for extraordinary days

The easing of lockdown is an exciting and hopeful time and especially for St Michael’s sitting at the heart of this community. When lockdown descended, it felt like an awe-inspiring moment, a time of feeling stripped of everything familiar – no church, no Holy Communion, no gatherings, no village fair. But laid bare as we were, we have experienced the loving and inspiring presence of Jesus Christ alongside us all so we have never lost hope. Quite the contrary! We have grasped opportunities to worship differently via Zoom and found many heart-warming benefits; we have communicated by email and our ex-panded weekly bulletin with over 120 of our church family and then gradually increased that number; we have used our pastoral heart to support the isolated.

As Pirbright’s new interim Priest in Charge, I am feeling a strong hand of God in all this. And we will continue to need his strength and guidance as we move into this latest phase of apparent ‘normal’. Despite our hopes and expectations of reopening our church building, we are realising that we will probably be a long way short of ‘normal’ for the foreseeable future - two metre distancing means only a maximum of 25 worshippers, no joyful hymn singing, and sharing bread without the wine at Holy Communion.

But you can be sure that we will be working alongside you all to make the most of this new set of opportunities. Our first service since lockdown will be a joyful wedding, which can now take place with up to 30 people in total, and we hope to return to public wor-ship early in August.

Bishop Andrew had words of wisdom and encouragement in one of the recent diocesan bulletins: “In all this I’m reminded of a kite: an object designed to catch the wind, wherever its gusts would take it; but an object too that needs to be firmly grasped in a human hand if it’s properly to fulfil its purpose. The kite is the church in the metaphor, ducking and diving in quite such tempestuous times. But however expertly we nego-tiate the challenges and opportunities of this season, our true security lies in the knowledge that we’re held in the hand of Almighty God, ‘rooted and grounded in love’ in the words of the great apostle (Ephesians 3:17).”

With every blessing from Rev Bev, Catherine and Pauline