Coronavirus: a message from Alastair Bateman

Alastair Bateman seated in his office

When we produced our Lament for Lent resource for 2020, we already felt we were living in difficult, uncertain times.

We had no idea.

I’m struck by the timely prayer that is on the back cover of the current edition of our prayer guide, Prayerlines (also produced months ago):

“Christ who appeared to your disciples when the doors were shut;
appear unto all of those in the world today who live their lives behind closed doors.”

This prayer feels like it’s becoming relevant to more and more people by the hour. I’m so grateful that CMS is a praying community and that you are part of it. I know we will keep praying for each other and we are currently exploring creative ways we can continue to connect though many of our physical doors may be closed.

I want to assure you that our regional managers and personnel officers for Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe are keeping in frequent contact with all our people in mission around the world, providing practical support and pastoral care for them as they continue to share Jesus’ love in challenging circumstances. Your faithful support helps this happen – thank you.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, following guidance from the government, CMS has arranged for many of our UK staff to work from home. In order to try to protect the more vulnerable among us, we have cancelled CMS events for the next 12 weeks and we will also start running our Pioneer Mission Leadership Training course via the internet from Monday 23 March.

We are making every effort to keep disruption to a minimum. We can still respond to supporters, send communications, make payments and receive gifts. Our church relations team will be in touch with church leaders and advocates about innovative ways to keep joining in God’s mission in these times that call us all to think outside the building.

Speaking of which, I’ve been so encouraged to hear how some of you are already living out innovative mission in your communities. There are good ideas for this being shared in the Pioneer Hub at CMS Facebook group.

Our friend Andy Freeman has developed online resources for reflection during this time as well as a support group for people who run small businesses. We know that people in the CMS community are looking after their neighbours in meaningful ways while being mindful about people’s safety. This takes much creativity, but often that’s what mission is: where creativity meets compassion.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, or any ideas about how to do mission in these unforeseen circumstances, we would genuinely love to hear from you via info@churchmissionsociety.org

May God bless you and keep you,

Alastair Bateman
Chief Executive Officer

PS As you know, circumstances surrounding coronavirus are subject to change and we will update you as necessary with any new developments about the above. Meanwhile let’s keep praying together that Christ’s presence will be felt beyond closed doors.

Published 19 March 2020
Region
Europe, Middle East and North Africa

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