Another week has flown, as all the weeks seem to have done during this pandemic. Certainly, at the moment, we seem to have lost summer, but we all live in hope that it will return during September. I trust that the gloomy weather is not reflected in your health.
We stand now, on the verge of the schools returning to what will be new normal full activity, and I’m sure all our hopes are that this will be entirely successful.
During this pandemic, we are told that the interest in virtual church attendance has increased by 25%, over our former conventional church services. It is one of God’s great blessings, that electronic communication has increased to such a measure, so many of the effects of the pandemic have been ameliorated, and it’s been much easier to keep in touch with folk, whom we may otherwise have not been able to see as frequently as before .
It seems to me, that the various forms of virtual worship, are being called upon to continue In parallel, even as and when our church buildings open for conventional Sunday worship. Many of us are cheered by the way in which our churches have been able to serve their communities, in the provision of weekday needs, and I know that we, more mature members, are grateful to the care and concern of our younger folk, who have sustained the vision and compassion which is the church amongst society.
So as some of our churches, continue to be centres of hope for their community, in the distribution of needful supplies, both to the deprived, and to those still isolating, we are, cautiously trying to open for Sunday worship. This is a challenging time; we need to remember that many in our congregations are elderly, and some may not be prepared to return to normal church meetings with complete confidence, until vaccination has taken place. In this respect I would refer you to the URC East Midlands Synod Web Site https://www.urc5.org.uk/ , and the ‘Latest URC Covid-19 advice – Emerging into the New Normal’, found at https://www.urc5.org.uk/content/latest-urc-covid19-advice-emerging-new-normal. This document, is prepared by the Synod Moderators.
Please consider the Personal Risk Assessment Form which will be found in the documentation mentioned above: note that for those scoring 6 or above the advice is:- ‘A score of 6 or more suggests a high risk and indicates that you should continue to work or participate in church life from your home’. It is also important, if your buildings are being opened up, to ensure that our Synod Property Officer, Mr Geoff Milnes, is informed prior to Church Building opening. This can be done, either through the Synod office or using firstname.lastname@example.org . Further good advice is available in the latest Synod E-Letter 325 – 23rd July 2020.
As usual, with this email, I attach the service for next Sunday 30 August, at this early opportunity. The service is in the form of low level technology, so that those who have access to simple emails may receive it, and may forward it on to our other brothers and sisters whose email addresses I do not have, with minimum effort, should it be felt appropriate. This service would have been shared with our Wycliffe URC under normal circumstances. The pdf contains the hymn words, largely from ‘Rejoice & Sing’, so that you may sing along, as I know you do. Some prayers and the readings for the day, from the Revised Common Lectionary, on which the URC Prayer Handbook is based, are included.
May I once again remind you of the very excellent services and devotions which the URC is providing at: https://devotions.urc.org.uk/
Every blessing to you all as you remain in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for all you continue to do.