It is nearly 6 months since we last gathered in the King’s Hall.  I don’t know about you, but I am missing seeing everyone, singing my heart out, and being able to hug or pray with people.  But some of these things, unfortunately, are still a long way off.  However, we are able to change the way that we meet together as restrictions are lifted in limited ways and this gives a brief update on our plans for September.

Over the last few months, meeting on zoom has been a good alternative to meeting together (given the circumstances!).  It has not been without its challenges, especially in trying to communicate with others contributing, while we are all in different locations.  So the next step of changing the way we do things is to start running our zoom Sundays (and live-streaming to YouTube and Facebook) from the King’s Hall.

Over the last few weeks, we have been researching the best way to do this, putting together a system of cameras and tech that enable us to do what we want and installing it.  We are nearly there, after some hard work by Justin Lanyon-Olver & Paul Enever in particular and we are hoping that our first Sunday of live-streaming from the King’s Hall will be 13th September.  This is provisional just now, as there are still things to put in place and a steep learning curve in using the new setup.

The second stage is to then open up this up to other people coming along.  We are restricted to a maximum of 50 people in the King’s Hall at any one time.  So we plan to have hybrid gatherings – some folks in the King’s Hall, and others able to participate online (via zoom, facebook, or youtube).  Our provisional date for starting this is Sunday 27th September.  Once this is confirmed we’ll let you know.

We would also like to suggest that people could meet up with others in CCE in their homes to participate in our Sunday Gatherings.  The government guidelines would need to be adhered to:  inside with no more than 3 households and 8 people; social distancing etc.  But this could be a great way of meeting together in small groups to worship and have fellowship, and joining with others from CCE via zoom or our live-stream.  Why not consider inviting some others around one Sunday?

These Gatherings will look very different to what we have been used to: there won’t be singing; we’ll have to be a  safe distance from one-another and leave promptly at the end; face-masks will need to be worn.  But rather than seeing these things solely as losses (which of course they are!), we also want to see this is an opportunity to change things around, that might help us all connect with Jesus in fresh ways and prioritise participation & engagement differently.  We are looking at ways to have the youth and the children involved in some of these Gatherings.  And we are looking at different practices that will help us grow in our faith and be nourished.  While it will be strange, we are excited at the opportunity too.

We’ll give more details of how you can book in to these meetings in the coming weeks, to responsibly manage the restriction in numbers and in line with “Test and Protect” requirements.  In the meantime do be praying for us as a church, that we can flourish in the new season we find ourselves in.

With Blessings,
Rupert Ward

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