Dear members and friends of Burniston Methodist church,
I am sorry to announce that following the UK Government decision to move Scarborough into tier 3, with immediate effect we will be suspending the current live bookable morning service and reverting to a live stream service only. This decision has not been taken lightly. Although corporate worship is allowed even in tier 4, at a meeting of all the District’s superintendents together with the Chair, a strong recommendation was made that in the event of any area being moved into tier 3, corporate worship in Methodist churches in those areas should cease. The circuit leadership team (of which I am a member) adopted this recommendation and on the 27th of November Graham Morgan sent a message to church stewards saying that should Scarborough be moved to tier 3 it was the strong recommendation of the CLT that corporate worship be discontinued.
On the 28th of December we had a steward’s meeting as we could see the direction in which government thinking was going. The overall feeling was that there was a strong desire to continue with and provide communal worship for anyone in this way. I therefore wrote to both the District Chair and to our Superintendent, noting that since their November communications tier 4 had been added and asked if the November recommendations stood. The reply was yes and on the 30th of December, soon after the government announced that we were moving into tier 3, a further email came out again strongly recommending discontinuance of our corporate worship.
The stewards hold differing views, some noting that worship is legally provided for in the regulations, and they would therefore like to continue. However, and not without considerable pain, the conclusion has been reached that to continue corporate worship would place Burniston, and me in particular as your minister, in a difficult position within our Circuit and District. In addition there is the desire that solidarity with others should be maintained, not just in Methodism locally but with other businesses which have been forced to close.
I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this change will bring to many of our members; I know we all look forward to a time when we can worship vibrantly together again free from any restrictions.
God bless you all and I do pray that 2021 will soon become a far happier New Year than 2020 has been.