The past few months have affected so many areas of our lives. Church life has gone through one of the, if not the, most rapid upheavals in its history. Many of the ways we have learnt to ‘do’ church needed to be changed overnight.
In the past week you may well have noticed in the media reports that, as part of the government’s relaxing of the lock down rules, churches may be opened for private prayer. To be clear, this direction from the government relates to private prayer in a church building and nothing else. So, this does not include, prayer gatherings, prayer meetings, services, or any of our other activities.
This week the WMFC leadership team (Elders and Deacons) met (online!) to discuss this government advice. Our unanimous decision is that at the present time we will not open the building for private prayer (or for any other activity).
To enable us to continue work effectively now, we have decided to review this decision next at the start of September. To clarify, this is when we will be reviewing it and that does not necessarily mean the building will open again then. We all desire to be able to meet again as a church body and we are sure that this information will disappoint some. However, there are a number of reasons we came to this decision which include:
- We are called to love our neighbour as well as ourselves
We do not believe that opening the church at the present time is the best way to love our neighbour or Mersea at the present time. Coronavirus is no less dangerous today than it was 2 months ago, it is no less infectious and no less deadly. Opening the church building increases the risk of this. A risk to ourselves and therefore our community.
- “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial” (1 Cor 10v23).
We do not need to be at the church for Private prayer. Although we love to be together as a church to worship and pray – this is not what is being suggested at the present time by the government. Individual prayer is something that is every bit as effective at home, or on a walk when we take exercise, as it is in the church building. It is worth noting that whilst people obviously say private prayers whilst at the church, there has been very few if any that we can recall where we I have been asked to open up the church for this.
- The church is still ‘open’
Although what we have been doing has changed radically over the past months the church is still ‘open’. We are still gathering together, growing together, and ‘going’ together. It is just what we mean by ‘together’ has changed. As well as our Sunday morning services, did you know we are also meeting for regularly prayer online? There is a weekly prayer meeting before the Sunday service as well as other prayer meetings. Additionally, we have been having opportunities to catch up and chat online. If you don’t have an internet connection it is also possible to join via a regular phone. Why not take part in one of the upcoming times together?
If you are unsure of how to access these please call and we can work out how to do this together. If you have any questions on any of this, then please get in touch with either Rob or Jen who will be able to discuss this with you.