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Small Groups

 

HOW CAN SMALL GROUPS STILL ENGAGE

WHEN THEY CAN’T MEET?

(A RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 ADVICE)

 

In the light of recommendations from the UK government and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, it has been decided to suspend allphysicalHBC meetings, including small group meetings, immediately. This is very much in line with advice given by other mainstream denominations. Please seeOur Response to COVID-19’ further on in this document.

So, we cannot continue to physically meet in our small groups. BUT we want to help and inspire you to find ways to keep in touch with your members, for encouragement, prayer needs, interaction, practical support and more. Listed below are some things we can all do in our groups. These might seem obvious and basic suggestions, but research shows they are very effective.

 

ZOOM MEETINGS & ONLINE BIBLE STUDIES

Zoomis one of several online tools that will enable us to hold “virtualmeetings. The leadership team met this week, with several members who were unable to be there, still able to connect, see everyone, and contribute their thoughts to the meeting, through this technology.

Basically, you can set up your own Zoom meeting/study and then invite others who have online facilities to join the meeting at your chosen date and time. Using mobile phones, laptops, iPads, etc., everyone who joins the meeting can see everyone else who has joined, and everyone can join in the conversation, all from the comfort of their own homes!

This could be a great way to keep in contact. Even if you don’t use it for Bible studies, it may be something that you would find useful to use every now and then, just to “get together”, albeit not physically. Here is a link which gives details as to how to set up a Zoom meeting, but if anyone struggles with the set-up process, please contact me (Lesley) and I will do all I can to help you get going. I am learning myself, but am totally sold on the idea of it. We can do this TOGETHER!

Link to setting up a Zoom meeting:

https://oit.colorado.edu/tutorial/zoom-host-meeting-and-invite-participants

 

WHATSAPP

For anyone who has aSmartmobile phone, this is such an easy and effective way to communicate with friends and loved ones, if you are unable to actually spend time with them. It’s a bit like sending a text, but with no cost! All that is needed is that you download WhatsApp from the App Store on your phone, click on ‘New Group’ and follow the steps to start a group and invite people to be part of it. Once the group is set up, you can use it to message everyone in the group, and they can all

respond, or message you or anyone else in the group – everyone in the group can see and comment on anything! Again, ring me if you want help setting up a WhatsApp group – it takes literally a couple of minutes, and I can talk you through doing it. (Ring me on your landline, but have your mobile with you too.)

 

TELEPHONE CALLS

Maintaining regular contact with your group members, can be so reassuring to anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated. Encouraging everyone in the group to do this is even better. Our Pastoral Care deacon is looking into ways to ensure that the most vulnerable in our church are contacted as often as possible, but we can do this too in our groups – nobody is going to mind getting extra calls, but we want to avoid anyone feeling that they are on their own, afraid, isolated and fearful. Pick up the phone – even just to chat!

 

PRACTICAL HELP

Offering practical help to someone who is self-isolating, can provide reassurance to them that their needs are being taken care of. It also helps them to feel loved and befriended, and just knowing that someone cares enough and is there for them with simple acts of kindness, goes a long way. Remember to follow the guidelines by minimising close contact where necessary, e.g. shopping can be left on the doorstep.

 

SPIRITUAL INPUT

We can use all of any of the above to encourage each other spiritually, with Bible verses, online studies, prayer requests and assurances of prayer.

 

 

THOSE WITHOUT ONLINE FACILITIES

Some of the above suggestions are only available to those with online access. But that is where things like telephoning and offering practical help are so important – and not just to those without online facilities. Everyone can benefit from a quick chat or a call from someone ringing to see if they need help.

 


‘Our Response to COVID-19’

(from our Pastor, Martin Shorey)

Yesterday evening the church leadership team met to discuss the church’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the light of recommendations from the UK government and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, it has been decided to suspend all ‘physical’ meetings immediately. This is very much in line with advice given by other mainstream denominations.

This will mean that there will be no Sunday services, no home groups, no children’s work, and no use of our buildings by hirers.

However, we have been exploring ways to continue being ‘church’ during this time of isolation, and we are excited about the ways in which God will deepen our relationship with Him and each other, whilst also reaching out to a much larger and broader group of people than we have ever managed to before.

We will be live-streaming a Sunday service, and there will be other opportunities to tune-in and receive words of challenge and encouragement. Please make sure you have liked the HBC Facebook page (www.facebook.com/horleybaptistchurch/) where most of the action will happen. We are also looking at how we minister to those who don’t have internet access, so watch this space!

Naturally we are particularly concerned for the welfare of the most vulnerable in our church community and beyond. Whilst we will be putting in place pastoral care during this time, we would encourage you to look out for each other, as well as your neighbours. If you are fortunate enough to not be in a ‘vulnerable’ group we ask that you look at ways in which you can serve those who are house-bound, both practically and through phone calls. Please see further below a flyer you may wish to put through neighbours’ doors, offering your help and support at this time.

We understand that this is a worrying and troubling time, but I would encourage you to take these words of Jesus to heart…

“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 14:27