Praying as ever that you are continuing to be well during this time. I know some of you have experienced great joy, others loss, and everything in between, during this time. You all continue to be in my prayers.
I posted this on Facebook recently:
"Just to be clear, the Church has not been closed, so it doesn't need to be re-opened. We have simply stopped worshipping in our buildings for a time to protect the health and well being of our people and our communities. The Church does not require a building in order to be the Church. What is required is love, compassion and the presence of God".
I cannot take credit for the words, I read them elsewhere, but I absolutely believe the sentiment to be true. I am so grateful to those of you who have responded with feedback on the many and varied ways you are continuing to worship and connect with God. Some of this has been through what has been either sent or posted on the church social media pages. Others have found additional ways to engage. We will be posting some of these ideas on our Monday resourcing emails.
We know we are in a process of transition from full lock-down measures to a phased re-connecting with others in work, school, business, leisure and of course our worship space. I don't yet know what these measures will look like for us, and we await with great hope for directives on when we may be able to gather again. I know that there have also been lots of mixed messages in the news, or in the actions of our politicians, that may make some of us feel frustrated, angry and confused.
I remain confident that love will win. The love that has been expressed between neighbours to build relationships of mutual care and support. The love that has been in the spaces where grief, loss, separation and anxiety have been the focus. The love for our NHS and care structures that recognise differing levels of frontline workers. The love of all of you who are phoning friends and loved ones to provide a listening ear. Even the love expressed in a 'Zoom" meeting, or where there's a wobbly camera angle and muffled sound! Love will win, because nothing can separate us from the love of God.
From Ascension to Pentecost we have been invited to express love through prayer in praying "Thy Kingdom Come". This Sunday we remember that gift of love through the Holy Spirit - the incredible connection with God that we are all invited to receive, which empowers, enables and equips us all to reflect God's light and love even more.
This Sunday I will again be offering worship as a Eucharist from inside our church building, with contributions from other members of our church community, and you will find the liturgy to support this service with the prayer of spiritual communion, as an attachment to the email.
I pray that you will receive again and afresh the reminder of how much you are loved, that the Spirit will kindle within you again the fire of God's love, and that - even when there is a story of division or unrest - you will tell that story of love in the way you live your lives.
In the love of God, as ever
Rev Becky Waring
Vicar St Martins Knowle
Area Dean Bristol South