Hopefully you will have had a wee look at the video update from a couple of weeks ago, where I spoke about the plans for exiting lockdown, with a particular focus for our Sunday Gatherings.
As I mentioned in the video we want to facilitate meeting together in the King’s Hall, along with continuing to have our Sundays online for those not present. I know many of us have missed meeting together, and we are seeking to find ways of enabling this to happen, whilst also recognising that the online world is great for our visibility and reach, along with providing a way to connect for those not able to be in the King’s Hall.
What we do will be quite different from what we have been used to. At the beginning of lockdown I wasn’t at all keen on returning to meet together if we couldn’t do the things we have so valued over the years: singing, talking together, laying on hands in prayer, hugging etc. But as time has gone on, I have mellowed in my views, and have begun to see the opportunity this season affords us to experiment and learn other ways of doing things. We can still worship, even if we can’t sing together. We can still pray for each other to encounter the Lord, even if we can’t lay our hands on someone. We can still relate and connect, even if we can’t stand close to someone and hug them. It will be strange and I still long for a time when these restrictions will no longer be in place, but I am not going to let them stop me from worshiping together, connecting with others and encountering Jesus with others from the CCE family.
We have been busy over the last few weeks trying to sort out many things to make a return to the King’s Hall possible. We have been doing essential things such as risk assessments, and seeking to do all we can to make the King’s Hall as safe a place as possible. We have been setting up the main auditorium so that households can sit together, but at a safe distance from other households. We have been researching and setting up the relevant technology needed for us to live-stream from the King’s Hall, and much more besides.
We are also doing the more exiting work (in my view!) of exploring what we do, as we gather together and online, that will help us all follow Jesus more and participate in His mission. Throughout the centuries, the church around the world has found itself in lots of different contexts (sometimes very unpromising ones) but have found creative ways to do some very familiar practices that promote people connecting with Jesus, furthering discipleship and community and engaging in mission. One of my early experiences as a young Christian was being in a middle eastern country where public gatherings of Christians was dangerous. This church I visited for a month met in homes, in small groups, with no singing (for fear of their neighbours reporting them). And yet they were flourishing: people growing in their faith and many others becoming Christians.
And that is what we long to see more of.
We are working towards making these changes in September. We will give more specific dates and details of how this is all going to work in the coming days, when we are able to be a bit more certain. In the meantime, do please be praying for us that we’d see people connect with Jesus in our online world, and in time as we meet together again.
With love and Blessings,