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Being Church During These Strange Days: An Update

Today’s announcement brings us to the moment I think we all knew we might get to. In order to protect each other and all those around us we will not meet together as church for the time being. That will include the mid-week groups, as well as the outward facing work we do as the church. We are trying to think through new ways that The Vine Cafe can operate even if we can’t open it to all the public in the way we have been doing.

However, that doesn’t stop us being church! In fact I think it’s a moment when we need to increase our contact with one another – by phone, FaceTime, Skype and all the other ways that we can because of the age we live in. Imagine what it would have been like in the days when the only phone we had was in a red phone box at the end of the street!

I’ll keep you updated with how we will function as church via all the means we have.

Tonight it’s enough to remind one another of a few obvious things.

  1. The reason we choose not to meet together is because we want to live as good citizens – aware of others around us, trying to help them stay safe, and in the hope that this virus will not get out of control.
  2. Being church was never just about the meetings – it’s about the relationships in the body of Christ and the way we care for one another. We can demonstrate how true this is over the next few weeks. Please think about the frailer members of our church community – call them if you can.
  3. We will use all the electronic means we have to help us feel like we are a church community. We will do this regularly.
  4. We are a people who always try to trust in God’s guidance, power and presence – particularly at times like this. There are lots of things that lots of good people will do to help others – and where we can, we should join in, but what we can also do is pray! I’ve been banging on about this since the beginning of January! Pray for that sense of guidance, power and presence. God hears and answers these prayers.
  5. This morning I read Psalm 33. It’s all brilliant – but this is how it finishes. Read it and know the peace of Jesus!

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,

the people he chose for his inheritance.

13 From heaven the Lord looks down

and sees all mankind;

14 from his dwelling place he watches

all who live on earth—

15 he who forms the hearts of all,

who considers everything they do.

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;

no warrior escapes by his great strength.

17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;

despite all its great strength it cannot save.

18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

19 to deliver them from death

and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the Lord;

he is our help and our shield.

21 In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,

even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33

I’ll be back in touch very soon!

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