A letter from Reverend Carol Hayden
The pre-COVID-19 world is gone, replaced by a ‘new normal’.
The new landscape calls for both resilience and adaptation, embracing new ways of doing things and of being church. On Tuesday evening the PCC agreed that we can open our doors for public worship on Palm Sunday (28 March). There will be a service at Christ Church Walmsley at 9:30am followed by a service at St. Andrews at 11.00am.
This will be the pattern of worship for the foreseeable future. We will have to adhere to following a robust risk assessment ensuring everybody’s safety. We have to adapt and think about the implications for being church in this ‘new normal’ context.
Last year Archbishop Justin Welby addressed the Synod saying: “Churches have played a vital role serving their communities and bringing hope through the Gospel. But the Church itself will emerge from the pandemic changed. We do not know what kind of Church of England will emerge from this time except that it will be different.”
We have changed; we may not have met for worship together physically for some months, but we have worshipped virtually. I suspect this is a practice that will continue for many churches across the country. Our doors may have been closed but, as a church, we have kept in touch with the isolated through telephone calls, cards and letters.
In our Diocese there is going to be change. The seven new area Deans have been appointed. There is going to be a restructuring and there will be a reduction in stipendiary clergy. So we cannot go back to how it was, we have to take what we have learned and reshape our church to better equip those for whom we are called to serve.
Archbishop Justin went on to say, “Out of these times we will see renewal; not because we are clever but because God is faithful. We will see a renewed and changed Church emerging from the shocks of lockdown.”
We are entering a new way of being church. Some of you may feel that it is too soon; others will feel that we are not opening enough! We will continue to pray and serve Jesus, perhaps in new and unusual ways, ensuring that we are Christ-centred.
Whatever happens in the next 12 months, remember that we serve a God who is faithful and who will direct and guide us.
Love and prayers
~ Rev Carol
14 March 2021