Pastoral Letter From Rev. Felicity
The words of the Wesleys’ hymn, ‘And are we yet alive, and see each other’s face? Glory and praise to Jesus give for his redeeming grace!’ (STF 456) comes to mind as I look back on the dark times we’ve been through.
We’ve come a long way since the days of complete lockdown at the height of the Coronavirus threat when the dismal count of people succumbing to the virus and worse dying from it even made our own survival seem doubtful.
What worrying weeks and months those were and yet what glimpses of positivity in the ways we supported one another through simple acts of love: by a phone call, an email, an offer of help to one another and to our neighbours and above all in prayer. We may have been physically separated but we remained and continue united in faith as the Body of Christ both here and throughout the world. Together that is a powerful force of prayer and source of hope for ourselves and others.
I’m delighted and comforted that as we step into September a month which represents re-openings and returns: the academic year, the return to work after holidays and for us as Methodists, the beginning of a new Connexional year we are able to do so at a time when the doors to our church building will once more be opening to welcome and receive all who wish to come in. Glory and Praise to Jesus give, indeed!
From Wednesday 9th of September we will be opening the doors of our church on Wednesdays from 10.30 to 11am and welcome everyone to a God-place and time to sit and think in silence, to spend in meditation or private prayer. Then later in the month we look forward to resuming Sunday service of worship.
At such a time as this it is important to remember that more than any other social institution, our presence in the community represents God’s light, hope and welcome to all. Being able to reopen our church building under these circumstances then symbolises a practical affirmation of our continued faith in God’s world and an encouragement to our community.
But we reopen with the greatest of caution taking into account all government guidelines for our health and safety and implementing these in the church and premises to the best of our ability. This means you will find many changes as you return to the building.
Seating will be spaced to observe 2m distance except for those who come as a family unit. Sanitiser units for cleansing of hands are dotted prominently, please use these frequently not least on entering and leaving the building.
A sign-in sheet for ‘Test and Trace’ purposes will be in the Café area; please do fill this in with your details.
Face coverings have to be used for the length of time you are on the premises. We urge you to bring your own. You will also need to come equipped with your own bible, hymnbook or any other printed resource you’d like to use during your time of prayer or meditation.
Coming back into more physical contact after the times we’ve been through poses its challenges particularly as the virus has not entirely disappeared. It is understandable that not everyone will feel able to make that step for many good reasons. I hope no one will feel under any pressure to do anything they are not quite ready for. Services of worship and fellowship opportunities will continue to be offered online and via zoom.
We are in this together and we are not alone for God who loves us more than we can ever know or understand is with us and will help us quite through. So may we embrace this time with renewed faith, joy and strength trusting in God always and continuing to love and serve one another in the best Christian love.
Glory and praise to Jesus.
With prayer and best wishes