21 June 2020
Whilst Public Worship is suspended this Blog will take the place of the Weekly Sheet
After Church Refreshments
After church tea & coffee will be on Zoom from around 11:45am – come and join us virtually, it would be lovely to see each other again.
We have now implemented a Waiting Room on Zoom for extra security.
Information on the Reopening of our Churches and Church Hall
No sooner have we got used to one “normal”, then the “normal” changes. This week we have churches open for supervised private prayer and funerals from 15 June, with more guidance awaited on weddings, acts of worship, and much more. Jim Butterworth is doing a great job at keeping the website up to date with the latest guidance so please do follow the links.
Please forgive the unoriginality of what follows but as I’ve been trying to make sense of the newly changing scenario, three “p’s” have come to mind!
Patience: if you’ve been using the hand prayer with Colossians 3:12, the last of the garments with which we clothe ourselves is “patience” (after, compassion, kindness, humility and meekness). There is no rush to respond. I hope people will understand that in order to follow the guidance about not leaving opened buildings unattended for example, this takes some organising, especially in relation to distancing and cleansing! So, let’s encourage a culture of patience, especially among any who will have wanted all this to happen yesterday.
Permissive: the new guidance is permissive, not prescriptive. Not everyone will be able to do this and there is no pressure to do what cannot be done. The new guidance is to help us with the next steps towards when church buildings can again be used for public worship and for us to do this safely without risk to ourselves or any others who come to our buildings. I am sure in deaneries and chapters we will find others’ experiences helpful as we try to plan this well. It will be so important that no Vicar or PCC feels they are on their own with this, that somehow everyone else has got this sorted and I/we haven’t. We are so much in this together. Again, there are stories on the website which may be of help, and I think it may be possible to make requests known in case there is anyone out there who can help with your particular challenge.
Prayer: so completely obvious, but I was struck by that reading from Luke 11:1-13 the other morning in which the Lord Jesus follows up his teaching of his prayer with the “how much more” will the heavenly Father answer prayer including the gift of the Holy Spirit. The challenge of any change, normal or not, is that we recognise that we cannot do this in our own strength. As I said last week thinking of the Lord Jesus’ invitation to “Come”, that coming invites us into relationship. As we come into that relationship we come into prayer and these new challenges and opportunities become the place and occasion for our asking, seeking, knocking.
May the Lord give us his patience, help us use this permission well, and meet us in prayer every day. May this time of transition help us to discover again the truth of our generous God in his giving above what we can ask or imagine by the power at work within and among us.
To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (buildings or not) to all generations (Ephesians 3:21)
With love in Christ
Paul & I have begun the necessary preparations to be able to open St Mary’s for private prayer and small funerals. We don’t have a date for this yet as there’s still a lot to do and get in place. We will keep you informed. In the meantime please see my latest Blog Post.