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Tim's Letter wc240520

Dear Friends,

To ease or not to ease – that is the question!

While our politicians give confusing messages about the easing of lockdown many places of work and organisations are trying to work out whether they can manage to operate with appropriate social distancing.

Many in our churches are asking when we might get back to being able to meet for worship and fellowship.  The short answer is that we cannot tell.  All the evidence is stacked against an early return. Many of our people fall into the vulnerable category due to age or health conditions. The virus has spread most rapidly when people spend extended periods of time in close proximity, and singing accelerates the spread.

Even if we were to spread people out in the church, everyone will be touching chairs, doors, books etc. which is all a nightmare to clean. If we had to limit numbers attending, then this ceases to be public worship. Who should be let in and who should not?

In the church calendar we find ourselves preparing to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus, often referred to as the birth of the church. The early church had to discover its identity, purpose and ways of doing things. There was no blue print. They had to use their common sense, their awareness of their context undergirded with their deep experience and trust in the living spirit of Christ.  We know that the explosion of the early followers of Jesus had a disproportional impact on the then known world.

Dare I suggest that we face some similar opportunities. We are not sure how we will emerge form Covid 19. We are already having to develop new ways of being church, and will need to keep doing so if we have to live with this virus long into the future. What has been familiar may prove to be impossible to sustain.

Opening ourselves to the breath of the unpredictable but reliable Spirit of Christ through our praying and yearning is the only way forward. We may be led into completely new ways of being God’s people in God’s world but that not what the life of faith is about?



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