As the pandemic began, churches and church leaders had to adapt to changed circumstances. Always a bit of a techie or gadget fan, I had to learn how to stream worship from home. My little ‘man-cave’ became a studio with new software, lights and technology to master. Our little group of singers, musicians and technicians went into overdrive, producing over forty lyric videos for use in worship. It was an amazing response that enabled us to keep our worship life together possible.
Here are some of the lessons we have learned in lockdown:
Keep in contact – with one another
I write a weekly pastoral letter and produce a video ‘Thoughts for the day’ four or five times a week. Initially, I did these live from my early morning walks. Of late, with the darker Scottish mornings, it seemed prudent to do these from home and later in the morning. We’ve also encouraged face-to face meetings in gardens or over coffee when regulations allow, phone calls, cards, and texts and people have worked hard to stay in touch with and care for one another. A charity gave us some money to buy some tablets to help people stay in contact digitally.
Keep in contact – with the Lord
We have a team of four running online prayer times on social media four or five times a week. We also gather twice a month for a ‘Zoom’ prayer gathering. This has been vital for our spiritual life. We might not be able to do much, but we can pray!
Keep in contact – with people outside the Church
Our social media & social gatherings online have offered people opportunities to share something of our life together with increasing confidence. People who might have struggled to communicate their faith have had the confidence to share what St Thomas’ puts online. We know there have been many who have at least taken a peek! We’ve also sought to continue some servant ministry in the community through the local foodbank and care van for the homeless.
As we hope for a return to all being able to worship together, it may well be that things will never be the same. We will need to go on streaming our worship from church and some people who watch from home may never be coaxed into joining us physically. The challenges we face will be enormous. But I hope that those things we have been forced to do during this hard year will continue to be at the heart of who we are as part of the Body of Christ.