The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have called for public worship services in the Church of England to be put on hold for the time being as part of the national response to the COVID-19 virus. What is it going to like in the Anglican church where I work, this “different sort of church”?
It is going to be less rehearsals for one thing and – possibly – an early opportunity to try out some ideas I’m working on for creating an ‘atmosphere of worship’ in the place but not in the constraints of a regular service. I am also doing some research on options for providing live and pre-recorded Internet broadcasts to support the congregation and perhaps also a wider community. However, there are a couple of further thoughts on my mind that aren’t about music and technology:
How do we make sure we include those who aren’t online? We’ve got a number of older people and poorer people who are part of our family and some of those are going to be disenfranchised if every solution we come up with starts with ‘go to the internet…’. If face to face visiting is often not possible, I think the telephone is going to be a key technology that is probably ubiquitous although ‘narrow cast’ rather than ‘broad cast’.
Are there lessons we can learn from the Persecuted Church? Many Christians can only dream of being able to freely attend public services. Perhaps now is a season when we in more privileged settings can honour them by learning from them about how to maintain fellowship when gathered meetings are out?
Interesting times but not ones without the hope of positive growth as well as many real challenges.