To open or not to open, that is the question?
I want to be clear amongst all the uncertainty, I want to make this well understood. The Church is open, has been all along. The building has been shut, the corporate gatherings have been suspended, but the Church is alive and well and living out the Gospel.
Our Lord is King! And He reigns!
As we celebrate Pentecost, we delight in the fact that to each of us has been given the Spirit of God and this Spirit of God leads us into all truth.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, God at work in the world and in the Church. In the Old Testament it was believed that God resided in the Temple, the Jews made their offerings there, they worshipped there where Godhead dwelt. But now He has poured out His spirit upon all flesh says the Prophet Joel. Christ is in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. God does not live in the building He lives in the hearts. Your hearts and if your heart is open, in Him, then the Church is open in the world.
The Living Church
God has empowered you to live in the world as it is with all its pain and suffering. God has called you to be a people of Hope where there is no hope. He has called you to love where there is no love, forgive where there is hurt, heal where there is pain. And the Holy Spirit is the power of God at work in us.
Usually on Pentecost we have a big thank you celebration of the presence of God in our lives. So, let us do what we have always done and give ourselves fully to God this day and in the power of the Holy Spirit go out into the world to live to His praise and Glory. Let our lives be our act of worship.
Your primary “Mission” is to your family and your secular employment or activity. The organization of church seeks to assist you as much as we can with doing that. Praying for each other, supporting each other, sharing experience and building this community of believers all helps to build up the body and enables us to develop the new skill set required to enter a new world that lies ahead of us. For that organized Church to function you have responsibilities to the Church too. These include giving for its financial sustainability and giving of your time and being part of building the community. Discipleship means participation not just spectating. It means giving and not just receiving.
Opening the Church Building
In order to use the Church buildings we need to follow a number of steps and I am working on the required documentation, but I need to be upfront, the team that prepares the church for use will come from you. No one over 65 may be part of that team and no one with any medical condition may be part of that team, so that narrows it down. This team will prepare the church building for use and that is your responsibility.
We are a community of believers, a priesthood of all believers and we are called to serve God. There are many ministry areas that we continue to develop through the institution of Church. The more active we are the better our chances of surviving this and thriving, as individuals and as an organization.
We would like to use the Church building for:
Small group meetings, daily prayer and bible study – Sunday’s will still be done as we are doing now, possibly with a team at the Church improving the set up for the services which will enable us to stream them on Facebook and Zoom simultaneously.
Our Sunday Services will have a completely different arrangement to be fit for purpose. The previously used traditional format will not be permissible nor sensible for a good while yet.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 65 and are healthy please sign up via WhatsApp “COVID 19 Team and your name.” The Church Council will then call upon you to assist where required.
Once we are ready, we will host:
· Council Meetings;
· Lay Minster Meetings;
· Ministry Meetings;
If you are over 65 or have a comorbidity then sign up for our intercessory team COVID 19 Prayer team and Name.
I want to inform you of what measures we are engaging with to address the COVID 19 Pandemic: Remember that as we move down the levels so the risk of infection increases and the level of support will need to increase.
· Phygital Church – a fully integrated Physical and Digital Church that is relevant to the needs of our time, using a combination of social media and in person contacts to do the work that we are called to. We will be developing additional online resources for spiritual growth (eg. Alpha Online).
· Social Development – together with strategic partners we aim to establish and support a number of community projects, where we assist people with food security as opposed to simply receiving food parcels;
· Creation Care – We are leading a major economic renewal project involving recycling and cleaning up the environment and creating economic opportunity;
· Loving communities – There are many people who are very vulnerable, and we need volunteers to offer support such as shopping, lifts to medical practitioners and other
· simple assistance and support. Sign up “COVID 19 Assist and your name”
· We need people to be contacted telephonically as they remain in isolation and segregated while others will be re-entering the workplace. Sign up “COVID 19 TELECOM and your name.”
· We will be developing small groups that will be able to manage their interactions and integrate into a new way of doings things. Are you willing to play a leadership role in developing small groups “Sign up at COVID 19 LEADERS and your name”
At Pentecost each one heard the disciples speaking in their own language – the message was specific to them. May you hear the voice of God calling your name and find your place as we build a new community, a new way of worship, a new pastoral care system for each other.
We are the Body of Christ He is the Head and we are the hands and feet and eyes and we all need to work together to rebuild the world in a just, merciful, caring, Kingdom valued way.
May God bless our community as we seek to serve the risen and ascended Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost.