Vicar's Bit July 2020

“From Lockdown…” Rectors bit: for July 2020

written on 10th June Revd John Longuet-Higgins

 

As I write we are moving from lockdown, when the rules were simple and everyone was united in purpose, to a time when we feel less secure, “coming out of lockdown”. We are being asked to make decisions, and to calibrate the risks. This is difficult emotionally, some are able to visit loved ones and many cannot, particularly those shielding. With a high proportion of church members over 70 years old, I’m conscious of vulnerabilities, especially those related to doing church.

So where does the land lie?

Churches are closed. As I write the possibility of “supervised personal prayer” has been raised. We are waiting for government protocols on this. A policy has been announced without as yet clear guidance of how it is to be implemented. This moment is the first step towards a time when we shall return to church for acts of collective Sunday worship. Sunday services will have very clear protocols; hand washing and the two metre rule, possibly involving in some form “booking a seat” in church. There will be no singing.

And we shall contact those planning a baptism when the uncertainty lifts.

Funerals are outside. Funerals are, in effect, longer burial services, and limited to ten people. Ministers are very conscious how difficult this is emotionally for bereaved families. And it is also difficult to explain to friends of the bereaved who often will turn up despite the “no attendance” rule. Local ministers are holding all funeral services outside because it is dangerous for large numbers turning up unannounced for a funeral held inside a church. We are hoping to hold memorial services in a better time.

Weddings are postponed until 2021. Next year we now have weddings on many weeks of the summer. We are very sorry for postponements. Our wedding couples have gone through much emotionally having to rearrange their day.

The church will not be the same after this experience. Just as you have gone through a time of great change and uncertainty effecting all aspects of life, so churches will not be the same. Greater use is being made of all the digital medias by our churches, both to communicate and to plan. I’m sure this experience will frame our future as churches. Do look at our website https://www.westofsevernchurches.org.uk/ to catch up on news and reflections. We have been using particularly Facebook to communicate with families.

Grateful. I’m very grateful to colleagues who are working patiently and thoughtfully together, especially in this “coming out of lockdown” period. Let us pray there is no second wave of infection. And there will be an opportunity, particularly at harvest time, to recoup church finances.

Prayer. A feature of this pandemic has been our prayer life. Do please pray the prayers on our website for this community and for the world, and join on-line our Sun


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