From the Curate’s House. Iffley Parish Magazine, August 2021.
Endless changes and endless boredom. These two opposite experiences have dominated the time of the Covid-19 pandemic for many of us. Who can now recall how many people were allowed to meet at what point last year! The rules have changed too many times. Even the constant change begins to be not only tiresome but downright boring and monotonous. Another day, another adjustment to one of the authorities’ countless knobs of social restrictions.
Many of us welcomed the clarity of the Government’s four-stage roadmap out of lockdown. But now we are suddenly in uncharted territory much like we were in March 2020. Almost all legal restrictions have been taken away – right in the middle of a dramatic rise in the number of coronavirus cases. Deciding how to proceed from here has been left to the conscience of individuals and the judgement of every organisation, every venue, and every business big or small.
As a local church we have had to make difficult choices as well. After 70 Sundays of online services (70 happens to be Biblical shorthand for ‘many’!), we are now beginning to meet in person on a Sunday morning, although split between two main services at 9:30 and 11 to maintain some chance of social distancing.
Some may think that we have been too cautious, and some that we have been too reckless. For the latter group, we do encourage you to join us by live stream video if you prefer, and please get in touch if you need help with this. Please also know that live stream is now an option for funerals and other events that not everyone may be able to attend – with many thanks to the Friends of St Mary’s for funding this and to Mike Hay our technical mastermind.
We know that watching on a screen is not quite the same as being there yourself. And some of you may feel that even being together in church is not quite the same as before, what with the masks, the limited number of hymns, the changes to how we receive holy communion, and so on. Please bear with us; all those things will get back to normal when it’s right to do so.
But I want to write something especially for those of you who are new to church and may not know any different from what we’ve experienced during the last 17 months. Please consider becoming part of our community in the building on a Sunday. Church can be more than just a way to break up the monotony of a week in lockdown. Church is where we come to reflect, to give thanks, to pray, even to voice our frustration with God. But most of all we come to be reminded that we are loved unconditionally by someone who is in control even when we feel we’ve lost all control.
You may have begun to attend our church either recently or a few years ago, and perhaps you are wanting to get more involved. Then again, you may be someone who isn’t sure about this church thing at all. Whatever your situation is, you are warmly invited to attend a short series of evening sessions to get to know the church better as well as a chance to get to know some of the people in it.
In these sessions we will be looking at topics like why we worship the way we do, how the church is organised, how to pray, why our building is so significant, and how you can get involved in the community. Details will very soon be on the church website and in the church notice sheets, or you can ring me up for more information (01865 701130). I hope to see you soon.
To subscribe to the Parish Magazine, please contact Michael Sinclair, email@example.com, 01865 438251. Subscriptions cost only £5.00 per year for 12 monthly issues, including free delivery within the parish.