It has been so good to be able to hold services in the church building; we hope now to have a regular pattern of services

St Anne’s
Sunday @ 11.00 am and Wednesday @ 9.30 am
St James’
Sunday (fortnightly) @ 9.45 am (from July 26th)

We will move to having Communion Services as quickly as is possible and safe, we trust from next Wednesday when we are planning a Communion Service using the old Prayer Book.

We are keeping to the ‘2-metre’ rule within our buildings and we hope people will feel safe and welcomed.

We would encourage people to wear masks or face-coverings as they enter and leave; the minister will probably be wearing a mask to distribute Communion. Please see this as equivalent to a doctor or any care staff wanting the best and safest for the other person, but we know it will feel strange and even sad; we will update if there is further guidance or instruction.

In our Sunday Services, we will remember those who have asked for our prayers by name, and we will recall the names of those whose anniversary falls in the coming week. We also need to learn how to remember all the things that have passed in the “absent” months.

Things are not the same as they were and we must look forwards; The letter to the Hebrews uses the image of things being shaken – an earthquake perhaps – to reflect then on what remains standing and what does not. Few of us like to be shaken and natural instincts are to go back where we were, but that is not always the best response. I do not yet know what we will learn from all this, nor what we should learn to change, nor what we will be forced to change. I do know that those who resist change tend to find themselves left behind.

We have learnt over the years to translate our Scriptures afresh, to develop how we worship, to build more appropriate buildings for our needs (often to see them become less helpful to a subsequent generation!), to adapt our practices, to embrace new technologies (though not always as fast we should have done); we have learnt too from our mistakes, and we have also sometimes failed to learn from our mistakes, and have mistaken our failings.

Rightly we want due reverence and to respect the holy, but we also want acceptance and the priority of love: God is both holy and loving – does our worship reflect that dynamic and truth.

We should look to the rock from which we were hewn as the prophet Isaiah says, but Isaiah also hears God say “Behold I am doing a new thing!”. We must listen to the Spirit who invites us to come, to go forward.

In all this, we hear Jesus saying, “Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

As we learn to worship together again, and as we learn from how we have engaged more widely using online materials, so let us listen and pray, and move forward, holding on to all that is truly good (and some of that is fragile), but not clutching on to things which we no longer need to carry.

Pray God we are listening to him through all this.