July 19th has now become a crucial date in the journey and the roadmap out of Covid. With a week to go, I was hoping that we would have some clear guidance from the government and thence the diocese. This does not look like it will appear before the beginning of next week. As a result I think it’s sensible on the Sunday and weekend before to layout some ideas we can start with.
It appears that many of the rules, if not all of them, are going to be relaxed. The one exception may be congregational singing. My suggestion therefore for Sunday, the 25th of July, is that we meet with each other for our services. If we need to, we will sing outside and the choir, released of its restriction to 6, will help lead our worship at 10.30am and 6.30pm.
Mask wearing looks as though it will become a matter of personal responsibility. As a result some may wish to wear masks in church and others may not; whatever the preference, it is important that we follow the Christian principal of caring for the most anxious and vulnerable brother or sister. We choose not to exercise our freedom at the expense of others. Therefore please be careful and generous to others in this area.
Finally, may I urge you if you feel yourself to be ill in anyway or going down with something that you take this seriously, do a lateral flow test and go to bed rather than coming to church. If you are well and yet still feel anxious, please watch the streaming service on the Internet and join with us.
These will be strange days as we take tentative steps into a post Covid world. There is never going to be a perfect way or time to unlock from these Covid restrictions. We need to learn to be patient with our differences and generous to each other’s perspectives and needs. Under the mercy of God I am sure we will be fine and we commend ourselves to Him and His never changing care.
August is the time when many of us go away and that includes the staff. As a result our services in the regular pattern often become pale shadows of normal life and the rest of the year. Moreover, a number of people have asked whether we may look at intergenerational services of worship. As a result we have decided to make our one main service at 11 o’clock and we will follow the scenes of Encounters with God. The service structure will neither be the 10.30 communion nor the 4 o’clock informal style. There will be a play area in the south aisle and activities for the young with their family. We hope that people will find this appropriate and invigorating as an opportunity of experiment when the choir and many others are on holiday. Please don’t feel that this is some massive personal change being foisted upon the congregations. Do not think that this is, “not my thing” and not come. I suspect no one will like everything but there will be something for each; please come with a readiness to participate and an openness to God that He might use you as a blessing to others. We need people to come and join in what we are doing as we seek to worship together across the generations.
The mission implementation group. (MIG)
The PCC over the first part of the year looked at the vision and general policy for the church which I outlined in the APCM address. Now we need to look at what we do and what we might do in the way of ministry in the months and years ahead. The idea is to gather a number of champions for different areas of ministry within the church; we are using easy ideas from W. H. E. A.T. – Worship, Hospitality, Education, Arts, Town. Then the champions will go out over the next couple of months talking to the congregation and collecting a group to come up with an A4 list of ideas – These we will gather together with the champions and look and how our ministry can be as affective as possible under God.
All of us signed up as Christians and continue to walk with God in order to be involved with Him, in His great cause of the Kingdom. Please talk and offer your ideas to the champions, but most of all will you pray that we may find a way forward that brings glory to His name and we see His will down among us. As so many in the past have prayed, “Lord bring revival, but start with me!”.