Coronavirus and COVID-19
Here you will find the most recent news relating to our church family. On the Worship at Home page and now also on the new Junior Church at Home page there's a growing collection of ideas and materials to support us as we worship "together but separately" in response to the health crisis.
In line with guidance from the Government and NHS and from the Methodist Church nationally it is with sadness we confirm that all our services and all regular activities in our church building are suspended until further notice.
Rather than try to update all the pages of our website which may be affected by these extraordinary circumstances, for the moment we will gather news and information on this page. You will also find helpful updates on the Sutton Park Circuit website.
Please remember it's only the church building that is out of action. WE are the church, and although for the moment we cannot meet together, we are still here and are very much in business.
If you are experiencing any difficulties or you need any help, let someone in the church family know your situation.
Getting in touch
Hospital visiting may be restricted. If you can't get to see someone in the QE, Heartlands, Solihull, and Good Hope hospitals you can email Revd Kathryn Darby of the UHB Chaplaincy Team or call and leave a message for the team on 0121 424 7676 or for Revd Kathryn on 0121 386 5612
For the moment, we can no longer deliver donations of food and toiletries to be distributed by Birmingham City Mission. As soon as we can, we will resume and their need by then will be critical. Please try to put something aside in readiness if you can so that we can make an urgent collection when circumstances change.
Weekly notices will still be produced and can be sent to you by email. If you don't already subscribe email the office and ask to go on the mailing list. We'll upload a copy of this week's edition here. It includes a note for us from Revd Stephen which is also printed below.
The Messenger, our monthly magazine will pause. But if there is anything you would normally share with the church family through the Messenger email it to the Messenger and/or the office and it can appear on the website or our Facebook page if you wish. If you have already sent us something for the April edition or later that you would like to share (either as it was or modified to reflect what has been happening) please let us know.
On Easter Day we will put up the usual cross outside church so people can decorate it with flowers. It is a joyous and visible signal of God’s love for us and our commitment to work for our brothers and sisters in our community, and people will be demonstrating that at this difficult time. Please do come and decorate the cross with a posy.
Click the button to email us anything you would like to add:
Week 3 hunkered down and still nothing more than “Wait”. It’s OK to wait, though. We don’t have to be busy all the time. We don’t have to compare ourselves with others who seem to be doing more. Don’t make life harder for others by doing more than your Boris-minimum! Scripturally, rest is part of being human. It’s what the Sabbath was all about. Take time to be still to be in the moment, and mindfully to recognise God in that stillness.
We’re still remembering. I’m not going to apologise even if this starts to get repetitive!
First of all, if you or anyone you know is in difficulty and needs help with shopping. medicines, posting letters or just a friendly phone call, please get in touch with me or one of the Stewards.
Secondly, please continue to phone each other up - those on your pastoral list; those you usually sit with for coffee after church; people you haven’t phoned for a while. Let’s continue to be church from the comfort of our armchairs! Half an hour of your time given in a phone call to a friend will make their day.
Thirdly, keep checking to see if there is any fresh news - it’s not good for one’s mental health to watch the news for hours on end, but you can make a regular commitment to at least one news programme each day. Those of you with Internet access please continue to check our church website for the very latest information.
Fourthly, remember to keep up your weekly/monthly giving. Keep stacking up those envelopes, or pay directly into the church bank account with your envelope number as a reference. Alternatively just make the switch to Standing Order and then you can it will all happen without you having to worry about it.
Fifthly, keep praying. Keeping reading your Bibles, and even keep singing! Ian has put details of lots of Worship At Home activities on the church website, so there should be something that works for you. Prayer can even be committed time in silence.
Recent changes in the Methodist Church this week include the closure of churches even for funerals. Synod has been cancelled, the “God In Love Unites Us” resolution have been deferred to 2021, and Conference will take a very different form in June.
Funerals are now limited to just 6 mourners, so the Methodist Church has prepared a sheet for people to use at home during the funeral of a friend. By creating a quiet space, lighting a candle and holding this gentle service of worship, reflection and prayer, we can feel a little closer to the service taking place in the crematorium or at the graveside.
With a Large Print version available here:
Here at Four Oaks, Ian continues to maintain the church website, Susie keeps these weekly email newsletters going, Peter is running his WhatsApp groups and Chris is standing by as First Responder to anyone who needs assistance. Now that Deacon Marilyn has returned she will be able to telephone, email and pray too.
In the mean time, keep safe, keep caring, keep praying.
A prayer sent to us by Revd Ian Howarth, Chair of the Birmingham District
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember the most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the ﬂexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no safe space to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the turmoil of economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet ﬁnd ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.