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Letters from Tim

Dear Friends,

The gospel reading next Sunday, Matthew 10:40 -42, talks of how the followers of Jesus are welcomed as they go about their ministry.  It assumes that they have gone out from their base. It assumes that there is a natural engagement between the disciples and those they meet.

At a time when we are beginning to think about how we might begin to think about re-entering our church buildings when we are permitted, it is as if we have to consider, how we are welcomed back into our familiar places.

There will be much to plan and act upon before we can open our buildings. The necessary risk assessments, cleaning regimes and whatever social distancing guidance at the time will need to be observed.  Whenever we are welcomed back into our buildings things will be very different. Some of our congregations may not feel able to do return, and no one will be forced to do so until it is right for their situation.

There will be a lot of work involved in planning a return, planning a welcome. Safe levels of hospitality will vary from place to place. One way systems may be needed to keep people suitably distanced, and how we worship and act could be very different.  At the time of writing the 2 metre rule still applies. By the time you read this it may have changed!

The first disciples had no responsibility for buildings, and buildings did not dictate their way of operating. As we reflect on what our discipleship has been like without our buildings, what have we learned?  Has there been a liberation and release? Should we consider radically alternatives to our buildings, how we use them and what they are for?

It appears in the reading that the disciples were engaged in doorstep ministry. Low level, personal and local. During the lockdown, many of us  have experienced something similar; discovering neighbours and their needs, building relationships and friendships, offering help and support. In other words, living out a welcome, rich in reward, transforming for the future, as we engage with those who will perhaps never come to church, but who will have experienced something of God’s welcome through us and hopefully us through them.

Peace                                 Tim

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