Trinity is a joint URC / Methodist church. It is an active member of the Church in Abingdon – a thriving ecumenical project comprising 14 Abingdon churches.
In more usual times August is a month when I spend some time reflecting on the last year, trying to identify priorities for the year that lies ahead as well as identifying planning needs etc. This year, it has been different, with lots of time spent on advice and guidance about what is or is not permitted during the Covid pandemic, and asking questions like “Can we and indeed should we try reopening churches for worship? What needs to be in place?” and all those kinds of things.
I am very grateful that Trinity has a wonderful group of Trustees who are able to look at these things in detail, do the required Risk Assessments etc. We have also been looking at church finances and will continue to do so. Your commitment to Trinity Church, its mission and its ministry is amazing. Not to forget the exceptional ways that everyone has been caring for each other over these strange months of lockdown.
Please continue to keep the Trustees in your prayers as they seek to fulfil their responsibilities faithfully and well in times when the advice appears to change by the day. It is a challenging time to be in positions of responsibility and leadership in the Church.
Still, we look to the future in the confidence that God has not stopped calling us, not stopped loving us, not stopped longing for us to deepen our relationship with Him. And none of that has been affected by a virus or lockdown!
Often people say things like “when we get back to normal …” which is in part longing for the restrictions of Covid to be relaxed and in part wanting to go back to how it was before lockdown. Yet I cannot help but think that those who are wondering what the ‘new normal’ may be are closer to the mark. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a ‘new normal’. People have learned how to do things differently and however much we want to get back to seeing people properly and having the human contact in the way that God designed us to live, it will not be the same. Yet this should not be any surprise to us, life and society has always moved on. Things have always changed.
I heard someone say recently - almost in jest - that “I’m not sure I’ll have time for Church on Sunday when it starts back again! I’m so busy online, I visit X church and then Y church and catch up with so many people.” She then said, “well of course I will go back”. It has been fascinating to hear just how many people have found so many different ways of worshipping God. It reminds us that God’s church is global in its reach and diverse in its traditions and styles. What has been even more encouraging is to read about churches whose congregations have increased substantially because they offered things online. It is something we will need to look at. But the really encouraging thing about it as far as the researchers can tell, is that many of those connecting online are not just people from different churches shopping around, but that there are lots of people searching for, or wanting to explore, spirituality.
Will we get back to normal? Yes, or at least something like it, when it is deemed safe for us to do so. What will the ‘new normal’ look like? In truth no one is sure. But I am sure that we are entering into a new chapter where mission and ministry will be exercised in more ways than before. This might be a little unsettling for some and an exciting prospect for others. However we feel about it, we are called by God to share the Good News of Jesus and bring people to an awareness that they are loved by God. I am thankful that we worship a God who is full of wisdom and I pray that God will pour out his wisdom on us that we may engage creatively however this new normal begins to emerge.
I am looking forward to leading worship in Church again and pray that God will continue to sustain us all during these uncertain times.
Wishing you all Every Blessing
This short video has extracts from Trinity Church on 13th September – first service since lockdown
The following worship material has been provided this week by Trinity Church, Abingdon, for those worshipping at home.
To obey Covid restrictions places will be limited, when Trinity reopens from 13th September. Those wishing to attend will need to book:
Either by calling the Office (01235 520282) – there is an answerphone, and the office is open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Booking is open for Sunday September 27th at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/trinity-morning-worship-27-september-tickets-120508515213
For Sunday 4th October at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/trinity-morning-worship-4-october-tickets-121507322673
Should you need to cancel any tickets a cancel ticket guide is below
Methodist churches are sharing weekday morning prayers online:
09:00 Wesley House, Cambridge
(Resources for the prayers and readings are available here)
10:00 Wesley’s Chapel, London
JPIT – The Joint Public Issues Team is made up of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, working together for peace and justice. JPIT are encouraging people to establish a daily rhythm of prayer, and will be sharing prompts on social media and via a daily email pointing people towards different issues; local, national and global to encourage us to pray. This will particularly highlight vulnerable and marginalised groups during the Coronavirus crisis. Visit here for more information.
Church Coronavirus Guidance