Lockdown easing and St Paul's - the plan so far
Many thanks for those who contributed to our on-line survey or dropped a line to help us think about how we might start to meet physically.
As many of you know we met as a PCC on Monday evening (13th) to continue our conversations about this. As I am sure you will appreciate there are many things we need to consider. As it stands, we have passed a resolution so we can legally remain closed until September 6th. That means our first Sunday when some of us meet physically could be September 6th or 13th.
The Sunday model we are aiming for initially is to continue with Zoom meetings at 10.30am with the whole church family in attendance (as usual). Then, on that same afternoon (4pm) we hold a short service of ‘Evening Prayer’ at the Warwick Road site where the focus will be on fellowship for all-ages (repeating the theme of the morning Zoom service). This will need to start small, with only a handful of people coming along while we experiment and test. We will look to increase the number of people over a few weeks on a rota-style system.
Then, when we feel ready, we will move this all-age gathering to the morning at 10.30am and run our live Zoom service from the Warwick Road site (and cease the 4pm gathering). We will continue to build up the numbers that meet physically (using a rota system) whilst maintaining the online service for everyone else.
We want to work to serve the needs of all the church family. The over 70’s, the vulnerable, as well as the very young. We are also asking the question of how we best serve those of the Prescott Avenue congregation who cannot necessarily attend the WR site. It might be possible to broadcast something at the PA Church Centre if numbers are kept very low.
Now is the preparation stage. We will be conducting risk assessments and making the site as safe as possible. We also need to install specialist equipment to enable us to achieve this model. Please pray for the team who are working on this. If you feel you might be able to serve in a particular way, please let one of the leadership team know.
Please note, for some this will prove to be an anxious time and there will be a variety of opinion about how we should proceed. Wonderfully, over the years, the Lord has blessed St Paul’s with an uncommon unity of the Spirit – which was certainly demonstrated in the PCC meetings during this period of lockdown. The local church is precious to the Lord Jesus and we are taught in his word that unity is something not to be taken for granted but something we need to work hard at. We have found these words of Paul in Ephesians 4 a great encouragement:
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
With love in the Lord Jesus,