Superintendents Letter - 17th June 2020
Below is this week's letter from our Superintendents, looking ahead to the period when our church buildings may re-open, or that we maybe allowed to start meeting together again.
Lozells Methodist Church, taken in summer 2015.
Dear Sisters & Brothers of the Birmingham Methodist Circuit,
We bring you greetings in the name of Jesus Christ from the Superintendency Team.
In recent weeks there has been an easing of the lockdown, and the Circuit Executive is aware that thoughts are turning towards how and when Church Buildings may be re-opened for worship and user groups. Last weekend a letter was sent out to circuit ministers, senior stewards, property contacts and church treasurers giving guidance, what follows is a summary of that – if you wish to read the full letter, click here.
At the moment, our buildings remain closed except for essential work such as food banks, and it is possible for pre-schools and nurseries to open if Government and Methodist Church guidelines are adhered to. Although the Government have announced that Churches will be allowed to open for private prayer from 15th June, this is not the usual practice of the Methodist church and therefore the Circuit Executive are advising that Churches remain closed in our Circuit until at least the government has confirmed that churches may reopen for worship.
The Circuit Executive acknowledges that we will be guided by Government and Methodist Church advice when the re-opening of our buildings becomes possible. However, there is an opportunity now to prepare, to give careful thought and to make some preliminary preparations. We would therefore encourage churches to begin to consider the following as soon as possible:
- When are you wanting to re-open for worship?
- When are you considering re-opening for user groups?
- How are you going to open?
All are required to follow the procedure below before reopening:
- The Managing Trustees (usually the Church Council) should be satisfied and agree that they are content or otherwise with all documented Risk Assessments and Procedures prepared by the various users before the church be allowed to reopen.
- All such documents should then be passed on to the Circuit Property Steward, Property Officer and Superintendents for examination, comment if required, and ultimately approval or not to proceed with reopening
We are also aware that some Churches are wanting to have a conversation about their future, and even consider whether this is a moment when they acknowledge that all that is required to resource their building is too demanding. Having got used to a new way of being Church that does not rely on a Church building, there may be those considering the question: ‘Is it is possible to maintain Christian fellowship without the strain of maintaining a building?’
As we journey through these times, our hope is that we take this opportunity to prepare well and give careful thought to all that we sense God is calling us to be.
Finally, we are conscious that this letter is being sent to you during Refugee Week, which this year must be viewed in the light of both the current pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. So, we conclude with part of next Sunday’s (Sanctuary Sunday) Gospel reading which acknowledges and celebrates human worth:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)
Grace & peace
Alison, Nick & Neil
Birmingham Methodist Circuit
Get in Touch
You can contact a member of the circuit team, including the Superintendents, by visiting our contact us page here.