Our last service in the church building with a full congregation was the 15th March 2020; the following week was to be All Age Worship to celebrate Mothering Sunday. Next week we celebrate Mothering Sunday and a year will have passed.
When I was a child Corona was a soft drink; later it was a popular beer. Type Corona into a search engine today and everything is about the virus. I’m not sure I’d heard the term
‘lockdown’ prior to the pandemic; perhaps ‘Batten down the hatches.’ And what about COVID 19 or the ‘R number’? Had anyone heard of Zoom before lockdown? It’s now so familiar we are being warned about zoom fatigue and zoom stress.
Now, we are on a roadmap out of the pandemic. While there will be much that is familiar post COVID many things will have changed. Bereavement, depression, stress, PSD, mental illness are all things being spoken of as results of the long periods of isolation. There is an anticipation among some church leaders they will have lost significant numbers from their weekly congregations when they eventually return to normal Sunday worship. Strangely, there is an increasing awareness, nationally, that some who have found lockdown and isolation difficult are alarmed at the prospect of going into crowds or large groups or
Locally, I would like to suggest we resume something we did when the first lockdown started; use the telephone or internet to contact others from the church and have regular conversations. I know some have been doing this throughout the year and I want to say a big thank you to you. I’d like to ask the Pastoral visitors to follow up on your pastoral group and see how people are managing. If you’re not a pastoral visitor don’t feel excluded ring the people you know and have a chat. People have told me how much they have appreciated the many calls they have received and what it has meant to them.
OMC was a joyous, loving community prior to the lockdown; it still is. But we are feeling the lack of social and physical contact that meant so much. Coffee, cake, chatting, cake, meeting friends regularly over coffee and cake on Friday mornings, after church in the halls drinking coffee and eating cake. Let’s look forward to it again. Our strength is greater than the sum of the individuals, and in the grace of God we are able to overcome whatever difficulties result from the events of the past year; together.
Heavenly Father, thank you that you have brought us
Together into a family bearing Christ’s name. Thank you
For the love which binds us together and your grace
which sustains each one of us. May we together support
one another that as your family we may come out of the
pandemic with a greater and more sensitive awareness
of you and of each other. Amen