). There are reports of dolphins swimming in the canals in Venice now that the water is clearer. With all but a few aeroplanes in the skies, the pollution levels are dropping faster, something we were desperate to achieve, but were in a race against time to do.
We continue to lean on God for our strength one day at a time. Psalm 46 seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment:
v1 ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.’
v10 ‘Be Still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.’