A Message from our Minister
I hope that you and your family members are keeping well during this remarkable period of our lives.
As far as I am aware, we have not lost any members of our congregation to this dreadful virus, and I certainly hope and pray that we will not – but as we all know, this virus is not selective and we must brace ourselves for the possibility of sad news of this nature.
Two of the three members of the Circuit Ministerial team are on double lock-down due to our personal medical issues, but we are all three available on the telephone and by e-mail in the usual way if you need to contact us.
Worship Online (YouTube)
I hope you know that twice each week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we are placing short reflections on YouTube. I hope that you are benefiting spiritually from them.
Alongside these, on Sundays, we are leading acts of worship for you. We will also add occasional other pieces to the YouTube Channel for your interest and (hopefully) encouragement.
If you have not looked at these yet and you have access to the Internet, please do so by following this link, or logging on to YouTube and searching for Colchester Methodists.
Worship at Home (CD’s)
For people who are not able to access the Internet, CDs are available. The CDs are usually posted in time to be delivered by midweek. All this is being achieved at minimal cost and is sponsored by members of the congregation. Send a message here, if you would like to receive a CD or contribute to postage costs.
Whilst we collectively form ‘The Church’, our building is, of course, not being used. We look forward to the day when we can meet again, hopefully before the autumn.
We have our 50th anniversary celebrations planned for October with visiting preachers, an organ recital and other events in the diary. We do hope that by then all will be back to some sort of normality!
Currently, all Worship and church activities, and lettings to groups have had to stop, including even the Soup Run (although this is still taking place in a revised format). As of the middle of March, all income from lettings, including car parking spaces, has also stopped.
To mitigate this significant loss of income, all expenditure on our building, other than essential maintenance, has been stopped and will only resume when it is clear that our cash flow is back in order. We have contacted our insurance company to see if we can claim for loss of income, but sadly the response has been negative.
To further reduce expenditure, the boilers have been turned off and the amount of electricity and water being used are greatly reduced, though we still have utilities and maintenance contracts to uphold. Our caretaker, Terry, has generously agreed to part time working. However, we still need to pay the Circuit Assessment and through that to central funds (in order to pay our Ministerial stipends) and for the wider work of the Methodist Church. These payments will of course be closely monitored, but we cannot allow the wider activity of the church to collapse for want of providing the financial support necessary.
Because we are no longer meeting in person, the offering made by some members of our congregation who usually contribute by cash or cheque, has also stopped.
I have no doubt that those who contribute through the envelope scheme are continuing to put money aside each week and, on our return, a large amount of money will be presented.
There are those who contribute by monthly standing order, so Castle Church does have some continuing regular income.
After cutting our expenditure as far as possible, we now need to review the ways that we can increase our income. So, what can be done about trying to balance the books?
How can you help?
If you currently contribute by standing order:
Can you afford to increase your payment? (I appreciate that some of you will not be able to do this; some indeed may need to reduce their contribution).
If you currently contribute through the envelope scheme:
Can you use online banking, or contribute by cheque or standing order?
If you currently contribute by giving cash each week:
Can you consider using on-line banking, cheque or a regular standing order?
If you were able to do any of these things it would help alleviate the immediate cash flow problems that we face.
If you don’t currently give regularly, or would like to change the way you give, or discuss any of the financial matters above, please click here to contact our Acting Treasurer.
Quite obviously, I have no idea – and nor does anyone else – how long we will have to continue as we are. I certainly hope that we will meet again in our lovely building within a couple of months. I suspect that we may start the new Methodist year in September with a ‘re-opening service’. I fear that this may not be until 2021 though! Until the virus is brought under total control, I certainly cannot allow myself to be put in danger and I would not like to see you, our church, or our congregation put in danger.
In the meantime,
We will continue to pray for our collective continued good health.
We will continue to provide worship resources on the Internet, by CD and on paper for those who would like to receive them that way.
We will continue to live in hope that the skills of the scientists will create a speedy and permanent resolution to this pandemic that has so sadly afflicted the whole world.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Something else to consider as well.
Personally, I have been using a website called Give as you Live for around 2 years now. Every time you make a purchase online a small percentage of the basket value is donated to your favourite charity, at no cost to yourself. I have chosen Colchester Methodist Circuit as my preferred charity, and the Circuit Treasurer has then been able to allocate any donations to Castle at the end of each year.
To find out more, please use this link
If you follow this link they will also give a bonus donation of £5 when 5 friends sign up and use the service.
Remember to install the Donation Reminder from the website to be alerted every time you access an online store which is part of the scheme.