Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Update 24th February 2021

‘I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’’

- Psalm 122:1  

Dear members and friends,

Hybrid Church

At our deacons meeting on Monday evening, we reviewed again the current closure of the church building for face-to-face worship, and we believe the time is now right to permit face-to-face worship again for those who wish to come, starting from Sunday 7th March. However, we remain mindful that the “Kent strain” of Covid remains more contagious than previous strains, so we will be spreading out the chairs still further and therefore reducing the capacity at each service to a maximum of 40 (for March at least). As before, we will keep this decision under regular review. Digital church will continue as now, as will both the Sunday Zoom meetings and the Wednesday Zoom Prayer Meetings.

Keeping everyone safe

We would remind everyone that it is essential that we all continue to follow all social distancing rules diligently, whether or not we have had a vaccine. Until 29th March this includes not conversing outside the church building as well as inside.  As ever, please do not come to the church building if you have been asked to self-isolate by test and trace or school, or if you have (or have had within the last week) any of the following key Covid symptoms: a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss of or change to your sense of taste. Anecdotally, the Kent strain sometimes seems to start with a feeling of nausea, so we would also ask people also not to attend if they have experienced nausea in the last few days. Masks remain essential for everyone over the age of 11 (unless exempt), as does appropriate hand sanitising.

Rationale for our decision

As we shared with the Church Members meeting in January, churches have been permitted to remain open throughout the latest lockdown, which we believe indicates either that the government deems face-to-face worship to be an “essential service” and / or they deem churches to be low-risk environments for the transmission of Covid. We have taken many steps to ensure that Trinity is as Covid-safe as it can be, so our overriding principle is that, wherever possible, each person should have the freedom to assess the risks for themselves and to decide whether or not to attend Church in person on the basis of that risk assessment. However, at the start of January, we felt that we needed to override that principle for four reasons.  These were as follows:

  • Pressure on the NHS, particularly the risk of our local hospitals being overrun with Covid patients
  • To buy time for the most vulnerable within our congregation to be vaccinated
  • The potential damage to our witness in our local community if we were deemed to be putting others at risk
  • That no-one should feel obligated to attend church in person if they did not feel safe doing so (at the start of January a number of our key contributors did not feel safe)

We now believe there has been sufficient progress against each of these to enable us to revert to the principle of personal risk assessment.  Specifically:

The numbers of Covid patients in hospitals in both London and the South East are roughly a third of what they were during the January peak, and there is evidence to suggest that the vaccines are even more effective than first thought in preventing serious illness from Covid.

All over 70s and extremely vulnerable people have now been offered at least the first vaccine (the latest research suggests a high efficacy in preventing severe Covid symptoms, even from just the first dose, which is further increased with the second dose).

The effect on our witness is a judgement call; meeting may also be a positive witness to the importance of Christian faith and collective worship for society at large. We believe meeting would be substantially more positively received now than it would have been in January

It remains true that no-one should feel compelled to come to face to face church. Therefore, any decision to re-open is subject to having sufficient stewards, band members, and techies who are willing to attend with a congregation present.

How to attend

Like at the end of last year, we have created a digital sign-up for each service, although now we have implemented ChurchSuite at Trinity, we are now using that platform for sign-up.  This can be accessed via your ChurchSuite log in or via the Trinity website Diary page, here: https://www.trinitybexleyheath.org.uk/diary/.  Just click on the Sunday service you wish to attend and click on the ‘sign up’ box. 

Please, at this stage, sign up for one service per month only to allow the maximum number of people the chance to attend sometime in March. If we find that services are not full, we will permit more regular attendance. For those without internet connection, buddies can sign you in on your behalf, or you can contact Kerry by phone, and she will add you to the list.

Stewards

Stewards are additional to the sign-up programme (i.e. if you steward you may come to Church more than once in the month). If you can help with stewarding, please inform Kerry as soon as possible, so she can create a stewarding rota. We cannot run any service without sufficient stewards.

Children and Young People

We plan to resume our monthly all-age services, but not until after Easter. Similarly, YP will continue on Zoom and remotely until after the Easter holidays.  YP Friday Zoom and the Godzone Games Zoom meetings will also continue.

We thank God that there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel following the government’s announcement of the roadmap to ending restrictions. Please keep praying for the effectiveness of the vaccines to be maintained and for infection rates and severity of symptoms to continue to fall. However, we are not yet at the point where we can relax our guard. It is vital to our continued safety that everyone continues to be diligent in following social distancing guidelines, both within Church and within their everyday lives. “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

With love and hope,

Andy and the Deacons.


Coronavirus Update 28th January 2021

As you know we announced our intention to close face to face church for the month of January in response to significant changes in the Covid situation, and I said last Sunday that we would provide some clarity of our plans this week. 

As a diaconate, we believe passionately in the benefits of the gathered church, and we retain the belief that Trinity remains a comparatively safe environment in which the potential spread of Covid is significantly reduced.  We also retain the overriding principle that wherever possible we wish to allow members to make their own assessment of the personal risks for them, and on that basis to decide whether or not to attend church in person. 

However, the Covid risk in the community at large currently remains higher than during the first lockdown, and there are still a number of significant unknowns about how the disease is now behaving.  Therefore, at this present moment, we believe that our community responsibility continues to outweigh the desire to permit personal choice, and that we should therefore remain closed for face-to-face church.  Initially, before the government's announcement yesterday, we said that we would review this again in the middle of February.  

We will be bringing more detail on our thinking to the church meeting, where we would welcome church members' views.  But we didn't want to leave people guessing as to whether or not we would be looking to open at the start of February.  We will continue to monitor the situation, as well as listen to members' prayerful considerations on Sunday.

In the meantime, we also encourage members to actively pursue fellowship with one another through the various Zoom meetings that are available (after church, Wednesday prayers, small groups, YP, and the new Godzone social, starting 6th February).

With love to you all,

Andy on behalf of the deacons.


COVID-19 Update 31st December 2020

We have had to take the decision that we cannot run the watchnight service this evening in person; this is because we do not have enough stewards to run it safely.  The service will still be live-streamed on our YouTube channel, now starting at 11.30 pm, here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8vTabe_7Y0_2Ka7BtCdRUQ

All our Sunday morning services will continue to be broadcast on our YouTube channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8vTabe_7Y0_2Ka7BtCdRUQ and all the other details of each service are here: https://www.trinitybexleyheath.org.uk/covid-19/coronavirus--sunday-services.php or via the Sunday Services tab above.

If you need any support - practical, spiritual or emotional – please do contact our pastoral care assistant via janet@trinitybexleyheath.org.uk


 

COVID-19 Update 29th December 2020

We hope you have been able to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Saviour this Christmas.

Thank you to those who responded regarding January's services.  This is to confirm that, as a diaconate, we have taken the difficult decision to close our face-to-face services for January and move to live-streamed only services.  We do not do this lightly, but we believe on balance it is the right thing to do in the current circumstances. 

We do not envisage this lasting beyond January, not least because a number of our most vulnerable members will by then have been double-vaccinated, and because we have created an environment in which the risk of infection remains small.

The Watchnight service on Thursday will still go ahead as planned, but with a reduced maximum of 40 people on a strictly first-come-first-served basis.  The service will also be live-streamed.  Please consider the risks carefully before deciding whether or not to attend in person, and we remind everyone that you must not attend if you have had any Covid symptoms in the last 7 days (high temperature; new continuous cough; change to or loss of sense of smell or taste; or vomiting which seems anecdotally to be a feature of the new strain), or if you have been told to self-isolate.

The deacons and I wish you all a healthy and hope-filled new year, and look forward to seeing you as soon as possible.

With love,

Andy.

Our Sunday morning service will continue to be broadcast on our YouTube channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8vTabe_7Y0_2Ka7BtCdRUQ and all the other details of each service are here: https://www.trinitybexleyheath.org.uk/covid-19/coronavirus--sunday-services.php or via the Sunday Services tab above.

If you need any support - practical, spiritual or emotional – please do contact our pastoral care assistant via janet@trinitybexleyheath.org.uk


COVID-19 Update 19th December 2020

As you are probably aware, there appears to be a new strain of Covid-19, that may be the cause of the significant increase in new infections within London and the South East.  Because of this, Boris Johnson has today announced the creation of a new Tier 4 of Covid restrictions, and placed all London boroughs and all of Kent into that Tier 4.

Since the government has expressly permitted churches within Tier 4 to remain open for communal worship, as a diaconate we have taken the decision to remain open as a church.  We do so because we believe it is important to permit the family of God to meet together in person, because we know that we have created as safe an environment as we can with regards restricting Covid spread, and because no-one is obligated in any way to attend.

However, no environment can be without risk.  So, we would counsel everyone to prayerfully and thoughtfully consider the increase in infection rates and the new Tier 4 restrictions, to weigh the risks for yourselves, and to make an informed decision as to whether or not it is right for you and your family to attend church in person at this time.  A list of Tier 4 restrictions can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52530518.

We remind everyone that it is imperative that no-one comes to any of our services who has any of the following symptoms (or has had any such symptoms in the last 7 days) unless you have had a covid test and it has come back negative:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You also must not come to the building: 

  • if any of your family have had any of those symptoms unless they have had a covid test and it has come back negative, or 
  • if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, or 
  • if you have been told to self-isolate by your school or by Test and Trace.

Lastly, under Tier 4 rules, we must not approach one another to engage in conversations before or after the service, inside or outside the building, other than within our own personal bubbles.  Therefore we must all leave the church quickly after the service as directed by the stewards.  These are the conditions under which we are permitted to remain open for communal worship.


If you have signed up to come, but don't feel it is now right to come, please don't feel any embarrassment in not attending.

Whilst it is too short notice to change the numbers of places available for tomorrow's carol service, we will be reducing the number of places available for Christmas Day and all subsequent services until the infection rate in Bexley is brought back to a better level.  This will enable us to spread out still further around the church.

Services will continue to be live streamed, with the exception of Sun 27th Dec, when there will be a pre-recorded sermon and suggested YouTube songs to access in place of a regular service.  Therefore everyone is entirely free to weigh the risks and to decide for themselves whether or not they should attend church in person.


May you all have a blessed and safe Christmas.

Andy, on behalf of the deacons.


COVID-19 Update - 27th November 2020

We are pleased to say that our face to face meetings will resume on the 6th December.  You will need to book your place, click here for all the detials https://www.trinitybexleyheath.org.uk/christmas/christmas-services.php

Our Sunday morning service will continue to be broadcast on our YouTube channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8vTabe_7Y0_2Ka7BtCdRUQ and all the other detials of each service are here: https://www.trinitybexleyheath.org.uk/covid-19/coronavirus--sunday-services.php or via the COVID-19 tab above.

If you need any support - practical, spiritual or emotional – please do contact our pastoral care assistant via janet@trinitybexleyheath.org.uk


COVID-19 Update - 4th November 2020

Sadly, in order to comply with the new government restrictions coming in to force on Thursday 5th November, we can no longer meet together as a fellowship at Trinity. We pray that this current lockdown will be short and will quickly achieve the aim of protecting and supporting our NHS during this winter period. Our Sunday morning service will continue to be broadcast on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8vTabe_7Y0_2Ka7BtCdRUQ

Please do keep in touch with us during the next few weeks. We send out regular emails – if you would like to receive these please click here to give us your details: https://www.trinitybexleyheath.org.uk/contact-us/new-comers-form.php If you need any support - practical, spiritual or emotional – please do contact our pastoral care assistant via janet@trinitybexleyheath.org.uk


Reopening Update 11/09/20

We are pleased to say that our face to face Sunday morning services will resume on Sunday 13th September.  We have worked really hard to make Trinity as COVID safe as we can; if you would like to get an idea of what to expect, take a look at this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TpqsNb7b9Y&t=126s

Trinity members and friends have signed up to come to church on a rota basis.  There will be some space for visitors and new comers but numbers will sadly have to be limited, please do not be offended if we have to turn you away; it's important we stay at a safe number.


Reopening Update 28/08/20

I am pleased to write with news and details about when Trinity will resume our face to face Sunday meetings. There is a letter from Andy here which contains many details.  Please read and digest it before completing the response form here:  

https://forms.gle/4Wuxkkg14tKX7DUd7

Kind regards

Kerry

Church Administrator


Reopening Update 03/07/20

Although the government is allowing places of worship to reopen now, there is much work to be done in assessing the risks specific to Trinity's building and in ensuring that any return can be safely achieved within the rules and restrictions that the government has laid down.  Andy and the Deacons are working through the implications of these restrictions and will be consulting with members and friends before deciding when and how to re-open.  We do not envisage re-opening in any way before September at the earliest, and at that point any re-opening is likely to still look very different to how we experienced church before lockdown.


Coronavirus Update 01/05/20

Due to Covid-19, we have moved to online church services each Sunday.  Please visit our dedicated Covid page here for more details of our You Tube channel, which includes sung worship, a sermon / talk, a separate youth talk, and (once a month) a communion service.  You will also see material each week for children and their families, and some prayer resources and links.  

If you would like someone to pray for you or with you, please contact us here.  

The Foodbank remains open as usual on Mondays 1:00-3:30 pm - please use the door at the back of the church in Trinity Place.


Coronavirus - Trinity Update 17/03/20

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps 23:4)

Following the publication of new advice from the government around Covid-19 (“Coronavirus”), precluding non-essential gatherings, and also following subsequent advice from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, we have taken the difficult decision to close all activities run by Trinity Baptist Church, with immediate effect, until such time as the government advises that it is safe to resume meeting.  This closure includes: 

• Sunday services 

• All children’s and youth work

• All small groups

• Baby & Co. and 

• Oasis.  

• Cornerstone have also closed their activities.  

We intend to still write sermons and to email them out to everyone during the period when we are closed for Sunday services.  In time, we may look to record sermons and post them onto the website, but this may take a little time to put into action, so please bear with us.

Bexley Winter Shelter have been advised that they are considered an “essential service” and should remain open.  Likewise, Trussell Trust intend to continue to operate the Foodbank, more details on this to follow.

Kerry, our Administrator will not be working from the church office so should be contacted on 07801 627031 or kerry@trinitybexleyheath.org.uk

We'll post any updates to our Facebook page and this page when appropriate.