Please see the video above and the transciption below of the latest SEC Covid-19 update.
"Brothers and Sisters, I greet you in the name of our Redeemer!
Much has taken place since I shared my message with you last week.
We have also heard from our Queen, thanking the key frontline workers. She informed us that we have more to endure but assured us that we will get past this together.
Through video link, Prince Charles, while suffering with the Coronavirus officially opened the new 4,000 bed Nightingale, Hospital in East London. Indeed, as the Queen says, we have more to endure. My brothers and sisters, we are here for the long haul.
Our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was hospitalised on Sunday, as he experienced persistent symptoms of the Coronavirus. Yesterday, he was moved into an Intensive Care Unit.
As of yesterday morning, the UK has 51,608 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,373 deaths, and 135 recovered. Some of those who have died are from our household of faith. If there is a lesson we can learn from this pandemic, it’s this: This virus is no respecter of faith, age, race or ethnicity, or social status. Whether you have an underlying health condition or not, the virus can take your life. We do well to stay at home and stop the spread of infection.
Brothers and Sisters, we have had to make some difficult decisions over the weekend. And for the sake of transparency, I would like to share these with you. We do not know how long this pandemic will last. Because of the lockdown most of you will either have to work from home, some frontline workers have to risk their lives by going to attend to this sick, others have been laid off. Business and organizations are being affected financially.
As a Conference we have taken steps to ensure the safety of our organization. I have intentionally refrained from talking about finance during this difficult time but the time has come for me to share with you some information.
The decisions we have taken have been based on 2 premises
- To safeguard and ensure the pastoral care of our members – this is paramount and
- To safeguard the South England Conference.
As you know, this conference operates 3 primary schools, Hyland House, Fletewood and Newbold. Because our school buildings are closed, and teaching is being done online rather than face to face, we have had to reduce the tuition fees and benefit from the governments Job Retention Scheme.
What is the government Job Retention Scheme?
For the months of March, April and May, the government is making available a grant for all organizations including charities to tap into. The government will pay 80% or up to £2,500 towards workers’ salaries. A Worker benefitting from this scheme is said to be on Furlough. During this period, the Conference cannot ask Workers to do any work for the organisation. Please visit the website to get the full details of what can and cannot be done.
Friends, we have missed the March date, but we are hoping to benefit from the April and May months. We have held discussions with our schools, our SEC Directors, our Area Coordinators and all our pastors concerning this very matter. I am grateful to all our staff and workers for sharing their wisdom in discussing this issue.
Because of the closure of our schools, we have decided to place all support staff and some of the teaching staff on furlough. We have retained the Headteachers and the Senior Leadership Team.
Since our Conference office is closed due to the lockdown, we have also placed all our support staff on furlough with the exception of the media, treasury, secretariat and presidential departments.
Again, all our directors have been furloughed with the exception of Sam Davies (Communications), Samuel Ouadjo (Ministerial Secretary), Michael Hamilton (Radio), Thembie Mapingire (Counselling) and Chidi Ngwaba (Health).
Finally, we have furloughed most of our interns and licensed ministers for the next two months, We have looked at each Area of our Conference, and with the help of the Area Coordinators, we have ensured that a number of Pastors will be available to take care of the pastoral needs of our members over the next two months.
We will also be meeting with our Elders from each area on zoom to work with them as we navigate through the coming weeks. These meetings will be arranged by our Area Coordinators. Once again, let me reiterate, we are seeking to balance the pastoral care of our members and the survival of our Conference when this pandemic has passed.
Please rest assured that all our workers – teachers, support staff and pastors will continue to receive their full salaries every month. Those who are furloughed will not be disadvantaged in anyway. We are simply trying to secure our cash flow and to preserve our Conference and it’s employees from the short term to the long term.
These are unprecedented times which we are living, and we are soliciting your prayers and support as we go through this period. We are constantly monitoring the situation and will make adjustments accordingly.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your dedicated contributions through your tithe, which supports the operations of the South England Conference and we are also aware that the current disruption caused by the Coronavirus may have affected the contributions that some of you make to the Conference. This is your Conference and together, we will be here after this pandemic."