All public services in Tower Hamlets circuit are currently suspended
See Meditation and Worship at Home for alternative resources
When someone you love dies, saying goodbye in some formal way is important. With the current restrictions on movement in place, it may not be possible to attend a funeral. We offer a short act of worship to help you say your formal goodbyes whist in your home.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Government Website
Further government advice and guidance on the virus
Lucia writes that, speaking to many in the Circuit, she has been struck and awed by the number that come in the "Hidden low-pay Hero" category. You are playing your part in keeping Britain running and helping others, showing love for your neighbours (both those up the street and in the Biblical sense).
Jesus bids us shine, with a pure, clear light
Like a little candle burning in the night.
In this world of darkness, so we must shine -
You in your small corner, and I in mine!
Council Hotline for people particularly vulnerable to coronavirus 020 7364 3030
Line Open: Monday–Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm
Tower Hamlets Council has set up a new phone line to support residents who have been identified as being extremely vulnerable and at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19
This number is for Tower Hamlets residents, their families or their carers to let the council know if they have any urgent requirements. The line can also be used to discuss any concerns around social isolation and help people may need with food supplies, access to medication or worries about debt for example. It can also be used by other vulnerable residents that need help during this difficult time, including the very elderly, people with disabilities or those self-isolating with underlying health conditions.
For more information, please visit the council website Check again later for important updates and developments.
Contact with the circuit office is now on this number: 07545 445217
The Whitechapel Mission has now suspended all volunteering and outside service provision. The current evaluation of risk is that people should not be travelling to the Mission unless absolutely essential. Food is the highest priority for those sleeping on our streets. Warm clothing, medical attention and support must be sustained as long as possible.
We recognise that we offer services through our projects to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. This means that we will continue to offer reassurance and support through providing our daily breakfast at Whitechapel Mission. Whitechapel Mission is managing to maintain its breakfast service and material support through the commitment and determination of our staff team, for which we continue to give thanks.
The Mission remains Open and Serving
At Zacchaeus in Bethnal Green (updated 25/3) The building will be closed from today, but Debbie and Louise are working remotely and can be contacted by email, by the usual phone number, 0208 983 1568, and by text or Whatsapp on 07712 32324. See Zacchaeus website .
From the Superintendent (March 25th)
As I write this, I am making the final preparations for my sabbatical which runs from 1st April to 30th June. During this sabbatical, I will be spending time away from my usual work and carrying out activities to help me to refresh and revive my life as a Methodist Minister. I will be taking lots of photos and creating some resources for reflections and worship. I will not get to do all I had planned – but then the disruption to my plans is minor compared to the impact this pandemic is having on many of our lives. However, I guess I will now be joined by many people doing something similar through the national response to the Covid-19 virus.
Our wonderful Circuit staff team have spent the past 10 days trying to respond and react to a very different pattern of life; one where most of the usual ways of doing things has to be different. One of the hardest challenges is to be separated from people – from those we want to celebrate the joys of life with – from those we want to hug and console at life’s challenges and disappointments. Although the physical separation is very real, it does not mean we have to accept all the limitations. Please use whatever means you can to stay in touch – with our church, with each other and with God.
You know that, as Paul writes, “ For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-9.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
Whatever you do, may your time be blessed with the knowledge that God is with you in Christ Jesus – now and always.
Lucia Banks, our new Lay Pastoral Worker, has started work with us
Lucia will be getting in touch with members and friends in the Circuit, focusing her efforts on getting to know the congregations and staff - by phone and video call. I am you sure you will join me in giving Lucia a really warm welcome.
Grace and Peace John
A reflection from the superintendent minister (22nd March)
ONE thing we can all do is to continue to pray - pray for our churches, our churches’ work, our families and friends, our neighbours and those who persecute us. We may find some ways in which we can pray together during the coming weeks - especially at Easter. Please take care of yourselves, follow good advice (medical and spiritual!) and let us know if you need help. One thing that almost all of us have, and will have, is access to a phone. At the beginning of Philippians, Paul speaks of being ‘imprisoned for Christ’. Although we are not actually imprisoned, as I write this I am acutely aware of how important physical connection is to us all. It seems as if we will have to live our lives with restrictions and challenges, some of which are like being under house arrest. Perhaps as Christians we will all need to take a lead from Paul’s perseverance and faith and, as we adapt to these new circumstances, my prayer is that we will continue to rejoice, speak with boldness and proclaim Christ with love. – with grace and peace to you all, the Rev'd John Hayes
Health Advice (21st March)
The national government website, WHO and BBC websites are being kept up to date with the latest news and advice on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and how to protect yourselves. Please look here for health advice rather than on social media; while social media is a very useful way for people to stay in touch and support each other, there is a lot of unverified information and fake news circulating on some of the sites.
Mutual Aid/Support GroupsLocal support groups are working in a lot of areas, to put people in need of help in touch with volunteers. A national website, has been set up to display details of all groups, but NB they depend on Facebook for access! Link here to local volunteering and support through Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service (an independent service). The Circuit is working on setting up efficient ways to help members and friends. Contact Terry, Lucia or John, or the usual Circuit Office number. Calls are being monitored, and messages will be dealt with and answered.
Unfortunately there have already been reports of a small number of unscrupulous people offering to shop or run errands for vulnerable people then stealing their money. If you accept help from neighbours or a support group, please be very wary of handing money over to people, and never give your card or PIN to anyone. Genuine helpers will not make these demands.
Announcement from Circuit (17th March)
Following guidance from the government on social distancing measures, and the Methodist Church’s subsequent decision to “recommend that worship services in Methodist Churches be suspended for the time being”, (See website) we are suspending all worship services, groups, meetings and activities where people gather together in our churches. We shall support people through phone calls and help whilst the suspension remains in place. Pastoral care will be offered by phone, email and appropriate social media. We encourage everyone (staff, volunteers and members) to advise us of anyone who needs help, especially the vulnerable or self-isolating. We shall need volunteers to help with this work whilst the suspension is in place.
We expect to review this decision before Easter, when we will advise of any development or change to this approach.
Andrew Brown, Circuit Executive Officer. John Hayes, Superintendent Minister
Charity Number 1134888