It was fantastic to be back in church last Sunday morning (6 September) as 20 of us (that was a ‘full’ church) joined at St Mary’s for a service of Holy Communion. It was very different to how it used to be, but it just felt so good to be back.
As our capacity is so limited we will be continuing to stream our services online. For September we have an interim schedule of 9:30am Holy Communion at St Mary’s and 11am Online Worship. If all goes well, and restrictions don’t return, we will revert to our normal pattern of services in October at St Luke’s as well as St Mary’s. Please keep an eye on the our website and FaceBook for the latest information.
The last few months have challenged us in many ways and not being able to worship together in a church building has been very difficult. Churches are special places, places of prayer and worship for many hundreds of years for the most part. When we gather in a church we join with, not only those who are physically with us that day, but also the saints who have gone before us, those who have taught us the faith and those we have worshipped with but who are no longer with us. Churches are not just buildings we go in for the convenience of meeting together, they are places soaked in prayer and as such offer a unique place to draw near to God and he to us.
That said, whilst churches offer all of the above, we should always remember that through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God is with us always and in all places. No one has been more surprised than me that Online Worship has proved to be so popular! On the face of it, it shouldn’t work, we are remote, we have no physical community together, but it does and it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables it. Yes, it may be FaceBook or YouTube facilitating it, but it is the Holy Spirit that powers it. I am still amazed at what we have achieved through our online worship and we have reached people far and near and also those who would struggle to attend in church worship at any time, like those with disabilities, the housebound, or those in Nursing and Care Homes. I know we’ve had a following from Richmond Village!
Personally, I think there’s room for both, and that’s why I’m committed to online worship moving forward, which will hopefully supplement our in church worship Both can and should be in harmony as we seek to do the same thing through them, enable people to worship God.
With my best wishes and prayers,