Being Church Today

Usually at this time of the year I would be sitting down to write an Easter letter to the BART parishes.

This year our world has changed and we are still feeling our way as to how we will adapt, how we will care for each other and especially for the vulnerable, how we will maintain community, how we will continue to worship God and offer him our prayers and cry out to him in prayer.

Public worship has been suspended in our churches until further notice. We now will re-imagine what it means to be the Church in our communities and how we will share the Christian hope and the love of God in these times.

The Christian confidence and sure hope is the Easter promise of Jesus who gave up his life to pay the price for the world’s brokenness, for our brokenness, and rose again to demonstrate that he is stronger than evil, more powerful even than death itself. The Christian confidence and sure hope is in life.

We may be asking why has this Coronavirus crisis happened, as we have asked before why does conflict happen or famine or climate change; and we have some understanding that science and economics and history and human decisions all have some part to play, both in their causes and in their healing.

We will be concerned about how we will manage with isolation, how we will care for the vulnerable in our communities, what we can do to counter loneliness and anxiety, how we will mourn.

The Christian confidence is that God has not abandoned us, he will bring us through; he is with us, just as he came to live among us 2000 years ago, in Jesus. God knows what grief feels like, as the Father saw his Son die; and he will hold us in our grief. God has the power to heal and make good, not only in the biblical stories, but in the lives and experiences of countless generations since, and still in our lives today.

Our church buildings may be closed for a period to public worship; but the church is not a building, it is people; and we will continue to pray and worship and care for people, in Jesus name and in the power of the Holy Spirit. May we all find a way to join in these tasks, in the days ahead.

We will keep in touch through our website. Let me have your telephone number or email if you want to stay in touch in other ways.

We will pray to God for mercy and healing. Please email or telephone if you wish to make a particular prayer request. We have a team, ‘The Power of Prayer Chain’, praying daily.

We will seek to share love and compassion, just as Jesus did, as we care for each other together. Contact points for help are listed in these pages and on the website’s ‘What’s On’ pages. If you would value help, perhaps with shopping or picking up medication, or can offer help, please be in touch. Many groups in our villages are co-ordinating efforts and seeking to care for each other together. We all are grateful.

We will continue to worship together. On the website’s new ‘Worship’ and ‘Today’s Service’ pages we will publish resources for prayer and very particularly we will post video and audio services and service outlines for Sunday Worship and Worship for Holy Week in BART. Please ‘click’ and join in.

My prayers are for you

In Christian hope and confidence