DAY 120: Wednesday 12 August
Good morning everyone
Here we are with edition 120 coming 147 days after the first email – I honestly never imagined I could keep this up for so long! Another interesting number is that today is exactly the middle day since the official lockdown and the end of the year – 142 days since lockdown day zero and 142 days to the end of 2020. And what a year it has and will continue to be, and in 12 months’ time I wonder what we will be remembering and reminiscing about this year.
Undoubtedly we will remember those events and situations that impacted us the most. Being asked to stay at home and shield for weeks on end; not being able to see family and friends or invite people round for a meal. Having to book an appointment at the council tip, and not being able to wander round our favourite stores but having to order online and collect at the door. And of course, having to wear a mask!
For me I think the most poignant memory will be not meeting at the Chapel or in any other church for more than 22 consecutive weeks (I think in my whole life the longest continuous period I have ever missed Sunday services has been 3 weeks). It has been a privilege to endeavour to put together virtual services online, initially audio recordings resurrected from the archives and more recently venturing into adding some video content. It’s been interesting to see the viewing figures for these services and get an idea of what you seem to appreciate.
Whilst I have welcomed the challenge and the opportunity to encourage and strengthen everyone through those services, I have also learned a lot which I pray the Lord will be able to use in the future.
From the early days of the lockdown, Karen and I have watched more TV and whilst much of the major channels output has been endless repeats, we tended to watch programmes about travel or restoration. So, Repair Shop and Car SOS became regular viewing even though they also were repeats. It was fascinating to watch ‘experts’ restoring old and broken items and the inevitable delight on the faces of the owners to see the finished restoration.
So what of the future for the Chapel? As indicated in last Sunday’s email, the building works have been completed and we are now carrying out some long-overdue painting and rearranging of the storeroom. From tomorrow, we will be tidying up the paintwork in the hallway and then after a thorough dusting and cleaning of everywhere, we can prepare to put chairs and furniture back in place.
Once this is done, we can start to plan for a limited restoration of meeting together, whether it be for Sunday services or informal gatherings such as Coffee Mornings. One thing is certain, our gatherings will be very different to what we enjoyed up to 5 months’ ago.
Of course this will all be subject to whatever the rules and regulations are for places of worship may be at the time and we will have limits on how many people can be in the building, strict enforcement of social distancing and regular cleaning surfaces, etc. Initially we won’t be singing aloud as a congregation in services so we will use recordings. We will also need to carefully consider how we might safely offer lifts by car.
But through all this remember that our loving God is not only the God of compassion, and redemption, He is also the great Restorer –
1 Peter 5:10 - And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
We can look forward to the coming days with opportunities to share God’s love with others, to rebuild and strengthen our personal faith in Christ and to once again enjoy the sweet fellowship of meeting together as God’s family. We pray that as and when things do return to ‘normal’ in our land and community, God will draw new people to our church eager to share the love of Christ.
A suitable Hymnalong for today could be >>> RESTORE O LORD
· Karen had a good day at Buzzard’s Valley Artisan Market on Sunday and thanks those of you who turned up to support and encourage her. The morning was a little trying and she ended up having to fasten down her masks display with tape to stop the cold wind blowing everything off the table. But by lunchtime the sun had come out and the wind died down and by the end, she had sold 60% of all her stock and taken additional orders, all of which means a nice donation will be going to MAF.
· The stock of knitting wool at the Chapel has been replenished so if you’re knitting for missions or charities, call in and restock or if you can’t do that, just ring Karen and tell her what you need and we’ll get it delivered to your door.
MAKE YOU SMILE
Given the frustrations and steep learning curves we have both had over the past month trying to get our heads around our new computers, Karen thought the following cartoon appropriate…
More on Sunday