Sunday, June 28, 2020

We Can't Carry On Meeting Like This

At time of writing, there is still no guidance for public worship, which is supposed to be permissible from next Sunday. That disconcerting noise you hear is that of a vicar flying blind.

Boris Johnsons comments about weddings suggest, that maximum service size is 30. In practice much less in small buildings like ours, where we are looking at 10-15). Maximum meeting size in a house is 1 other family, or 6 people outdoors.

This all means that churches are going to have to completely rethink their basic building blocks. Neither the gathered congregation (our two churches number 90 and 40) nor the midweek homegroup (8-12 people) are going to be possible, perhaps for up to a year.

What will this mean? 'In person' worship becoming a scheduled but sporadic experience - we'll probably need a 2-monthly cycle for people attending in turn, unless we start running multiple services. And the 'small group' unit becoming 3 or 4, which presents a very different dynamic for bible study, pastoral support, prayer etc.

And if that all lasts a year, what will happen to the sense of identity of any 'congregational' (25+) or 'home group' (7+) sized structure that tries to ride it out? Do churches need to explore other structures for a shared common identity and mission, rhythm of prayer? Like this, for example....

 We are going to have to stop meeting like this.

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