Are we ‘Good to Go’? This is a UK wide visitor industry standard and consumer mark to reassure visitors that they can have confidence that there are clear Covid secure processes in place to ensure an enjoyable visit. Our Cathedral site, Café, Shop and building itself are all ‘Good to Go’. What does that mean during August, traditionally a slower month of holiday, flexible working, school holidays and travel? Is there something we can all learn during this period which we can take forward?
At our Cathedral the process for applying for the ‘Good to Go’ Chartermark has been a terrific opportunity to consider again our welcome, which includes signage, volunteers, staff and learning to smile ‘with the eyes’ over the top of face coverings. We’ve been able to go out electronically and connect with those who may never have need or opportunity to visit the site, or to worship in the building and we are using the time to pay careful attention to the answers to the question, ‘who are WE?’
This is true for schools and churches too as parishes have discovered new ways of serving their community and in some places the schools have been the only steady presence for the community with the staff becoming also sources of advice and support to many parents – above and beyond everyday support for children’s learning. Who are WE as a church, or as a parish, or as a school and also, in our places of work? WE is being reshaped through this pandemic as consideration is given to working from home, staggered attendance at schools, flexible start and stop times for offices. All these affect how people interact. Who are WE when WE can’t be physically together?
As we make our tentative plans for the coming few terms can we consider who we are making plans for? And can I suggest that we consider making plans for building the kingdom of God, as well as for ‘reopening’, or ‘getting back to normal’. Are there some things we’ve been doing for ages simply because we’ve never had time to stop and ask ‘how is this building the kingdom of God’? This is a prayerful activity which requires no committee or meeting, just using the gift of time to listen to God. We may well find the answers surprising.