Being Wallingford Baptist Church 

Dear all,
Now we cannot gather publicly as a church, how are we being Wallingford Baptist Church at this time? Below are the plans for the next few days and going forward
Saturday 21st
7am to 3pm the church will be open tomorrow for individuals to come and pray for our world, country, church and ourselves at this time. We will livestream some prayer for you to join in with from 11am to 12pm. This can be accessed from our website or Facebook page. If you would like to know how to do this do call me.
Sunday 22nd
10:30am There will NOT be a service at church but we will livestream a simple service. Again please access this via our website or Facebook and if you can please participate by adding comments. We will be doing a children’s slot and will be suggesting an activity for them during the sermon slot. So please have paper and pens at hand.
7pm Call to light a candle and pray in our homes. ‘Churches Together’ are calling us all to pray for our country. We will do this by encouraging as many of us as possible at 7pm to Light a Candle in a window of our homes and pray the Lord’s prayer and then praying with those in your homes. For those who are not vulnerable we would ask you to think about joining with one other family (as still allowed) to do this together. If you cannot join with another family we suggest at 7:10pm you call  a friend and neighbor and pray for them. We will be sending out a short liturgy and poster to put in your window if you are able.
Monday 23th & Tuesday 24th
10am to 12pm – the church will be open for individuals to pray (we are setting up the main church as a prayerspace) and as a place to the meet needs of individuals. Esther and I will be there to speak with you and deal with any immediate concerns or worries. We will be observing safe distancing practices.
12pm – Daily prayer. As Pastors we will be taking it in turn to livestream daily prayers at midday. Do join in with us. We will also be suggesting children’s resources each day that your family could engage with after the prayers. If you would prefer resources to do this on your own and not via live streaming do let me know.
Weds 25th – Fri 27th
12pm – Daily prayer. As Pastors we will be taking it in turn to livestream daily prayers at midday. Do join in with us. We will also be suggesting children’s resources each day that your family could engage with after the prayers.
The church will be available at all other times as a place to pray. You can access the church via the key safe but please follow guidelines that will be there.
Lifegroups and youth groups
All other groups will not meet until further notice but Life groups/missional groups/youth groups will hopefully meet virtually. We are encouraging groups to meet over their computers or tablets by some software called Zoom once a week. (If you are a group leader we are planning a virtual workshop on setting up and using Zoom early next week - Esther will be in touch). Your group leader should be sending out information next week of how you can set this up. But if you are worried about this or need help setting it up please do ask.
Lifegroups and youth groups will also be our main way to care for you and meet your needs at this time. They will maintain regular contact in a way that is appropriate for you and your group. If you are not part of a group or unsure of what group you are part of please do get in touch with me. But of course feel free to contact myself or Esther at anytime if we can help.
What is God saying to us through this?
As Pastor I have been seeking the Lord as to what He is saying through this and what should our response be. I will be sharing at various times in various ways what this may be (do check out my youtube channel).
But today I lay before you Hebrews 10:

A call to persevere in faith
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, 25 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.

As I have been praying my natural response (as many of us) is to try and fix the problem. And so I have been frantically trying to fix things so we can carry on as normally as possible as church and as our family. However I have been challenged by Isaiah 26 and Matthew 6:6 that we cannot fix the problem and that the Lord is calling us to simply humble ourselves and pray and as we do this the Lord may heal and revive our nation. So let us hear what the Lord is saying and not just fill our time with other things (even good things) let us go into our rooms, shut the door and pray.  So from this scripture I believe the Lord is saying:

  1. Pray – you do not need anything or anybody to access the presence of our heavenly Father. You just need to shut yourself away and pray. (Seems like self-isolation) and as you do that the Lord will teach you to pray. So as you change your routines please set in times of prayer for you and your household. The Anglicans are calling their church back to daily prayer which is 3 times a day. How about us? Morning, Midday (our livestream may help) and Evening Prayers. Use your working from home/social distancing to prioritise what is important (not Netflix boxsets, nor gaming and apps not even more social media) but prayer and simplicity.
  2. Persevere – hold onto your faith, your assurance of Salvation and hope in the resurrection and eternal life. Turn to the bible to reassure you. Pray the Promises
  3. Practical Love – by letting people know you care. Sharing resources. How about keep on giving generously to the Foodbank with food or time?
  4. People – why are we told to meet together. It seems to me it is not for the Lord (we can join in the prayers and worship of heaven anytime and amywhere) but to encourage one another into that ‘secret place’. We cannot do that by meeting as a church on Sunday morning but we can do that through meeting by phone or virtually – so let us see technology of doing worship differently but as encouraging each other into the disciplines of prayer and entering the presence of God.
  5. Parousia – The Lord is coming again. We are people of hope. We are not afraid of death nor the future. So let us try and overflow with hope and joy. Put on worship songs – and if you have children how about these silly songs!

I believe the Lord is preparing us for a revival in our nation. It will come as His people pray and as our nation is humbled. Let us pray that good may come from this terrible crisis.

Do keep in touch with me.
Warmly in Jesus,