Congregational updates

Over the time of the coronavirus crisis, and while the church is closed, regular updates are being sent to the congregation by email. The following was sent on Thursday 4th June. You can find the text of previous updates at the bottom of the page. 

Dear friends

Ordinary Time

With Pentecost behind us, we are now into Ordinary Time. This is the longest season of the church year, with no great festivals or events to celebrate and remember. Its name doesn't sound very promising -- we don't live in a culture that gives much place to the ordinary, as we are programmed to seek out the next new excitement. But a large part of our life is ordinary, and while it may be difficult to make everyday things like brushing our teeth, emptying the bins, or doing the washing up exciting, we walk a sure path of disappointment and dissatisfaction if we cannot see God in them. 

So much of the content of the gospels is a celebration of what is ordinary. The kingdom is likened to seeds, yeast and fishing nets. The life of God is lived out among ordinary people. Jesus's followers who share the good news of his resurrection are as flawed and ordinary as you and me. 

Our own extraordinary/ordinary times
Life at the mo
ment may feel both extraordinary and for a lot of the time oppressively dull. It can be stressful when the advice keeps changing, particularly when it's not entirely clear what we can and cannot do. We're not in full lockdown any more, but we're not out of it either. We can go out, but we need to keep our distance from the people around us. We want everything to return to normal, but it's still uncertain how and when this will happen. 

However, I'm very conscious of the long list of humdrum and ordinary things that need to be done as we move to a place where we can think about reopening our building safely. We need risk assessments and checklists, marker tape and signage, stocks of hand sanitiser and gloves. I cannot overstate my thanks to the wardens in helping to navigate a way through this. 

Waiting to reopen our building

I want to say two things in this update:

  • First of all, I'm sorry that there isn’t a clear timetable for this as yet.  It was fully anticipated that the government would say something last week about reopening religious buildings, at least for private worship -- and they didn't. So we continue to wait for news from them, and from the C of E, as to where we go from here. 

  • Secondly, when we do reopen, and on whatever basis that is (and it is likely to be pretty limited at first), let's remember the number of unexciting, humdrum tasks that need to be carried out behind the scenes to allow this to happen. In some ways this is the essence of ordinary time. Let's use this time to live well and kindly with each other as God would have us do. 

One piece of good news that I can share is that the nursery who use our hall are starting back on Monday. They have limited numbers of children coming in, and we have agreed guidelines with them so that, as and when we can start opening the building more widely, we can all stay safe. This is further to advice from the C of E re our buildings usage, and I want to be clear that it only applies to commercial nurseries in line with the government guidelines on reopening schools/childcare facilities. So please don't visit the building yourself at this stage! But hopefully it's a step in the right direction. 

This week

Please do check the website for a simple version of Monthly Matters (now online) and the notice sheet (online tomorrow). I'd particularly like to draw your attention to the notices about online Messy Church, and about applying to the Mission Fund, so do look out for these. 

Services will continue as usual over the weekend and through the week, and we'll be having coffee by Zoom at 11am on Sunday: (meeting ID 860 1538 0174). 

Please stay safe and well and as ever, let me or Shirley know if there is anything the church can do to support you at this time. 

With love and prayers



Update from 29th May: here
Update from 20th May: here
Update from 15th May: here
Update from 7th May: here
Update from 1st May: here
Update from 23rd April: here
Update from 16th April: here
Update from 9th April: here
Update from 2nd April: here
Update from 26th March: here
Update from 19th March:  here.