Yesterday, I shared an update on our plans to re-open the Chapel building for public worship. We are starting very cautiously and are determined to be meticulous in following the guidelines. There are also some things that the guidelines currently provide for but we have current held back from doing because we want to approach things incrementally.
I believe that there are a number of things that we will be able to consider providing for in the coming months that won’t require any major changes to the Guidelines but probably will require some conversation and consultation with the Government and locally. So, we are starting to brainstorm some ideas now for what we might be able to try from August onwards. At the moment, they remain just that, brainstormed idea.
- Livestream Christian events to the big screen, or show pre-recorded teaching such as previous years’ teaching from Keswick, Word Alive etc.
- A midweek prayer meeting.
- Begin sharing communion together again
- Investigate the possibility of getting some changes around the guidance on baptism to allow some nuance. The Baptist Union are arguing that baptism by immersion should be possible of it is someone from within the same household/bubble that does the baptism. Other options might include a requirement for the person being baptised and the one doing the baptism to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Opening up the grounds for outdoor, socially distanced, fellowship, discussion and prayer in huddles of 6. At the moment we are refraining from this as the guidance says that people should be dismissed from the site and leave promptly. I think that Government policy to some extent is coloured by a high church ceremonial view of religion. For those from other traditions such as Brethren, the fellowship dimension as well as praise and teaching are an important element of our gatherings. To my mind, in such a scenario, the blessing and dismissal would not happen until the bubble conversations are complete. However, this is something that needs clear agreement with the relevant authorities
- Open air services on the chapel site
- Beginning to hold our youth Bible study at the Chapel.
- Open air Messy Church (Forest Church?)
- Considering re-starting a café church format if this can be done in line with the hospitality industry guidance.
- Running a focused service for the over 70s.
These are just a few ideas. In most cases, I believe they are possible without any change to the guidance. My aim in kicking off a kind of brain storming session is that we are unlikely to commit to everything we suggest but one or two ideas may stick.
Have you got any suggestions?