To the church post-COVID-19
I wanted to write to you all on this special day, as we emerge from that wilderness experience. The virus has been defeated, quarantines have been lifted, and our playgrounds are once again buzzing.
Looking back, I remember the anxiety, the sense of urgency, the fear of those weeks back in March and April. I remember our first digital Easter. And now, as we re-learn how to be the church without social distancing restrictions, I thought it might be important to remember what we learnt from our time in the digital wilderness.
I’m really proud of how we worked relentlessly to make the church accessible. In the same way teachers, health care workers and many other industries MacGyvered their processes and practices, we ensured church was accessible to those seeking it. New technologies, new schedules, new initiatives. Yes it meant learning, experimenting & collaborating, but determination and conviction conquered the unknown.
Imagine if we continued to ensure we reached those who didn’t connect with our churches pre-quarantine. The young, the differently-abled, those sleeping rough (to name but a few).
Yes it’s hard work, but I’ve seen us do it.
We realised that apart from the person & work of Jesus of Nazareth, the way we did ‘church’ was based on choices we made. We realised our tradition was simply the accumulated best wisdom of those who’ve gone before. And we realised that those choices could be changed, and our tradition could be reformed… again. We adapted, we improvised, we grew. We thrived.
We embraced the opportunities technology and digital platforms provide. Whilst necessity drove us online, with time we discovered that these technologies don’t threaten face-to-face relationships. We needn’t resist them. In fact, we prayed, mourned, shared the sacraments, read scriptures over phones and (semi-reliable) internet connections.
I urge you to continue to seek the wisdom and experience of the whole community. Not just those in the pews, but the scientists, the artists, the children.
Finally, let us not pretend that our wilderness experience didn’t happen, nor that it didn’t change us. I hope we might not be too eager to rush back to how we did things in early March and before that. I remain proud of our church. May we re-emerge with courage and confidence.
And if I may end with a personal plea – I’m not a hugger. This phase of isolation isn’t likely to change that. So when you see me face-to-face, let’s stick to the elbow-tap, for old time’s sake.
Intergen guy. Father of 2. Reformed extrovert.
P.S. – thanks for the wealth of responses to ‘Dear Parents.’ I was encouraged, challenged, humbled and taught. They were simply words. As are those above.