Page 7 - Jigsaw July 2020
P. 7

 St. James’ Church
St. Nicholas’ Church, Islip Holy Trinity Church, Denford Rector: Reverend Nolan Robson
e: t: 01832 734614
When will church reopen?
It’s a question I get asked a lot at the moment (May 2020). It is clearly on people’s minds and there are a variety of answers.
The church is open!
Our buildings may be closed but I trust the people of Christ are still active in worship, learning, prayer and service. We may not be able to gather physically other than in household groupings, but we are gathering remotely. Praise the Lord that through
the wonders of video, emails, phone calls and more we are still worshiping, learning, praying and encouraging one another.
Not only that, but we are also serving our families, neighbours and community in Christlike ways, as best we can during these unsettling times.
Yes, the buildings are closed but I pray that Christ’s church is still growing in faith and number. Indeed, as many have said, it has never been easier to invite our friends
or family ‘to church.’ After all, you can now watch the service and make sure it would be right for them before sending the link. Plus, they can safely watch from the comfort of their own living room. The church is very much open.
For now the buildings remain closed
While the Government’s message was,
‘Stay at Home,’ no-one was allowed into
the buildings other than for emergencies
or essential maintenance, that included ministers. Following the change to, ‘Stay Alert,’ the Church of England slightly
changed their rules to allow ministers (and their households) into church buildings for
the purpose of prayer and streaming online services. Our Bishop has also kindly permitted
the builders to resume work to construct the new servery in St James. But essentially the buildings remain closed for now.
It depends what you mean by open
There has been some speculation in the press about the immanent opening of church buildings, but there is also much misunderstanding. If we are asking, when will we return to services and social activities like they were before lockdown? Services with singing, sharing bread and wine, social proximity and all sorts of different ages in
the same space together, plus refreshments afterwards. If we are wondering when we will return to that, then the answer is, only the Lord knows for sure. We simply do not know and all I can tell you, is that Bishop Donald does not expect it to be during 2020.
That will be painful for all of us to hear,
but it should also prompt to us think again about establishing good patterns of worship, learning, prayer and serving in the home. We each need to be learning to spiritually feed ourselves, our households and perhaps one another remotely.
Possibly in a few months time?
Depending on the government’s alert level, the Church of England may allow some use of the buildings, subject to social distancing, cleaning etc. For example, there is a hope that small funerals may be permitted in coming months. Small socially distanced services without singing or refreshments may also be permitted towards the end of the summer. But we just don’t know yet. The factors are varied, complex and changing day to day.
These are uncertain and testing times, but in the words of the Apostle Paul:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
May the Lord be with you.

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