While we live in troubling times, and are facing a serious crisis, there are opportunities to develop our Church life and think “outside the box” as to how we can continue to be church while not being able to meet in person.
Following guidance from the Government and the National Church, we are immediately “suspending all public worship”. So there will be no Sunday services, weekday services, meetings or groups until further notice. This is primarily to safeguard our congregation and community. The parish office is closed to safeguard our administrator. There will be no pastoral visiting.
However, this does not mean that we have shutdown. We will be returning to older technologies such as the telephone, and older church practices such as “worship at home” and encouraging daily prayer either on your own or with your close family.
Being a disciple of Jesus is not about what happens in Church, (that is the place where we celebrate our discipleship). It is about living out the Gospel in our daily life (in our homes, workplaces, friendship groups, and the community).
We will also be trying to use some newer technologies to keep in contact and support us in our isolation. The Standing Committee of our PCC has already met virtually using some simple Video Conferencing technology. We were amazed at how easy this was to setup and how effective it was in helping us discuss our response to the current crisis. Even if you don’t do smartphones or computers, this technology supports the ability to use an ordinary telephone to call in and join in a group call.
We will also be trying to use some “livestream” technologies to lead simple services, but this might not be accessible to everyone. We will be emailing a service sheet that you can use at home to hold your own Sunday service. What might be possible will develop, so I can’t predict what opportunities will be found, but we will be working on this and while our initial attempts may be a bit clunky, we will get better at it as the weeks go on.
We need to remember and be inspired by the Early Church. The Early Church was a persecuted church, it couldn’t meet in public. It was primarily focused on the home or “domestic church”. This crisis has given us the opportunity to switch our focus to our homes and to encourage us to develop our “domestic faith”. God has not abandoned us, just because his “house” (the local church) has closed it’s doors. God is with us, and we are his people, wherever we are and whatever restrictions are placed upon us.
Please visit our website for regular updates (www.stchristopherschurch.org.uk) and resources to support you during this time.
Wishing you every blessing.
Peter – Vicar of St. Christopher’s, Hinchley Wood.