From the Rector
Since the (first?) Lockdown was eased and we were permitted to hold actual church services again, we have gradually restarted our Sunday acts of worship in all the churches of our Benefice, bar Temple, which usually only has six services a year anyway.
At present, we are running roughly 50% of what we used to offer, partly because as yet there is limited take-up, and partly because it seems unwise to ask retired clergy to officiate while the risks are still high.
So, for now all the services are being taken by Steve Williams, Robin Thwaites and myself.
Congregations are slowly picking up, as people gain in confidence and feel comfortable being in church once again. Many originally expressed their sadness at the lack of music and singing, since they saw that as a key part of their worship.
I have to be honest and say that I deeply miss this too. But we are also blessed with the commitment of musicians who are offering their skill in providing music to welcome us in and send us away rejoicing, and to accompany the distribution of Holy Communion.
Organists, pianists and, in one case, a violinist, have all enriched our worship with beautiful music. Where a ‘live’ player has not been available, we have managed to be inventive in providing recorded music fitting to the occasion, from anthems by John Tavener to praise choruses.
All our services are staged with all the expected precautions in place, for our prime aim is to ensure that every person who attends feels as safe as possible.
My two clergy colleagues and I have noticed how already these post-Lockdown acts of worship have developed their own style and grown in character. For example, the exchange of the sign of peace is clearly a part of the service that cannot happen for now, but, unbidden, people have begun turning to each other, bowing gently and saying ‘peace be with you’.
The hymns may be missing but we have developed a very natural use of silence after key moments in the liturgy, a space to give people a chance to reflect and pray, rather than rushing straight on the next thing.
But we are also aware that for some it is still far too early to get back to church, and for others who are shielding, unwise.
To that end we are continuing to send out regular resources for worship, prayer and information by email and via the Camelside Benefice Facebook page.
If you use Facebook, do go online and ‘like’ the page so that you get regular updates in that way. And if you would like to be added to the extensive email folder of those who receive our material, please let me know either on 850088 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
In these persistently confusing and alarming times, we will continue to do our very best to support the faith and spiritual needs of all our communities.