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Everyday Faith during coronavirus

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2020 07:44 AM

Everyday Faith is the Church of England’s campaign that aims to help people live out their Christian faith wherever they may be, emphasising how much even the smallest and most routine aspects of our working lives – both paid and unpaid - matter to God and make a difference to others.

One of its champions in the Diocese is Gillian Clarke, Chair of the Diocesan House of Laity.

She explains, how more than ever during this pandemic, Everyday Faith is now at the centre of our life during coronavirus:

“In a recent Grapevine Bishop Nicholas wrote, "We are not stopping church, we are not closing anything, we ARE saying 'church is changing'." And how much things have changed in just a couple of weeks!

“Last week I ‘attended’ a conference on Everyday Faith – not in London, of course, as had been planned, but as a webinar supported online by Zoom. Everyday Faith, formerly known as Setting God’s People Free, as many of you know, is about achieving a culture change. It aims to enable the whole people of God to live out the Good News in everyday life. Never has that idea been brought into sharper focus than now. Our church buildings are closed – but church is very much alive.

“As Christians, we are all called to live out our baptismal calling to witness to God’s love every day of the week among the people and places of our lives. And we are still being called, being ‘sent out’ whilst in lockdown in our homes.

“I have had so many contacts with people during these recent weeks – email, telephone, letter and, yes, some wonderful digital platforms which are quite new to me! Funny how, as we are kept apart as never before, we find ways to reconnect and be in touch.

“And we are learning to do church differently. Finding opportunities to be church, reaching out to those around us, living and sharing a Jesus-shaped life.

“Revd Andy Muckle commented -'To me it is about connecting in a new way outside the church building. The current circumstances have helped us to turn our eyes outwards and think about how we are the body of Christ in West Moors and connect with each other and the community in new ways.'"

And Gillian says the following are ways we are connecting:

1. With God - through praying together at 9am and 5pm in our own homes using a shared order of service and with the assurance of spiritual communion.
2. With each other – through regular emails and an organised pastoral telephone system.
3. With our discipleship – emailed sermons are a great resource alongside poems and reflections. We are running our Meditation Group and planning for Home Groups to restart using Zoom.
4. With our wider network and the community through social media - Facebook or Twitter. Our first streamed Facebook service had 200+ views.
5. With those in need – through a Community Support Team which has mobilised volunteers to deliver food and medications and recently secured a grant of £1,000 to help those most in need.

Gillian adds:

“We can learn from this extreme and unprecedented situation and we can learn from each other as we find new ways of doing church. Everyday Faith is not a programme – it is about a culture change and will be expressed in diverse ways according to our different communities, church traditions and personal experiences.

“Of course, we will all appreciate and value afresh the strength and joy of being gathered together in worship when our churches are open again. We can also move forward with new insights, new skills and new ways of being church.

“Do share with us the things you are trying in your parishes and communities as we live out our diocesan vision of ‘Renewing Hope; Pray, Serve, Grow in very different circumstances.

“Our church buildings are closed – but Church is very much alive!”

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