Last time I wrote this letter for the website it was the beginning of lockdown. No one knew how long it would last, what was really going to happen and how it would impact our daily living. Now 4 months later we are still not back in church, being told to wear face masks in shops and enclosed spaces and keep apart from people – who had ever heard of ‘social distancing’ before?!
We keep hearing phrases like ‘the new normal’, ‘shielding’, ‘this is a marathon not a sprint’ and many of us long to be back where we were this time last year. Perhaps it’s harder in the summer when lots of holidays have been cancelled and we have been kept apart from family and friends for months.
You might say that even the church is closed. But whilst the church building is out of bounds for us, the church is as open as ever. Instead of worship being something we think of as happening only in churches, in fact it has been happening in thousands of homes up and down the country. Experience of church has not been limited to practicing Christians either, for now nearly every home can access the internet, so the curious, the sceptical, the searcher can take a peek at a Christian act of worship anonymously and find out a bit more of what happens without leaving the comfort of their own front room.
Christians have grappled with technology and zoom seems to have taken over the world. And I’m sure it will stay with us, even when we return to the church building. After all, why leave your home to go to a meeting on a cold winter’s night when you can simply log in to the same event, no more cancellations because of snow or ice, we will simply carry on.
Carrying on is really what it’s about though isn’t it? As God’s people we are encouraged to ‘keep the faith’, to continue to pray, read our Bibles and be witnesses to the hope that is in us. Jesus didn’t ever promise that when we became Christians it would make life easy, what He did promise was to be with us and to send the Holy Spirit. In John 14: 16 the Holy Spirit is described in different translations as Comforter, Advocate and Helper. So in the midst of trouble, we can be assured that we are not on our own. When I was worried about how to lead the church and what I should be doing through this, someone reminded me that I had never led the church through a pandemic before, therefore how did I expect myself to know what to do? Obvious when you think about it. This has been something new for each and every one of us to work our way through. But we have not been alone, for that Comforter and Helper has been with us, we have also been able to telephone, message and keep in contact via the church website and now through the delights of zoom we are able to meet for worship without even having to take off our slippers!
Please, if you want to join in, get in touch with us. If you’re not sure how, let us know and someone will contact you to help you navigate your way through. We very much want you, yes YOU to join us.
God bless you