Coronavirus

St Augustine’s Church, Highbury

Tel. 020 7354 5515

office@stac.org.uk

www.staugustine.org.uk

 

(Updated March 28th 2020)

Dear St Augustine’s church family and friends,

Grace and peace to you, in the name of Jesus.

‘Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ (Hebrews 10:23-25)

We’d like to update you on our response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) responding to evolving guidance from the Government https://www.gov.uk

and the national church https://www.churchofengland.org

Some of this will continue to change, but for now:

All public services on Sundays and throughout the week, plus normal group activities at St Augustine’s are suspended until further notice.

This all means that we now have to get creative!  What could ‘meeting together’ look like for now?

We are driven by the conviction that God loves every human being and together we want to share the love of God and good news of Jesus, with Highbury and beyond.

 

STEPS DURING THE WEEK:

  • Be 'salt and light' (Matthew 5:13-16) for Islington, Hackney and beyond, caring for our neighbours, giving help and encouragement where we can, not being consumed by worry or panic, and living today to the full.

  • Pray with us for the parish and our community.  To share requests for prayer, or answers to prayer, please join the Prayer Chain by contacting the church office.

  • If you have to self-isolate and need help with supplies, or would appreciate a friendly phone call please ring (020 7354 5515) or email the church office (office@stac.org.uk)

  • Continue to share regular prayer requests and updates with your Prayer Triplet if you are part of one, via telephone, WhatsApp, text message or other means.

  • Help the vulnerable.  If you would like to help by donating food and household goods to an elderly or vulnerable person in our church family or known to us in our neighbourhood, or you would like to doante goods/supplies to the Islington Refugee and Migrant Centre, please contact the church office.  Also, if you would like to help by making a friendly and encouraging phone call to someone in need/self-isolating, please contact the church office.

  • Choose someone in the church family to read a Book of the Bible and/or a Christian book with.  Read an agreed section, and then discuss it together over the phone.  In recent weeks, and during Lent, we’ve highlighted the following books:

            Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger

            The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

            Unreachable by Darrell Tunningley

            The Jesus Lifestyle by Nicky Gumbel

            The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson

            All books are available from www.eden.co.uk

 

STEPS FOR SUNDAYS:

This is where the fun starts! We will not be gathering on Sundays for now, but we are still church, and church involves being committed together in worship and prayer:

  • Commit.  Please stick to our weekly rhythm of Sunday mornings for worship. Now more than ever is the time to commit to prayer as God’s church!

  • Each Sunday, listen to the sermon and message on the church website.  This will be recorded in advance, and uploaded to the ‘Sermons’ page on the church website.  Each sermon will finish with 3 questions and discussion points.  https://www.staugustine.org.uk/media/

  • At 10.30am on Sundays, we encourage you to ring someone or message them so you’re aware of being in worship together.  (If you would like to be ‘paired up’ with someone in the church family, please contact the church office Mon-Fri).  Then pray asking God to help you hear from Him and listen to the sermon.  Then phone or video call your ‘someone’, discuss the sermon with them using the 3 questions and discussion points, and pray together.  If you are unsure how to pray, the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 may be a good starting place for prayer, combined with a Psalm where you might alternate between verses, praying a verse each.  Then you might sing a song of worship together.

  • Young families: Prioritise 'meeting together' on a video call, if you have the technology.  Rhythm, seeing friends and having worship modelled is so important for young children.  Young children form their priorities by seeing what (and Who) their parents prioritise.  We encourage you to book in a video call with another young family on Sunday mornings at 10.30am.  (Meeting in pyjamas is fine!).  Use a format that works for you, for example: a short opening prayer, read a children's Bible story with pictures, ask questions about it, sing a worship song together (with CD or MP3 backing if that's helpful) - Dancing is encouraged! -, then finish by calling out names of people you want God to help/bless.

 

If you have any questions, or if you would like to offer help, please don’t hesitate to contact the church office.

Also, if you would like to be kept up to date, and be on the church email distribution list, please let the church office know.

Tel. 020 7354 5515

office@stac.org.uk

 

We’re seeking to respond to careful measures from the Government, and we want to continue to live as salt and light for our community, being a non-anxious presence in our city. We know that God is very good and is not surprised by this virus. He continues to be Lord of this world.

 

This is perhaps only the beginning of this new chapter, and any of the above may change as the situation changes.  We are still in the ‘working it out’ stage, but we know that as well as challenges, this situation presents enormous opportunities as the people of God, to be a blessing to our neighbours, to shine for the Lord, and to point people to Jesus, the way, the truth and the life; the One who is Lord of all, who is our certain hope, and the One who gave his life for us to set us free from sin, shame, fear and death.

 

Jesus said:

‘ … the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’

(John 14:26-27).

 

GOD bless you St Augustine’s church family.  With love and prayers.  In JESUS, Gabriel.

(March 28th 2020).

 

 

(*Huge THANKS to Rev'd M. Gibbs, and our brothers and sisters at Ascension Balham for their invaluable help in formulating our response)