25/01/2022: Further important COVID-19 information

We mentioned that we would review and update you all on the current situation with regards to the COVID-19 regulations following the latest easing of restrictions from the Government announcement last week. You may be aware that the Government have said that England will revert to Plan A from Thursday 27th Jan and that face masks are no longer mandatory within public places. The Baptist Union continue to advise that ‘it is both sensible and appropriate for churches to take some measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 and we trust churches are already engaged in considering how to make events accessible and safe for all’.

The leadership team met last night for a time of prayer, to discuss the current situation and to seek a way forward following the new announcement. We all agreed that we should proceed with caution and that we will look to reintroduce the following:
• Refreshments will be served after services.
• The weekly offering will recommence from Sunday 30th Jan. We give thanks to God for his gracious provision. May it be used to serve Him in our community and beyond.
• The worship team will look to increase. We give thanks for their leading as we worship our amazing God.
• Fellowship lunches will recommence – date to be confirmed.

We still recommend that, wherever possible, you undertake a lateral flow test prior to attending a service to check for asymptomatic cases and that you do not attend if you feel unwell or have a positive test result and to seek medical advice. The leadership team will continue to review the situation and make further announcements should anything change.

We are not completely COVID free, and probably never will be. It’s fair to say that we should make every effort to minimise risks where we can. As Jesus commanded, we are to love one another, we must also respect those that still wish to wear a face mask and continue to be kind to each other, to listen well, and to compromise accordingly.

Please do get in touch if you would like to have further conversations on this or any other matter.

God bless

David
On behalf of the Leadership team.

04/01/2022: Important COVID-19 update

We mentioned that we would review and update you all on the current situation with regards to the COVID-19 regulations following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. You may be aware that the Government and the Baptist Union said that face masks are mandatory within places of worship with some exceptions. The Baptist Union also advised that ‘it is both sensible and appropriate for churches to take some measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 and we trust churches are already engaged in considering how to make events accessible and safe for all’.

The leadership team met last night for a time of prayer, to discuss the current situation and to seek ways of minimising the risk of infection during our services and events. It is vital that we all do our utmost and make it a high priority in reducing the spread of infection. Therefore, we, the leadership team, have agreed that we must all:

  • Wear face coverings at all times, whilst in the building (those that are exempt from wearing face coverings for medical reasons must consider the risks to themselves and the effect on others before attending a service or an event).
  • Refreshments have been suspended and we advise that conversations after the service should take place outside where you’ll be able to remove your face covering.
  • The worship team will go back to vocal + keys as this could reduce transmission by 50% with one singer, not two. We will also have a mix of pre-recorded songs.
  • Those that lead from the front will continue to take regular lateral flow tests.

We also strongly recommend that, wherever possible, you undertake a lateral flow test prior to attending a service to check for asymptomatic cases and that you do not attend if you feel unwell or have a positive test result and to seek medical advice.

The leadership team will review the situation in 3 weeks and make further announcements once we receive more guidance or should anything change.

Please do get in touch if you would like to have further conversations on this or any other matter.

God bless

David
On behalf of the leadership team

10/12/2021: COVID-19 update

Further to last week’s update and as seen on TV we bring more important information.

The Baptist Union have an update after clarification from the government. it simply states that face coverings are now mandatory in places of worship.

The paragraph from the Government email goes on to say: “the legal requirement to wear face masks in certain public indoor venues will be extended to our places of worship and some other public spaces. However, there are exemptions for those leading a service or giving a reading, and there is a reasonable excuse exemption which allows people to remove a face covering whilst singing if they wish to do so. Exemptions for those unable to wear masks, again familiar from earlier this year, will also be provided.” further to this, they continue to say: “From this Friday 10 December, face coverings will be mandatory again in most indoor settings, including shops. There will be exemptions where it is not practical, such as when eating, drinking, exercising or singing.”

So for Swallownest Baptist Church that means we are obliged to pass on what the Government tell us, we seek guidance from the Baptist Union and make decisions. Therefore we would kindly ask that you continue to wear face coverings during singing to demonstrate loving pastoral concern for all who attend.

Let us remain calm, at peace and do the right thing. Also a reminder for those attending services, that the doors will remain open for ventilation purposes. Dress appropriately and feel free to bring a blanket.

We thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and support during these difficult times. Please do get in touch if you would like to have further conversations on this or any other matter.

God bless

David
On behalf of the leadership team

03/12/2021: COVID-19 update

We mentioned that we would review and update you all on the current situation with regards to the COVID-19 regulations following the spread of a new variant. The Government issued new guidelines regarding the wearing of face coverings earlier this week. The Baptist Union has said that nothing has changed for churches at present, but they have offered the following guidance:

‘Updated Government guidance on face coverings does not make it mandatory to wear face coverings in churches in England, though we note the ongoing recommendation that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces. Wearing face coverings remains mandatory in churches in Wales, as it has been throughout 2021.
We continue to suggest that it is both sensible and appropriate for churches to take some measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 and we trust churches are already engaged in considering how to make Christmas events accessible and safe for all’.

We have always said that it is an individual choice to wear face coverings and we still encourage you to do so. We are also monitoring the rise of infections in the area and how that may affect the upcoming services. We are making alternative plans to minimise any disruptions and ask that you all continue to be sensible and consider everyone’s health.

In addition to what we are already doing we remind you that external doors will be open to help with ventilation. We advise that you dress appropriately for the winter conditions and bring additional layers for warmth such as a blanket. We also recommend that, wherever possible, you undertake a lateral flow test prior to attending a service to check for asymptomatic cases.

Finally, and most importantly, if you are at all unwell, please do not attend the services and seek medical advice.

We will make further announcements once we receive more guidance or should anything change.

We thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and support during these difficult times. Please do get in touch if you would like to have further conversations on this or any other matter.

God bless

David
On behalf of the leadership team

20/07/2021: Important update on our services

The Trustees met yesterday evening to discuss the easing of legal Covid-19 restrictions, the Baptist Union recommendations and what last week’s announcements mean for Swallownest Baptist Church.
 
As restrictions ease, we are all aware that many of you will be looking forward to worshipping together freely as a church family.  However, we are also aware that many of you will be increasingly wary or anxious, as we hear about some of the highest case numbers so far, and hospital admissions and deaths both rising. Last week, Professor Chris Whitty said that the UK is not out of the woods yet and that people should proceed with caution.

We therefore aim to set out a way forward, for the short term, that reflects not only our desire to be “normal”, but also our desire to care for every member of the church family and wider community. The Trustees agree with the Baptist Union, who recommends “that it is both sensible and appropriate for churches to continue to take some measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.” With this in mind, we believe the following measures are reasonable and will be in place from Sunday 25th July:

  • There is no need to book a seat for the service. We will keep a record of who attends for track and trace purposes. We will keep the list for a few weeks before destroying it.
  • No social distancing will be required. You can sit with, and talk to, whoever you like in the building! Please be sensitive of others, though. whereas some people will be ready for hugs and kisses, others will want to sit alone.
  • We continue to strongly advise that face coverings are worn in the building throughout the service.
  • Singing will now be allowed – ideally from behind a face covering.
  • We will continue to maximise the ventilation through the building by having as many doors open as possible.
  • We will continue to provide hand sanitiser on entry and exit of the building, and would encourage its use.
  • For the two communion services in August (1st and 15th) we will continue with the current arrangements of “bring your own”

We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation over the following weeks, and will make adjustments to these procedures as soon as we feel we can.

We are looking forward to seeing you again, when the time is right for you. We will continue to livestream our Sunday worship for those people who feel uncomfortable attending in person, or who are unable to do so.
 
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the above, or if you need anything.
 
God bless,
The Trustees

03/03/2021: Important news!

You’ll all be aware of the Government setting out a road map, easing the restrictions of the current lockdown. We’re writing with some information about how things may change for us at Swallownest Baptist Church over the next month or so.

We took the difficult decision to cease in-person services in January due the increasing rate of infection and the National Lockdown. We were also guided and supported by the Baptist Union in that decision. As the government releases its roadmap, the guidance from the Baptist Union has also altered. Their latest advice suggests “churches consider their own plans for re-opening and take the decisions that are appropriate for their own local circumstances. Reflecting the still significant levels of cases and risk posed to the community and given that the general ‘Stay at Home’ rule remains in place in England until 29 March, it is reasonable for churches to choose to stay closed at this stage.

Having considered this advice, the Trustees have decided to keep live-streaming only throughout March, while the National Lockdown is in force. Once the ‘Stay at Home’ order is lifted (from Monday 29th March 2021) we are pleased to announce that we will resume in-person services and some group activities, with the same restrictions as we had at the end of 2020. Our first Sunday service with a limited congregation will therefore be on Sunday 4th April (more details will follow closer to the time).

It is important to remind ourselves that we have come this far without a COVID-19 fatality within our immediate church family. Let us not blow it now by ignoring the restrictions; we may not enjoy them, but they are in place for our health and safety. It is worth reminding everyone of the restrictions that church attendance will be under:

  • A booking system is in place, on a “first come first served” basis. We use the sanctuary first and then use the school room once we are at capacity.
  • The details that you provide when booking your seat will be kept secure and are only used for track and trace purposes. These details will be destroyed after 21 days.
  • A 2-metre social distancing rule remains in force.
  • There cannot be any socialising whilst in the building.
  • Face masks must be worn. Face shields or visors are not an alternative to face coverings, because they do not securely cover the nose and mouth. If someone wishes to wear a face shield, they must also wear a face covering underneath unless the person is exempt for health reasons.
  • Congregational singing is not yet permitted.
  • Please be aware that if you attend the building you may be in camera shot, although this is likely to be the back of your head.

We understand that many of you will be cautious or uneasy about returning under these current restrictions and would prefer to stay away. That’s fine – we will continue to livestream the services, which will continue to be available on our YouTube channel.

Finally, please get in touch with  if you would like to discuss any of the above points. Please continue to pray and support your team leaders and each other.

Yours in Christ,
The Trustees

06/01/2021: Important news

As we enter another national lockdown and as the infection and death rates climb, we need to be ever more vigilant and do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The Baptist Union issued a statement in light of the Government’s announcement on 4th January regarding the national lockdown in England. The statement reads:

“We strongly encourage churches not to open their buildings for in-person meeting if at all possible.

We recognise that the Government guidelines allow churches to remain open in England during this period; however, given the significant increase in numbers of Covid-19 infections and pressure on the NHS, we advise churches to stand with the wider community in making every effort to limit the spread of the virus.

We know that geographical contexts differ across England and we are aware that the decision lies with the local church. Nonetheless we are mindful of the pressure church leaders are under and the greater risk taken by all those involved in hosting open buildings for whom we have a duty of care.

This is a changing situation and we very much hope this will be our advice for only a short period.

In light of this advice, the Trustees met last night to discuss the best way of minimising risks and the spread of the virus. It is with very heavy hearts that we announce that we are ceasing in-person meetings with immediate effect. Let us be clear that none of the Trustees are happy about having to take this decision. However, we all deem that it would be irresponsible to continue meeting just because we can. We know that ceasing to meet together is a sacrifice, and for those who already feel isolated this is a huge ask.

We will continue to livestream our services from the building albeit with a reduced team, in order to reduce the risk of infection for all concerned.

Our freedom to worship and witness must always be held in tension with love. As Christians, we have always had something profound to say about the nature of sacrifice and selflessness. At this time when our society is speaking and relearning the language of laying down their life for their friends, it would be deeply ironic if we put our own need to worship in person before the common good. In the sacrifice of losing a Sunday gathering, we believe, we join with our communities to ease the strain on the NHS and save the lives of friends and strangers.

Please do get in touch if you need any assistance. We will do our best to help you.

Let us stand together in the hope we have in Christ and we are praying for all at this difficult time.

God bless,

David
On behalf of the leadership team.

03/12/2020: Latest update

The national lockdown has ended and we have return to a tiered system. The government has been clear that this is not a return to the old tiers of October, but that they have been replaced with more stringent restrictions. The things we are all allowed to do are slightly different. As a leadership team, we have always tried to give priority to the safety of our church members and our community, as well as having concern for the vulnerable within the congregation.

The latest rules allow us to continue to broadcast acts of worship, so we are able to continue livestreaming on YouTube on Sunday morning from within the church building.  Those involved in transmitting the service are able to be inside the church building, so please do continue to join us from home.

With that said, we look forward to reopening the doors on Sunday 6th December, for those who want to watch the service from the building. Just like before, you can attend a service by booking your place. People need to book because our building size and layout restricts us from safely accommodating large numbers of people in a Covid-secure way. Services are currently limited to twenty people.

We will continue to meet online throughout the week, and hold as many activities as possible in this alternative way.

If you would like to be kept up to date with the very latest news and details on our events and meetings, please get in touch.

01/11/2020: Latest update

We have recently been excited to be able to have people back in the building for our Sunday morning service and some other midweek events. However due to the latest government announcement, yesterday evening, we once again have to close our building during the national lockdown period until the 2nd December. 

The latest rules do still allow us to broadcast acts of worship, so we are able to continue livestreaming on YouTube on Sunday morning from within the church building.  Only those involved in transmitting the service are able to be inside the church building, so please do continue to join us from home.

05/10/2020: Live streaming and update on re-opening of building

We are now live on YouTube on Sunday morning as we bring the service from the church building via livestreaming. All of the service (except for the worship songs which are still pre-recorded) is now being broadcast live rather than recorded in advance. At present only those involved in transmitting the service are able to be inside the church building, so please do continue to join us from home.

We are however in the early stages of re-opening the church building, and look forward to starting to be able to invite people to return to the building. After so many months away, we are really excited about the opportunity to be able to bring people back again. We hope to run some meetings in future from within our school room to the side of the main church. Please get in touch if you would like to be kept up to date with fuller details on this.

06/09/2020: Re-opening the building

A video update on the re-opening of the church building was provided as part of the weekly notices in our Sunday morning online YouTube service. Those on our church email distribution list will also have received a follow up email with further information and a questionnaire for providing feedback.

17/08/2020: Update on return to our building

As a leadership team, we want to assure you that we are continuing to monitor the current situation with the pandemic and looking at ways of how we could prepare for a return to our building. This will take time and a considerable amount of work. We will send some information and a questionnaire out to you in the very near future, which will assist us as we make these important decisions. Please do get in touch if you want to discuss this further.

06/07/2020: End of midweek devotions

We will be drawing the midweek devotions to a close at the end of July. After prayerful consideration we felt that it is time to move onto new ventures. We want to thank all of you for tuning in each week and for your prayers and support over the months. However, you can access other devotions and podcasts via the internet and Ben has put a short video together with some really helpful information.

26/05/2020: COVID-19 update

Rob, Ben, and I have been praying and talking a lot about the months ahead.

Please do take your time to read this document, that contains some important information outlining our plans over the next weeks and months, ahead of the easing of lock down restrictions. Please get in touch if you have any questions.

A video presentation of this update is also available. This has been sent out to those on our church email distribution list. It has also been posted on our internal ‘News and Info’ Facebook page, for those who are members of this group.

Please continue to pray about the situation and for each other. For now though, do take great care, stay safe and God bless.

Grace and peace, Rev David Skeet (On behalf of the leadership team)

17/05/2020: No Internet, no problem!

We have set up a dedicated telephone service for those who have no internet connection and are unable to watch our YouTube videos or access our online recordings. This plays the same audio recordings that are made available each week through our website.

Simply dial our dedicated local number on a telephone, listen to the short introductory message and then press 1 for our latest Sunday Service, or press 2 for our latest Weekly Devotional. Calls are charged at standard UK local rate. If you have free minutes on your phone package it may be included, but if in doubt please check first with your phone service provider. Please note that we aim to update the audio files, on both our website and this telephone service, within 24 hours of their original release on YouTube each Sunday and Monday.

0114 478 2697

Do please pass this on to any family, friends or neighbours that this might help.

14/04/2020: Update – Online Church

The weekly devotional is now online! We will be uploading it on a Monday each week so that you can access it at whichever point in the week is best for you.

We will continue to meet together on a Sunday at 10.30am for our main service of the week, this week (Sun 19th April) Olivia will begin a series on Ephesians chapter 1 and we will be taking communion. Make sure you have your own bread and wine ready to join with our church family for this special time.

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and click on the little bell to get notifications when we post something new

There are lots of other online places where you can access scriptures and teaching too. Here is a link to a blast from the past – Ben giving us the lowdown on where we can get our online spiritual food.

As well as this the House Groups are now starting to get into the swing of meeting without meeting. Being part of a House Group is a great way to develop more in depth friendships with each other and with God. We’d like to encourage you to engage with whatever your House Group is doing over this time at home and if you are not yet part of a House group, but would like to be, please contact a member of the Eldership who will be able to help you find a place that will suit you.

04/04/2020: Join us for our Sunday Service & information on our Easter Services

Join us for worship and teaching tomorrow at 10.30am.  We will be taking communion so please have your bread and wine ready.

This will b