This morning, we opened our church building for public worship for the first time since lockdown began. I thought you might like to hear about how we got on.
My own church day started around about 8pm. I recorded a message of encouragement for the church family which you can watch back here.
We then made our way down to the building and began setting up. Actually it was much easier than a normal Sunday. We had already got chairs set out and all we had to do was get the p/a running. The Facebook service was running, led remotely from 930am.
We had a few teething issues. Our church laptop has not been used since March and decided it was not in a mood to co-operate. So we had to switch to anther computer. However apart from that all was well.
People started arriving from 10am and we ran a scrolling power point with prayer points during this time. Eventually there were 15 of us present, a good first turn out and a good mix of ages with a couple of visitors too.
At 1030am I had my first experience of leading with a facemask on. It isn’t ideal but not too bad providing you don’t speak for too long in one go. Also watch out for glasses steaming up. We used some liturgy and read a Psalm together. After this we watched the Facebook service which enabled us to listen to some songs and a sermon. The we closed with a prayer, taking time to think of those meeting online too. We said the Grace together and then dismissed everyone row by row.
My reflections are
- It was a positive thing to be back in the building. It felt like we were starting something again
- It was not church as we know it but it was church
- We benefited from having trustees who have risk checked everything and ensured smooth preparation.
- Attendance was at about the level I expected to be at this stage. I think the coming weeks will create challenges as more people feel ready to return.
- The service was peaceful. I appreciated that. We needed it
- I missed the noise and busyness, especially of the kids running round.
- The people who came reflected my concern that there are a group of people who even if they have been accessing online/Zoom content will have struggled with it more and benefited less.