Looking Back, Looking Forward
A Difficult Year
The past 12 months have been different from anything we expected. Physical lockdowns, churches closed, social distance, and travel restrictions. For many of us, this has been very hard and we’ve faced personal suffering and tragedy. Given all that’s happened, even survival feels like a big achievement. We have been denied many of the things we previously took for granted and, as life has been stripped down, many of us have been forced to ask some big questions.
Some people have come to church for the first time and the year of Covid has been the first time they’ve met Jesus! Others have had their faith tested and have found the separation from church very difficult. We’ve kept up with weekly services, trying to involve a wide cross-section of the church family. We’ve sought to focus on the essentials of our faith – looking at the Apostles Creed and the kingship of Jesus.
What happens now?
But now we are looking to the future to consider what church will look like in the post-covid world and I’d like to invite you to join us in a three-month process.
Launch Event: Monday 12th April
At this 1 hour Zoom meeting, we will explain the wider process and what we’re hoping to achieve. In essence, we want to seek God’s will for the future, rather than just following our own bright ideas.
Step 1: Prayer and Fellowship
We will then take part in 6 weeks of prayer, seeking God for his wisdom. This will include sharing some resources for small groups / prayer triplets / individual prayer: including liturgy, suggested hymns and songs, Bible readings…
As restrictions begin to ease, we will also invest time in rebuilding the fellowship of the church as we begin to meet in small groups.
Discernment and Discussion Launch: Monday 24th May
This gathering will begin our discussions about what changes we might make for the future. This first meeting will be to begin framing our conversations: introducing the questions for discussion and decision and recommending some resources to help us to think about mission and ministry.
Step 2: Discussion and Discernment
For the next 7 weeks, everyone is invited to take part in discussions about the best way forward. Some of these meetings will be organised centrally by the PCCs, whilst others can be informal. Some people may prefer to make written contributions or meet one-to-one with the churchwardens.
All three PCCs will meet as part of the process, but we want everyone to be able to be part of the conversation. From Monday 21st June, restrictions on meeting are likely to be lifted and so we will be able to have some larger meetings all together.
Decision and Announcement: Monday 12th July
It is our hope that all our conversations and decisions will be made in time for an announcement before the Summer holidays, enabling us all to have some good rest and recuperation over the break. (We hope that this meeting will happen in person.)
What happens next?
We don’t know what church will look like after the Summer. Whatever we have decided will begin in September, as everybody returns from holiday and the new academic year begins.