We have decided to suspend Meeting for Worship for the foreseeable future in the light of the government’s advice about avoiding all non-essential contact, especially for those in vulnerable groups, which includes all aged over 70.
This evening we have received a message from Friends House that this is their advice too. Here is part of what they said:
“We advise meetings not to gather in person while the current social distancing guidance is in force. Current guidance is that everyone should avoid all large gatherings and any gatherings in smaller places (such as cinemas, restaurants, pubs). Government statements have made clear that religious gatherings are included in this category. Many faiths and denominations have announced they will cease public acts of worship.”
They note that meetings will need to think about how they maintain their community when they are not meeting face to face, and how important it is to stay in touch by other means, e.g. over the phone. We will certainly be trying to maintain contact with everyone by phone and email.
We will also be looking at possibilities for using IT to create “virtual” meetings for those who would like to try this. Friends House has some information on this and is actively working on how they can support meetings. Some Friends might like to set aside time for silent reflection at home, especially on a Sunday morning, knowing that some other Friends will be doing the same and will be with them in spirit.
How long it will be before we can restart Meeting for Worship, we don’t know. But even if we are not able to meet on a Sunday, let us continue to support each other in spirit and in practical ways until the situation improves.
Wishing you all good health,