Dear Church Family...
This is going to be a quite a long email... It was going to be full
of the good news of church re-opening for physical services, but
we've also had two shocks and heart-aches during this week...
In my check-in on Wednesday, many of
you learned of the sudden and unexpected death of Robin Catterick.
Robin was in the Waterglen Shopping centre on Wednesday morning
getting a cooldrink and snack when he collapsed and subsequently
succumbed to a massive heart attack. Robin and his family Sharon,
Tayla and Jamie have been members for many years and Robin served on
our Board of Management.
Then, on Friday morning early, Heloise Sachse, a regular at our
Grace congregation passed away after a being diagnosed a month ago
with stage four pancreatic cancer which had spread rampantly. These
deaths have shaken us to the core and our hearts go out to the
families of Robin and Heloise.
If you haven't watched it yet, I want to encourage you to watch the
check-in on our you-tube channel as I speak about how we cope with
these kind of losses that take our breath away. You can contact me
for a link if you can't find it. (I can't put too many links in this
email otherwise it gets blocked by service providers...)
Heloise's daughter and family are well
supported by their church family, but many of you have asked about
what they can do for Sharon and her girls. I have talked to Sharon
who has asked that we allow her and her extended family some time to
process and find their feet in this time. If you would like to do
something, you could provide a frozen meal in a disposable
container and drop it off with Brenda (Please do not
drop your meals off at the Catterick home.)
Please also take time to read the "Guidelines for Caring for People
in Bereavement" that I have added below...
"Lord God, you know how our hearts break with all the pain and
heartache we see around us. Please be with the families of Robin
and Heloise and surround them with your healing comfort and love.
In Jesus' mighty name. Amen."
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We have to keep a register of attendees and this will be very
time-consuming at the door and so we have an on-line booking form.
Please, please, please use this - it will save a lot of time and
congestion at our entrance!!!
We will begin restarting our Services this Sunday.
Our elders have agreed on a cautious and incremental approach,
moving forward thoughtfully and keeping our concern for others and
our community foremost. We do not ever want to be labelled as a
"super-spreader" church as has happened in Korea, the USA, France
and Germany. We will err on the side of caution - not out of fear
- but out of great consideration for the health and safety of
We will begin with one service this
Sunday and we will continue our online services. As time passes
and we get more acquainted with our new normal, we will increase
our services, re-open the Sunday School and other activities. In
my mid-week check-in I spoke about adopting a pioneer attitude and
looking for innovative ways to function in these challenging
times. I especially want to encourage fellowship groups and people
living near each other to have "watch parties" or "house church"
where you gather in small groups to worship together in that way.
Just because we can't gather in big groups doesn't mean that we
can't gather. We'll just de-centralise!
Here's how Sunday morning 8h30 at Emmanuel will work:
- You will need wear your mask throughout the service.
- Your temperature will be checked and you will be asked to
sanitise your hands.
- 50% of the seating has been removed to provide social
distancing which gives us a limit of 140.
- Households will be able to sit together.
- You are required to maintain responsible physical distance
(no hugging or hand-shaking)
- Only one service will be held on Sunday.
- There will not be Sunday School - our service will be a
- There will not be Tea and Coffee afterwards.
- Please bring your own Bible and crayons/pencils for your
kids. We'll provide a worksheet for them.
- You might want to bring a blanket for younger kids to sit on
if they'd prefer.
- We gently and humbly recommend that those who are older than
sixty or have Covid risk-factors consider staying at home.
You should NOT attend if:
- you have recently travelled to or from a Covid High risk
- you have been in contact with someone who has tested Covid
positive in the last 14 days
- you have fever, chills, body-ache or other flu-like symptoms
- you have a dry cough
- you have experienced a loss of taste or smell
- you have difficulty in breathing (outside of existing
PLEASE HELP US...
It's at https://bit.ly/3iMj7Kq
Many of you have expressed your love and concern for me... It has
been a challenging time. Who would have thought that when I preached
on Jeremiah running with horses, I would be preaching to myself!!
We've had the break-in at the church, a conference that I am
organising and this week these two very sad losses, a funeral and
all the arrangements for re-opening. I am sad and tired, but it
is well with my soul. I am profoundly grateful for my many
blessings which includes a caring church family. Thank you for your
love and especially for your prayers.
It turns out that our October Theme of "Overcoming" is going to be
That's all for now everyone. Please do have a look at my bereavement
With lots of love,
Guidelines for caring for / visiting those who
Phone calls are hard. SMS messages,
whatsapps, emails, cards, notes are better - but please don't
expect or ask for a reply... I cannot emphasise this strongly
Find out whether there is a needy cause or
fund that the families would like to make a donation to before
spending money on flowers.
If you visit... (Please don't rush to do
Remember that the grieving process is a
roller-coaster. One has good days and bad days. You may arrive
to visit on a good day and the folk may be ready to chat and
visit and on a bad day, they may be having a sleep or need to
be alone - then just leave a note and go home. Don't push. You
are there to comfort them, not have them comfort you!
You may arrive and the friends and family
will be laughing at a funny memory of their loved one, or
having a quiet tear or two. Come in quietly and gently, and
just wait until it is convenient to be with the family.
Many people don't know what to say. There are
not really words and it is much better just to give a warm
hug and say very little than to trot out a trite saying
or heavy speech. To say things like “Only the good die young”
or “God only picks the most beautiful flowers for His garden”
does not help!
It's not our job to provide answers.
Don't stay too long, just being there
means a lot, but don't be a burden.
If it makes sense and would help, wash tea
cups and boil the kettle, but do not take over.
Don't ask for the details. It is very
tiring to keep on having to repeat them again and again.
Don't be afraid to talk about the person who
has passed away and it means a lot to someone who has lost a
loved one if you can say" "I will always remember x or y about
your loved one."
Just be comfortable with the roller-coaster
emotions that one feels. And don't feel it is your job to
"help" the person cry or stop crying.
It is ok to be sad too and even to shed a
tear, but be sure that you are coming to comfort and not to
It does not help for you to talk about a
bereavement that you or someone you know have been through.
This is about their pain – not yours or someone else's. It
also does not help to say “I know how you feel.” Because you
don't! Every person is unique and every loss is unique.