Member Church reflections on Covid-19
Over the last few weeks we have been gathering perspectives from our Member Churches on how they and their congregations have been affected by the coronavirus crisis.
We have received a marvellous variety of reflections to share. They range from the deeply personal response to the pandemic of an 18-year-old, via practical, technological and financial challenges, through to theological perspectives on Covid-19. Many churches are also grieving the loss of members, and in some cases leaders, during this unprecedented time.
Thank you to everyone who contributed.
The Church and the world
“We will emerge from this as a society in collective trauma. A traumatised society will need a church which has a light touch, which knows how to play, to experiment, to laugh and to rest – a church which can offer and exhibit the fullness of life about which Jesus speaks.”
Anticipating the future - Rev Dr Stephen Hance, National Lead for Evangelism and Witness for the Church of England
“’The World is my Parish’, or so the founder of the Methodist Church Movement John Wesley wrote in his diary. Never before have his words held quite so much weight. With our buildings closed, we are learning afresh what it might mean for us as local communities, a national organisation, and a global church – to see the whole world as our place of ministry.”
The World is my Parish - Rev Dr Joanne Cox-Darling, Acting Superintendent, Wolverhampton Methodist Circuit Brewood, Codsall and Coven Methodist Churches
“Relationships were strengthened; stronger bonds were formed, and individuals were engaging in a much more meaningful manner.”
A place where love grows - Deaconess and Trustee in the New Testament Church of God in Willesden, Charlotte Johnson
“My prayer is that this ‘new normal’ will retain the ecumenical spirit we have re-discovered during Pentecost 2020, so that we may live out the call of Jesus’ message in John 17:23, ‘that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me’. Rarely has the world needed that unity more than now.”
Towards ‘a new normal’ - Rev Philip Brooks Secretary for Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations, United Reformed Church
“I think, now more than ever, working towards Christian unity is vital as we have much to learn from one another in our spirituality, mission, theology and traditions… Faced with the stark realities of inequality, climate breakdown, systemic racism and an imbalance of power and privilege, together, as one Church in Christ, we have the ability to make a difference .”
Disruption leads to renewal: God at work - Church of England Lay representative to the Churches Together in England Enabling Group, Annika Mathews
“I see the commitment of all kinds of people including Quakers wanting to connect with one another, listening carefully to wide range of views and recommitting to shared work. Alongside suffering and grief, COVID 19 has engendered astonishing creativity and compassion.”
A man may look on glass - Head of Peace Programmes and Faith Relations for Quakers in Britain, Marigold Bentley
“Living in the midst of a global pandemic is not comfortable but it has forced the church to occupy some space that up to now we’ve not been fully convinced it’s a space we should inhabit. Well, we’re here now. Let’s get used to it. Welcome to the new normal.”
Moving online - International Leader for Pioneer Network Canon Billy Kennedy
“May the Archangel Gabriel, patron of communications continue to pray for us!"
Being church in the time of Covid-19 - Parish priest of Saint Ambrose Barlow, Swinton and Pendlebury, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford, Monsignor Paul Smith
“We are called to embrace the challenge that the crisis has opened for us and to see in a ‘new normal’ a renewed opportunity for encounter and engagement with God, with one another and within ourselves.”
Coronavirus: A challenge and an opportunity? - Parish Priest of the Most Holy & Undivided Trinity, the Catholic Church in Grimsby, Cleethorpes & Immingham, Fr Andrew Cole
“Being salt is not about spreading our name, but it is about spreading the name of Jesus... If there is anything positive to come out of this pandemic it is that all Christ’s followers would positively touch and impact lives.”
“Salt” - President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the British Isles, Pastor Ian Sweeney
“This crisis has come at a time when we were already considering prophetically what God is doing in the nation at this time. This is a source of reflection and prayer for us as we move forward.”
Ground Level Network member and CTE Trustee, Richard Bradbury
“It was very upsetting to hear the closed doors of the Church being hit and banged by the people, who couldn’t understand or accept why they were left outside … or to see certain others “attend” the Service through the Church window.”
“With the doors locked” (John 20, 19) - Parish Priest of St. Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Community in Harrow, The Very Rev Protopresbyter Fr. Anastasios D. Salapata
“Hello, my name is Kai Daley...Covid-19 didn’t just affect my education - that same week that my education ended, I was scheduled to be baptised. I was devastated, but now I have spiritually grown closer to God...so close I guess… it’s true, the Lord works in mysterious ways.”
Covid and me - Kai Daley from the New Life Wesleyan Church in Handsworth, Birmingham
“The beginning of this pandemic brought a myriad of questions. How we will still be church if we cannot physically meet? How will congregation members be affected by this? How will we continue to fulfil God’s mission here?"
Church life in the Covid-19 pandemic - Pioneer Baptist Minister for Ebbsfleet, Rev Penny Marsh
“The church universal birthed in crisis still shines in these very times.”
The Reset - Pastor at Acts Christian Church, which is part of the Joint Council of Churches for All Nations (JCCAN), Lloyd-Anthony Hall
"The pandemic storm, otherwise christened as COVID-19, has become a beacon allowed by God [John 3: 27] to shake the whole world..."
"Weekly income has fallen by 80%..."
"...We also suffered the death of our Church Leader, who at the time of writing was yet to be buried."
Two churches from our Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum reflect on COVID-19
“The church needs to restore the practice of Lamentations as a normal appropriate spiritual response… a time of lamenting for the grief and sorrow that the Covid-19 plague has wrought on the land and particularly on those from the BAME community.”
A Call for the Restoration of the Praxis of Lamenting - Chair for the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation, Rev Alton P. Bell
Find a range of guidance, resources and stories in CTE's Coronavirus web hub.