‘A new academic year and ………’
How is it September already? They say time flies when you are enjoying yourself. Perhaps that phrase needs to be reworded to say: time flies when you are dealing with a global pandemic!
At least with the start of a new academic year we can begin to see signs that life at church is resuming some familiar features. We have been able to sing (even if we must wear masks to do
it); we are using hymn books again and pew Bibles. It has been so good to welcome back to worship people who have not been able to worship with us in person since March 2020.
Over the coming weeks, we hope to see a few more steps in the direction of familiarity.
From Monday 6 September, the premises will be open for hirers. This is such good news for so many community groups who have been waiting for this moment for a long time. We are grateful
for their patience and their understanding of the complexities we have faced. We are delighted to welcome them ‘home’.
From Sunday 19 September we will be ending the practice of asking worshippers to sit in a designated named seat. Instead, we will invite worshippers to sit anywhere there is a green tick.
Clearly, people will need to be sensible and be aware of those around them. Larger family groups will be able to sit together, obviously, so just be conscious that not everyone will feel as
comfortable as others about the new arrangements.
Also, on Sunday 19 September, there will be a brief Church Meeting in the church after worship.
On Sunday 26 September we will celebrate harvest festival, giving thanks for the beauty and provision of God’s creation. Whilst, as part of our celebrations, we will not be able to provide a traditional
‘harvest lunch’, people will be invited to gather in the hall after worship for a time of fellowship. We simply ask that you bring your own food and drink and your own crockery and cutlery. That way we can spend time together, but safely.
The following Sunday, 4 October, we will resume serving refreshments in the hall after worship. However, again we will ask you to bring your own reusable cup, so we do not run the risk of people sharing crockery.
All these steps would have seemed very strange before the pandemic but now take on a far greater significance. I will never take such matters for granted again, whether it be singing a hymn or announcing in the notices: “we give a warm welcome to visitors who are worshipping with us today.” It has been remarkable how well the congregation has remained united over the last 18 months (with a vote of thanks to all contributors to KIT, which has played a key role in keeping us all in touch). However, the church is not an exclusive club for a closed community. For “the love of God comes close where stands an open door”. Please let everyone know that PURC is ‘open for business’ and we will be delighted to welcome all.
With love and prayers, Russell
Posted – 13 September 2021