One Day at a Time
Now that our local primary schools are beginning to open up, albeit in a very cautious manner, many of us are quite naturally beginning to wonder how long it will be before we can open and use our church buildings as before. Currently clergy and other designated individuals are allowed to enter churches, by themselves, for maintenance, prayer, or to record parts of a service. I went into Checkendon Church last week to record a eucharistic prayer for Pentecost, for example.
However I think that the national and church authorities will be very nervous about allowing churches to open as before, when for example great crowds could gather in close proximity for services or weddings or baptisms. Locally, I intend for us to put safety first, and will encourage PCCs to have a welfare focus, rather than feel any pressure to open up, just because the Bishop says we can. It is also very likely that some churches in the Team whose hygiene facilities are limited (for example, no running water) will have to remain closed for longer. For us as a Team we will also need to bear in mind the safety of staff members, particularly those who are currently stood down by the Bishop.
O Worship the King
Our Zoom services continue to be very popular and innovative and I am absolutely bowled over by the support and enthusiasm that those of us on the ministry team have been greeted with. From choral video at Ipsden, to Co-Hosting at Woodcote, and the joy of “breaking out” in groups at Checkendon, our services have allowed us to discover a new way of being church, one which is very much without walls. It is easy to invite family far away to join in and many of you are doing this.
This coming Sunday your service choices, and their zoom numbers, are:
10am Service of the Word led by Revd John. Meeting ID: 188 513 761 Passcode 019797. A service with prayers and readings
10am Worshipping Together led by Revd Linda. Meeting ID: 850 6451 6561 Passcode: 880532 A chance to meet at share in prayer and praise
11am Morning Prayer led by Revd Kevin. Meeting ID: 636 645 195 Passcode: 000162 A quiet service with prayers, hymns and a short sermon.
(To use the Zoom app on your PC or tablet you will need to download and install the app beforehand from https://zoom.us/ NB There has recently been an update to the zoom software. Please try to update yours sometime in the week ! If you are nervous about having a go with zoom, do get in touch with me and I will gladly arrange a short one to one session with you.)
Reasons to be cheerful
Here are just a few: Erick the medic leaving the ICU at the Royal Berks to continue his recovery from Covid-19 on a general ward; indefatigable leadership by the heads of our local schools to resourcefully address a completely unique situation; “The Blessing” song recently issued by a collaboration of Swedish churches – do check it out, and look at the comments from around the world, despite the fact that hardly anyone speaks Swedish! ; Monty Don and the team from Gardener’s World adapting what they do overnight when they realise that the whole of the UK is wanting to learn what you do with a garden; Your postman, and the child at Stoke Row who wrote him a letter to say “thank you”; the gift of God’s spirit in our hearts who lifts us when we are at the edge of and beyond our own strength and who fills our praises when our song is muted with tears.
In all these things “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;” Ps 46:1-2
The Lord bless you all