Covid-19 Update – 17th March

Our Dear Forest Town Church Family

We know that these are unprecedented times in our generation as we see the Coronavirus pandemic unfold across the globe and here in the UK. We understand that this will mean changing how we do much of our daily life for the next period of time. As we have never walked this way before, we need to pray for those who are in government and those who are working so tirelessly in the NHS to help stem the tide of this virulent virus.

One of the things that we can do as a church community is to co-operate with the measures that are put in place to protect those who are more susceptible to contracting the virus and looking to how we can rally together to support families and individuals in isolation. This means that due to the new measures announced yesterday afternoon by the Prime Minister that we will need to cancel meetings and events which would be classified as ‘social gatherings’.

As we have a diverse church community of all ages and people with varying underlying health conditions, we would look to not meet together for the next four Sundays including Easter Sunday. We would also advise that Life Groups would be best not to meet for the next while but that ongoing care could still happen between people where possible. For the next four weeks ALL ministry events will be put on hold.

Our FTC staff team have also been advised to work  from home. Instead of contacting the FTC office, you may contact us on the FTC mobile number: 07590878502.

We will reassess our plans based on government guidelines as to whether we could then meet together again after this period or whether we would need to extend this  further.

Just as our daily lives would be affected it also means that we would have a gear shift in how we ‘do’ church. In an unwitting way, this pandemic forces us to reassess what are the essentials of church life and how we live out the gospel in community. We are very blessed that although we may experience social isolation from each other, we can still, none-the-less maintain our connection through the amazing technical advances of the internet and social media platforms.

Here are some of the ways we will look to keep in touch with each other. We will send out further information and detailed links about each of the ways listed below to stay connected as a community:

  • Live Screening of our Sunday Message at the usual Sunday meeting times. This would be available through our Facebook page, YouTube and our Webpage (
  • Worship through our Forest Town Church Spotify playlist which will have updated songs that we currently sing together on Sundays. (Click here to go to the playlist.)
  • Please see our Online Giving options through ChurchSuite, our webpage, standing order or bank transfer to ensure that the church can continue to function and pay staff salaries (our account details are on the webpage).
  • Video daily devotions and podcasts available through the webpage and Churchsuite.
  • Bible App Group Studies that can be done online and where you can share comments and thoughts with each other.
  • Online KidZone activity packs that Sarah is putting together for family devotions.
  • WhatsApp Support Groups for your neighbourhood to help us care for each other in practical ways and to support with prayer and encouragement. Telephone calls are very important especially for those who live on their own.
  • FTC foodbank for individuals and families in need. For some this pandemic will have a direct impact on livelihood. We would look to have a way to make sure that no one is without the essentials at this time.
  • Prayer and fasting for God to have mercy on all people through this time and for our leaders as they find strategy and wisdom to guide us safely through this time.

What you can do:

  • Where it may seem natural to give into the prevailing mood of panic, let’s root ourselves in reading God’s Word especially the Psalms which remind us of God’s faithfulness through every season of life.
  • This is an important opportunity for the church to shine and be a light in a dark time. Think of your neighbours next door who may need a friendly and caring show of kindness when everyone else is self preserving and hoarding. Maybe share your toilets rolls ;-) and give them your phone number in case they need help.
  • Please let us know if you or your household is self isolating so that we can be praying for you and giving you encouragement. Please read the guidelines on Stay at home: guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection on
  • Please update your contact details on Churchsuite. If you do not regularly use Churchsuite or have lost your password, please notify us so we can resend you a password reset.
  • Let us know if you are able to help in any way or have other thoughts that could help us as a community through this time.

Paul prayed such a prayer of love and hope for the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 3:14 – 21 and this is our prayer for you too:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

With all our love and praying for much courage for each of you,

Ant and Helen, Clive and Sandra, Ed and EnQin.

Covid-19 Update – 13th March

Dear Friends,

I wanted to update you on our ongoing response to the Corona virus situation.  As you are aware the PM had a press conference yesterday announcing upgraded measures to combat the spread of the virus in our communities.

These Included self isolation of anyone with a fever or ongoing cough, and being mindful of the most vulnerable people in our communities ensuring that we do all that we can to limit exposure to possible infection.  Schools and colleges are still to remain open for the time being. These measures have been put in place to try and minimise the number of people that will need to be treated at any one time by the NHS in the months that lie ahead.  The aim is to spread out infections over a period of time rather than seeing large numbers all at once which will increase the strain on the NHS.

In response to these measures would like to do the following. We will meet this Sunday as normal and ask that if anyone is feeling at all ill that you please stay at home.  Also that we continue to be diligent in washing hands and being aware of those in our church family that might need ongoing care and help in the months that lie ahead. It’s a great opportunity to pray for 20 seconds while washing your hands!

It is also likely that in the coming weeks we will not be able to meet as a church for a period of time and to prepare for this we are setting up so that we can have an “online service” as we need to. We will send out details of how this will work at the appropriate time. We will also update our webpage with all details for your information.

So in summary let’s be mindful of others and thoughtful in our response to the ongoing situation.  Finally, we know that we have a good Father who loves each of us as his children. This is not a time to fall back into fear but to exercise trust and to be faith filled in our response in this challenging time.

There are some wonderful promises for us in Gods word . Psalm 91 is an beautiful example of this where God promises his protection over his people. Can I encourage you to read this as part of your devotions. We met as an eldership team this week and prayed over our church family that we would know the reality of this as a community.

I am full of faith that we will come through this difficult time together and I am also confident that we will know Gods kind hand over all of us. Some might say it is crazy to think like this!  However, I am convinced that this is what it means to walk by faith. We trust in the goodness of God and his kindness while being diligent in our practical response in love and helping others. I trust that you will have a peaceful week.

Love and courage

Ant Rist

Senior Pastor