We had previously announced that our morning Sunday services would continue during lockdown.  It was also explained that this was under constant review. Last night (Tuesday 19 January) the elders and deacons met to review the last two weeks and plan for the weeks ahead. The following video outlines our plan.  The transcript for the video can be found below.  

Two weeks ago I shared a video in which I explained the plans we had formed for our church services here at Beccles Baptist Church following the announcement of the national lockdown by the government. We explained in that video, having been granted the opportunity to make the decision as to whether we would continue to meet physically or not, we had decided as elders and deacons that we would continue to meet physically for our morning services at 9:15am and 11:15am but that we would cease to meet physically for our evening services at 6:30pm and move them online only. 

We made plain in that video that that decision was going to be under constant review and subject to change should the situation change before us.  We planned to meet two weeks after making that decision and that meet happened last night (Tuesday 19 January). We, as elders and deacons, met to discuss what we should do going forward, reviewing the last two weeks.

Before I explain the decision that we reached allow me to map out the situation both locally and what things have looked like in our church services. 

Locally it would seem that the case rate numbers, the incidence of Coronavirus, peaked just before last weekend.  So those were numbers in Beccles specifically (realising that some people are travelling from further afield than Beccles) there were around 550 cases per 100,000 at the start of the weekend.  The case rate number has now dropped to 200 cases per 100,000.  So, it would seem that the numbers have peaked and that they are coming down now. We understand that that can change, but that is the current picture.  (These numbers were taken from the following government website which gives up-to-date data on local areas.)

Then when it comes to our church services they have been attended by around half the number of people who would come to the services physically before the lockdown (down to around 35 from around 70).  That indicates both that the morning services are viable, greatly appreciated by those that have come and they are not chock-full.  But it also indicates that people have felt empowered and enabled to stay away if they have felt that that is wisest.  We’ve only had one person who has come who is over 70.  So, we are convinced that the services are safe and that people are exercising good and godly wisdom as they try to work out what is best for them.

When it comes to the people serving at our services, the only people attending multiple service are myself (Tom), Peter and Beth – the staff team at church.  Also, Matthew has been helping livestream both in the morning and the evening services. 

So, what’s our plan going forwards? Having reviewed the situation locally and in the services, our plan is as follows.  We are going to continue to meet in the building physically for our services online at 9:15am and 11:15am and we will continue to stream the 11:15am service online.  Our evening service at 6:30pm will continue to meet online only at this stage.

Again, we want to say that this situation is under constant review.  So, if the situation should change, either with the incidence rate of Coronavirus spiking or the government advice change we will obviously review the decision that we have made.  Should things change we will, of course, let you know. 

To that end we, as elders and deacons, are planning on meeting again in two weeks' time on Tuesday 2 February.  Can I please ask you to pray for us that we would be wise as we prayerfully and carefully work out what is best working forward. But please also pray for us as a church family that God will unite us, help us love and serve one another wisely and well. And that God might continue to sustain us through these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get in touch with me either by telephone or email you’re very welcome.  And if you can’t find either of those please use the contact form on the church website.

Many thanks, Tom (on behalf of the elders and deacons of Beccles Baptist Church)