From the earliest days of the pandemic, we were being advised that covid would be with us for the long term and we would eventually begin to ‘live with it’ rather than see it end. Journeying with covid has been, and continues to be, challenging for many of us and for many others in our world. My encouragement to us throughout these times had been not only how do we learn to ‘live with’ whatever challenges we face but rather how do we ‘flourish’ even with the challenges going on around us.
The many ways that our church life has continued throughout the last 18 month has, I think shown in bounds how we have learned to ‘flourish’ despite covid. A great example of this has been how we have continued to worship God in music. (I realise that by choosing an example, I inevitably exclude others, but this is one of the range of examples I could have highlighted!). From the beginning of the first lockdown we included music in our on-line worship thanks to the creativity and hard work of our musicians and singers. This often meant long hours of work (as well as the inevitable frustrations that come from working with new technology) and over time we have built up a great repertoire of music to draw on. We made good use of this music in our facebook service, also Sunday and mid-week Zoom services as well as our Tuesday night reflections. Individual choristers, and more recently the wider choir, have sung in our church services and also weddings and funerals while we’ve not been able to sing in Church. I’ve personally used recordings of the music by the choir in baptism services and during home visits finding it a great comfort and encouragement to people in those pastoral situations. Our music had proved a great example of how we have flourished while still facing lots of challenges.
At the end of August, while reintroducing congregational singing into our church services, we gave thanks in our Sunday service for our musicians and singers (along with other who have enabled us to continue to flourish in the pandemic); in this we asked God to continue to bless us through our music. Later this month we are holding a rescheduled ‘late’ summer concert and the reintroduction of choral evensong to our service schedule. We’re doing all of this steadily and in small steps so that people feel safe to continue to worship with us. We hope that the end of September and into October is a time when we feel able to encourage people to come back to church in a safe way for worship and events. We hope that we’re able to continue to flourish whatever the challenges going on around us – through our music, and in so many other ways, in the life of the church of St Michael and All Angels.
With my continued prayers and very best wishes.