Thought for the Week – Rev Chris

As you’ve probably heard, Mandy and I are moving! I have a new job as ‘Associate Archdeacon’ helping clergy and Churches in the Attercliffe and Ecclesall deaneries in the transition to the Diocese’s new ‘Oversight Ministry’ pattern as it’s known. We expect to be leaving in June, but before then we will have to find somewhere to live, as, unlike parish ministry, no house is provided with this role. It will be a big upheaval, as we’ve been spoilt with a large house here in a lovely location, and we will need to move to something much smaller and more affordable. Quite a change!
How do you respond to changes in your life? Are you the kind of person who relishes something new – a new job, a new place to live, somewhere new to go out for a meal (when we’re allowed!). Or do you prefer things to stay as they are – comfortable and familiar?

God’s Church has been through many changes over the centuries since it was established. Some changes were unexpected, but welcome ones, like Paul being shown that the Good News was not just for Jews, but for the Gentiles too. Other changes were forced upon the Church, for example, the disciples having to flee Jerusalem to escape from persecution, but taking the message of Jesus with them to the places they were scattered. In both cases, God used these changes to bring about good – to further his purposes in the world.

As we slowly come out of lockdown, we all face changes – I hope mostly pleasant, looked for ones! It will be so great to be able to meet up with friends and family in person again, to be able to go out for a meal and to gather together for events and activities.

It will be wonderful to be able to gather in person for worship too! As a Church, the balance will switch from watching online to being in the building again. Won’t it be great when we can sing again in Church! But we mustn’t expect everything to go back to just how it was before – there will be some changes even in Church! For the time being we’ll have just one service at 10am on a Sunday, which will be livestreamed out to those with internet. But paper copies of talks and ‘dial-a-sermon’ for those without internet who can’t get to Church will continue – they’ve been really popular! We’ll only be having children’s groups two Sundays per month to begin with, and we’ll try to make those Sundays in particular as family friendly as we can. Until we are allowed to have wine again in communion, we’ll just have communion once per month. All this will be reviewed again in September, when we hope all restrictions will be lifted.

We would never have wished for the Coronavirus pandemic to happen, but it has taught us that the thing we value most is interaction with others. It’s only when we’ve been deprived of this that we’ve realised how important it is to us! And this is what local Churches can offer. Places where people can meet together, learn more about God and interact with each other. I am sure that God can take and use the unexpected changes of the last year, and bring something new and wonderful from them, which will help his kingdom to grow.

Rev Chris

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