As I write, a new school term has begun and change is in the air. For the first time in over five months, none of our children are at home and the house is eerily quiet (although Justin is still working full time from home and can be heard tapping away on his computer or recording radio programmes in his make-shift office).
By the time you read this, our final home-made service will be done and the puppet stage packed away. It’s been a real adventure live streaming from home and I am very grateful to my family for throwing themselves into it and giving up every Saturday and Sunday to set up, rehearse and pack away. It has, in so many ways, been a precious time which we will never forget. Yes, there have definitely been moments when one or more of us hasn’t felt like it, frustrations when the technology wouldn’t work, or groans when Justin says, ‘I think we should run through that just one more time’! But we have been grateful to God for the chance to continue worshipping. It is a poor substitute for being together and we have missed you all terribly.
Many things in the world around us are opening up again and we are all navigating our own paths into this new normal. This is especially true for us as a church. During the services on the next few Sundays we will be asking questions about what it means to be the church in this ‘Covid age’, how we can foster a deeply spiritual life together and serve our community whilst adhering to all the current restrictions. If Acts has taught us anything, it’s that the Holy Spirit always finds a way.
I’m aware that many churches are beginning to open their doors to congregations on Sundays and some of you are asking ‘why haven’t we?’. One of the answers is because of the work going on the church sanctuary to install our new A/V system. It’s been remarkable that this has been able to take place during this time and this week the final ‘tweaks’ have been completed. We are so grateful to God that the timing for this has worked out so well and to you for your contributions towards the fund to pay for it (which is still open by the way!). Soon we will all be able to reap the benefits as we start to live stream from the church building and then consider when we can open to congregational attendance. However, installing the system was just the beginning, now we have to learn how to use it. Rob White and Steve Edwards, along with Helen and Jenny are currently giving up hours of their time (in the evenings, after work) to become trained on how to use the system before they, in turn, will train others. I and they will need a bit of time to become acquainted with the new equipment before we move to the next stage of opening up to having a congregation present. Please be assured we are working very hard and really value your grace and patience. Do look out for an announcement on this and other news coming soon by email (or by post for those not online) and also a survey which we will ask you to fill in.
Exciting times ahead!
Plans for our worship this autumn continue.…
13 What now for the Church? (Ephesians 2 v17-22, 1 Peter2 v1-10)
20 Hearing from God in the Covid age
27 Harvest Festival
4 Big Questions
11 Big Questions
18 Big Questions
As you’ll see, for the first part of October we’ll returning to asking our Big Questions. We’ve done this several times before and it felt particularly pertinent at this time to offer another opportunity. This pandemic has thrown up lots of new questions and we are finding that interest in matters spiritual has increased. So, get your thinking caps on – what would you like to ask? It could be a biblical question that’s been puzzling you, a question about ethics, a pondering about where God is to be found in the midst of suffering, or something about science and religion. Whatever it is that’s on your mind, please let us have your questions either by email or by post (addressed to me and sent to the church). Justin and I will attempt to grapple with as many of them as we can during the services, looking at what the Bible has to say and also drawing on Christian thinkers from down the ages and across the world.
Please keep praying for one another and for the life and wellbeing of our church as we move forward and seek to serve God faithfully.
‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,[c] in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.’ 1 Peter 2 v9