Services Update

Coronavirus update:
14th March 2020 – our service tomorrow is scheduled to proceed as normal.  Please find below comments from our Moderator.  The situation will be kept under review and we will post information regarding forthcoming services as soon as possible.

We would stress that it is vital that we follow the advice given by government in the jurisdiction in which we live, and comply with the specific recommendations given by the HSE.

CHURCH SERVICES
The Taoiseach’s guidance, in addition to closure of schools, colleges and other public facilities, is that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 should be cancelled. In our congregations and wider church activities we need to comply with this guidance.

  • If your expected congregation is more than 100 we ask that you, along-with your elders, decide how best to proceed – you may for instance decide to have two services, cap the number at 100, meet in smaller groups etc.
  • If your expected congregation is less than 100 we ask that when you gather for worship you comply with HSE guidance with regard to hand hygiene, distancing and refraining from handshakes etc.
  • Members of congregations should be advised to stay at home if they feel ill and display influenza–like symptoms, or if they have been advised to self-isolate. They should not come to church services or activities until they are well.
  • We know that many are anxious, especially those in vulnerable groupings, and therefore ask you to emphasise that, while church services are held within the guidelines, no-one should feel under pressure to attend. Indeed, we recognise that the leadership of some congregations may feel it wise to cancel their church services for the next few weeks. In current circumstances however, the worship of God, including in a corporate sense, is important for all of us as Christians. Members who are unable to attend their local church could therefore be encouraged to avail of broadcast and on-line worship services.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES AND ORGANISATIONS

  •  The government direction, regarding no indoor gatherings over 100 people, of course applies to all activities connected to our congregations. For instance, this applies to parents’ nights of uniformed organisations, planned concerts or fund-raising activities, special church events etc
  • Specifically, with regard to funerals and weddings, the government direction regarding no indoor gatherings over 100 people, also applies even in these special pastoral contexts. Obviously, these are potentially emotive situations where wise and sensitive local leadership will be necessary. Specific government guidance regarding funerals should of course be followed.
  • In light of the government decision to close schools, it could well be wise to postpone church youth and children’s organisations and activities during the same period, even if these are smaller in number.
  • Regarding other ‘under 100’ mid-week church activities and organisations for adults or all-age groupings, a balance needs to be struck. We need to be wise in seeking to reduce any undue risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus. We also need to recognise that some of our church activities provide important fellowship and support for many people.
  • When possible try to ascertain if there have been any symptoms of the Coronavirus in a home where a visit is intended, or if people are self-isolating.  If such symptoms exist it is best not to visit in person, but make contact by telephone or online (eg Skype). The Church’s duty of care extends to you and other members of pastoral care staff.
  • Special care should be taken when visiting hospitals, residential and nursing homes – this should ideally be kept to essential visits only. The advice on the Public Health website should be followed (checking regularly for updates), as well as local advice.

This is a rapidly changing situation. It is therefore important to stress that congregations should follow all public health guidance provided by state authorities. Please keep up to date with government guidance at hse.ie, hpse.ie and gov.ie

Finally, in moments like these we are reminded of the powerful words of the Psalmist in Psalm 45 vs. 1-5 which reminds us of the refuge and the strength we find in the Lord. As we look to God, and encourage others to find their hope in Him, let us help and pray for one another.

Yours in His service,
Moderator of the General Assembly

Church Service

EVERY SUNDAY
at 10.30 am
During July and August, the service will begin at 10.15 am and tea/coffee will be served afterwards.