The other day Pauline was stuck in a queue outside the local chemist’s. Getting more than a little bored, she texted Matthew to tell him that there were five people in front of her; then ten minutes later she texted again to say that there was now only one, so that she was moving as well as waiting. In his wisdom Matthew messaged right back with some theology about waiting for God to move, as well as something about moving on while continuing to wait… Pauline was naturally hugely impressed and grateful for this inspired input while she stood in a rather chilly wind with her collar turned up and her mask firmly on her face… Back in the warmth of the study we listened to Joth Hunt, our regional minister talking about waiting (you can hear his message during today’s online service) and we felt that Pauline’s experience confirmed our impression that as a church we are most definitely waiting on the move.
It has been a long time since we gathered together in person, so we are naturally glad that our Sunday services will soon resume. But for some of us the waiting will continue, as we might be in a vulnerable group, so should not be going out into the company of others more than necessary; or perhaps we might feel that we simply don’t want to take the risk of coming into contact with the virus. Some of us have young children, and as there are no children’s groups meeting yet, it might be easier to stay home and carry on watching Virtual Sunday School. These are good and valid concerns, especially if they help to keep us and others safe, and we would encourage everybody who prefers to wait a little longer before returning to church (or who should do so) to carry on doing just that. Our online service will continue, as will our after-church Zoom coffee catch-up, so no-one will miss out by staying home.
But even as we continue waiting, we are also moving on. On a practical level, we are planning to open the church for Sunday services from September 6th, though with many restrictions in place. There is a video on our website which tells you what that will entail, and we have included it in this morning’s service. Please watch it very carefully, and think about how the new way of doing things will affect you, before you decide to book in and join us. But there is more to moving on than just physical movement, because along with every other church in the country, we must listen to what God is saying before we can act. In our own context, we have concerns which reach beyond our Sunday services, and waiting for God’s voice is difficult, especially with regard to groups where we have worked for years to build up trust and relationship. So please keep Noah’s Ark, Messy Church and Messy Zone in your prayers, and ask God to make plain His plans for those groups, and for the families and children who love them. Ask Him to bless and keep safe our precious Zone children, whose faith is burgeoning, but needs to be nurtured in community with each other. Foodshare is thriving, but please keep praying for the new team which now runs it, and let’s all give thanks for Sarah, whose work has blessed hundreds of people in our community. In other words, even if we still feel we are physically waiting, in fact all of us are moving on, because through our faithful and intentional prayers we will know His will, and find His direction.
With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline