The Can(on) of Worms
Now that we’ve been told we can open our buildings for worship once again, we are in the region of “the small print”. What does “open” mean? What does “worship” look like now? Every church council has to conduct a “risk assessment” and consider whether it is possible to “stay safe”. In other words, we have to assume that we are worshipping with the virus, so what should our pattern be? It is a bit like Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole – “curiouser and curiouser” has become “weirder and weirder”. Sufficient to say that “Covid-safe” worship features several unappealing characteristics: 2 metre separation; an absence of singing or socialising; a preponderance of hand gel; a health warning for the over 70’s; one way systems; lots of draughts, but no wine, or coffee. The Government says that there can’t be any shouting or screaming either, but I don’t think they had the Church of England in mind when they added that to the guidance.
Your Church Council and minister will begin to make sense of the possibilites and the risks over the next few weeks. We also await to see what the Bishop of Oxford says regarding the possibility of (lay and ordained) ministers over the magic age of 70 resuming their duties as public worship leaders. This will be crucial for us in the Langtree Team, and may turn out to be a deciding factor in what we can offer across all our churches.
Watch out too for a Zoom survey in Revd Kevin’s online service over the next few weeks. It will be helpful to guage how you all are feeling towards meeting in 3D once again. We’ll take it one step at a time, whatever we do.
Our Zoom services continue to attract very many of you, with families and friends from away joining in too, and being very welcome. Please let the host know if you’ve invited someone, as it does help when a new name pops into the waiting room. Your service options for the coming Sunday are:
Service of the Word with Revd John 10am 188 513 761 and 019797 A Service with prayers and Bible readings.
SLOW Church with Rev Linda 10am 854 2543 3222 and 816407 An informal service for anyone exploring the Christian faith
Holy Communion with Revd Kevin 11am 636 645 195 and 000162. Share in communion at home, with hymns and a short talk.
One of the great things about our Zoom worship is that there is no collection plate passed round ! However all our churches do still have bills; the Diocesan Quota is still being paid, there are still building costs, and the churchyard still needs cutting. Please do consider making a donation online – you don’t even have to wait until Sunday! You can do this via the following links – just click on the church you’d like to support and you will be taken to a secure card payment page.
Finally, be gentle with yourselves. We are entering into another period of relative stress, as changes are required of all our behaviours once more, rules become uncertain, and risk seems to vary with the weather. The Psalms are a great comfort – try Psalm 27, which concludes: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” (v14) The Psalm is about confidence under fire, and patience under the most intense pressure. Let’s seek the face of God and look to his mercy for us, and our nation.
Your Rector Canon Kevin