Chapel Street Methodist Church

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Minister's Letter, 30 June

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

I was watching a ‘Springwatch’ programme on TV this week. It featured close-up pictures of a Field Vole, small, cute, furry and brown. She was safe in her burrow and could venture out under the canopy of grass around her. But then she had to break cover to reach the food she needed to survive. Above the field in which her burrow was, a great Hawk was flying in the sky, waiting to pounce on anything that moved. It ate a lot of voles!

You may feel a bit like the Vole now that we are increasingly being allowed out of Lockdown. Staying at home was safe, but it is also unsustainable and undesirable. The Vole needs to be very careful, keep her eyes open and social distance from the Hawk, but she needs to live. Some of you continue to need to self-isolate and it is vital that you do so. Many more of you however have a residual fear of going out and meeting people, a fear cultivated validly by the government in these past months. Some of you are raring to get out and do whatever is legal! I tend to fall into the last group.

This Sunday we are allowed to start holding worship in our buildings. With social distancing and spread out seating we can do everything other than sing. So, prayers including open prayer and the Lord’s Prayer can be said. Bible readings can be read, psalms can be read together, and sermons shared. We can also use live music. The organist can play the hymns and we can follow the words, or hymns can be said through together. Music can also be used for meditation and unspoken praise.

So, unless you are self-isolating can I encourage you to come to church this Sunday, July 5th. This week Chapel Street will have 9.30 and 11.00 services, Madron at 11.00 and High Street at 4.30. Wesley Rock will start next week, but Drift and Gulval cannot yet open.

You will be very welcome in whatever MAP church is most convenient for you.

Although all the opening churches will have spaced furniture and cleansing gel etc, we depend on you to take your own precautions in self-distancing, using lots of common sense, and if you wish, wearing a face mask.

I read a great quote from a US Chief of Staff, during the Obama presidency. “You never need a serious crisis to go to waste.” So much can be learned, not only for the next crisis but for the new normal that emerges from the ruins. I hope we as churches have learned a lot in this crisis. Certainly, the whole use of social media for fellowship and being connected is a huge gain; we may have learned less about the power of prayer to bring about God’s intervention.

The crisis now presents us with fresh opportunities for mission because the public are less confident in a secular state to be able to cope, and more aware of their personal limitations and mortality. Modern sureties have been shaken. Questions are being asked about meaning and priorities and truth, and there will be competition from many quarters to answer those questions. We as Christian communities need to grasp the opportunities which this unwanted crisis presents us. People are not going to flock into our churches just because they have been shaken, but because we bring the good news of Jesus into their anxious emptiness. So, these coming weeks are not just for us to tentatively re-enter our buildings but instead to invite people to come with us now, before they get back to their ambivalent normal.

Warm regards and blessings to you all,

Alastair's signature

Published at 14:08 on 30 June 2020

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