Behind the scenes at Bethel right now, is a real flurry of activity. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all masked-up, hands-washed and socially-distanced… but we’ve been busy none the less.
As you’re all hopefully now aware, (if not, you can read our latest letter here: Letter (Oct 2020)), we are preparing the way to open the recording of the service that we stream on youtube on a Sunday morning for a small congregation.
We’ve been busily reading guidance, writing risk assessments, putting posters up, moving furniture, buying up hand sanitizer, running equipment checks, learning new cleaning protocols, testing booking procedures, scheduling new rotas, and more… but on a week Sunday (25th Oct) – for those who feel able to come, we’re now in a position (barring any changes in the guidance for places of worship… he says nervously) to reopen our doors.
Now, please let me say again – the last thing we want to do is to put undue pressure on anybody to have to attend or to have to not attend; if you live within the Cardiff lockdown area and feel able to come, you’re welcome! Equally, if you’re unable to come for any reason at all, then please just know that we do not want you to feel any less of a part of our family here at Bethel. It’s really important right now to understand that ‘Bethel’ is not a building or an event, we’re a church; a people, a fellowship, a family in Jesus! That’s something that no pandemic can ever change.
If you are hoping to come though, please do read the letter carefully as to all the logistics involved, and how you can book your place.
So… one of the (hopefully!) final stages of preparation is that this coming Sunday (18th Oct) is a full dress rehearsal! The leadership team here at Bethel (and any of their partners/children that would like to) are going to walk through the whole process. Everything, from booking-in to booting-out, is being fully road tested ready in time for the Sunday afterwards.
It’s actually going to be really nice to have some real faces (albeit masked-up faces) to preach to on Sunday, as well as the camera – and who knows, you may well hear some muffled ‘amens’ from behind the camera (well, no pressure… we are Baptists after all!).
As to where we go from there, and how long these current restrictions will remain, is anyone’s guess – but it is good to be taking steps forward, however small and complicated those steps may be.
We would really value your prayers for this coming Sunday, and for God’s wisdom and guidance for the weekly leaders meeting on Monday evening after it as we reflect on the experience, and seek to discern God’s path for us for the future.
For now, let me leave you with the some words of Paul, as He prayed for the church in Colosse – I came across this passage recently in the Message Translation, and it spoke very deeply to me:
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to His will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works.
We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.
God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son He loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
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