The changing face of ‘normality’
The recent government road-map out of lock-down has given us all cause to hope that by the summer we will be back on the road to normal. But do we really want to go back to so-called ‘normality’, or is it time for us to let go of the past and move on to the brave new post-pandemic world and all that it has to offer humanity.
Normality for us at St Michael and All Angels Church is doing what we can to keep our community and parishioners safe. This means when in church sitting in marked seats, wearing masks, not singing, and being physically distanced from each other. Easter and Christmas 2020 have been extremely different from anything we have ever experienced. Our church, which would have been filled with over a hundred people can now hold no more than 23. But we look forward to worshipping together in full fellowship, even if it is within the context of a new ‘normal’. The old ‘normal’ has meaning for those who understand it, but not for those new to the church. What is shared together now is the new ‘normal’ of online worship via Zoom, and ‘hybrid’ services in which such online worship is linked to worship in the church building.
Clearly then, what we view as ‘normal’ changes over time. Nothing stays the same. This past year, the changes have been rapid, but like most churches, St Michaels has embraced Zoom technology in its worship, not out of choice, but out of the desire to remain a faithful worshipping community.
Ecclesiastes 3, 1, tells us that ‘there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven’. This is a comforting reminder that God is in control; and though we may have mastered some things, e.g., technological changes, some things are beyond us and we need to let go and let God guide us. I believe that the time has come for us to prayerfully reflect on what we have learned during the past year of this pandemic so that we can take forward those things that will enrich the future mission of St Michael And All Angels as a vibrant church at the heart of the community.
We are planning the Church’s road-map out of lock-down and, all being well, we will gradually return to worship in the church building including on Easter Sunday (4th April). We will also continue with the ‘hybrid’ services of Zoom and in-church worship into the foreseeable future. Please be assured that anyone worshipping with us online via zoom is as much a part of the congregation as anyone in the church building. Until restrictions are lifted, our seating capacity is limited to a maximum of 23 people, so if you would like to attend on Easter day, please let us know by contacting Caroline Bews: T 01483 289123; or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our website: pirbrightchurch.org.uk for information about our weekly services.
With every blessing. Rev Bev Hunt