After much prayer and consideration, it has been decided to close the Ridgeway Centre in Wallingford for corporate worship for the time being. This decision has not been taken lightly, but after prayer and discussion and will be kept under constant review. On a practical front, we believe that we have done everything possible to ensure we have followed Covid guidelines and made the building as safe as possible. We trust that this has enabled those who have gathered to feel safe while worshipping together. However, with infections rising in the area, several people who have previously attended have decided to engage remotely. Additionally, at least one member of the tech team will soon have to withdraw due to the need to self-isolate. However, our over-riding concern is our witness to others, whether in the church or our wider community. I am often challenged by Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth (chapter 8). Here Paul commits not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Although he knows he is free to eat, Paul takes the harder route, in order that the exercise of his own freedom won’t be an obstacle to others. Therefore, given the gravitas of the present situation, we have decided that just because we are permitted to meet physically, we are not bound to do so. Instead, the vast majority of us will continue to meet together over Zoom and seek to serve those still unable or not wanting to gather in this way.
I am aware that this decision will be a relief to some and a frustration to others. We ask therefore that you will receive it with the heart with which it was made. In the meantime, can I please encourage you with these words.
Iurge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Although we are living through a dreadful season, let’s not shrink back, but take responsibility. As Jesus said; In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.(Matthew 5:16)