It’s nearly two months since we stopped meeting in a building. It’s been a difficult and disorientating time. We have faced challenges we have never experienced before, from the loss of loved ones to struggles with unfamiliar technology. We have had to confront fears of the unknown, and make brave decisions about when to leave the house and why. Some of us are feeling particularly isolated, and some are struggling with physical and mental health.
But the work of St Barnacles, and indeed St Aubyn’s, goes on! We have:
Sunday services – either online at 10.30am, led by myself or by phone, led by Revd Sue
Small groups – meeting on a Monday and Thursday evening
Junior church – next meeting this Friday afternoon
Morning prayer – every Tuesday at 9am at St Aubyn’s
Open Church – at St Barnacles from 10.30am to 1pm on a Tuesday, and 2.30pm on a Thursday at St Aubyn’s
Quiz nights – the next one is happening this Saturday at 7.30pm.
Monday to Thursday broadcasts – to encourage and strengthen us in our faith
That’s quite a list isn’t it? So I want to thank everyone who is taking part and contributing to all these events. My prayer at the moment is that we wouldn’t see these as stopgaps but we would have more and more a culture of inviting others to join in (with appropriate safeguards, of course), and that we would encourage each other to stay engaged. I recognise as the months pass by it is easy for enthusiasm to wane, or find other online services that are definitely rather more polished and professional!
What of the future? Well, I would very much ask your prayers for the leadership team as we meet tomorrow – 14th May – to take stock of where we are at the moment, and to start planning for the future. Right away, it needs to be said that whatever we decide we will exercise utmost caution, and follow diocesan guidance wherever possible. It may be many months before we can meet as we used to, and how we meet will be very different from the old, familiar ways.
Some will want to meet sooner, others will have grave concerns about going to church at all, and it is so important that beyond our online events we all keep talking to each other. In this respect I would continue to commend the work of the Pastoral Action Team, who are doing a great job of supporting the church family. But whether you are a regular member of St Barnacles or not, please keep in touch. And even though we may not be physically together, spread the word! The church of Jesus Christ is definitely still very much alive in Devonport and Stoke.