In March 2020 the UK government issued guidance recommending
that church buildings should be closed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Immediately communities across the country began to ask themselves 'How can we
continue to be Church when we cannot meet for services?'
Many churches posted notices in their windows:
'This building is closed. God's people are the Church and we remain open.'
'The Church is not closed. It has been deployed.'
Many congregations felt that after years of reiterating the
idea that the Church is people, not a building, they were being given an
opportunity to live out this truth in their communities – as 'living stones'. A
church in Ilford set up a daily food distribution point in their car park. Another
in Essex set up a telephone visiting service. The Abingdon Food Bank (supported
by All Saints) has never been busier.
All Saints has continued to provide fellowship through its
team of Pastoral Visitors. Although in-person visiting has been severely
restricted, they have made regular phone calls to members, and ensured that everyone
has all the practical help and support they need. Just Women and the Men's
Group have continued to meet through Zoom.
Sunday Services have been provided in various ways: through
a Circuit Zoom service, a Circuit YouTube service, and through 'Worship at
Home', a printed form of service which, together with the weekly notice sheet,
is distributed by email and post. We have shared (because we share our
ministers) a separate children's leaflet produced for Trinity Church, full of
pictures, activities and a Bible story.
After repeated closures due to government restrictions, the church is now open again, with no
need to book for services, though some Covid precautions (masks and social distancing) have
been retained. Throughout the pandemic those participating in services reported a
warm sense of fellowship and a deep appreciation of the value of meeting
together for worship, as well as gratitude to the stewards and everyone who
worked so hard to enable this to happen.
The other provisions of Zoom, YouTube and Worship at Home have continued. Intermittent
lockdowns have shown how useful it is to retain these resources.
We give thanks for the technology which has given us so many
opportunities over the last few months: providing music and visual aids on
screens in church, and enabling participation in services and fellowship.
Whatever the next few months bring, we trust in God's guidance to show us the
ways in which we can continue to worship and care together.
All Saints Methodist Church
There is free parking in our car park behind the Church in Dorchester Crescent.