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God is working his purpose out

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2020 08:27 PM

Life for our priests and lay ministers has changed beyond recognition. But while on the surface it might appear that our clergy are now isolated from their parishioners, the opposite is true.

God is working his purpose out

Courtesy @NeilBiles on Twitter

While pastoral visits are now having to take place on the phone and services are being recorded or streamed from sitting rooms or the study, many are now able to offer the opportunity for many in their communities to meet daily with their ministers.

Through the posting morning and evening prayer, or streaming a time of reflection or an online chat, social media is allowing those in ministry to be a visible daily presence in people's homes, in a way that would have been impossible before the lockdown.

Many minsters report that their posts and live streaming is reaching and engaging more people than actually live in their communities and that they are able, through social media, to be alongside more people each and every day at a time when their presence is a comfort and a much needed message of hope in a dark world.

But as well as offering that support, the day-to-day work of ministry continues, and many have also taken to social media to simply tell their communities all about how they are managing the cure of souls under coronavirus.

Here is just a snapshot from different ends of our Diocese.

The Revd Joy Albone, Curate in the Canalside Parishes posted:

"As we continue to find new ways of being church, today has been one of contrasts. This morning began with a nerve-racking recording of a service for Sunday.

"I will be honest and say I would much rather stand in front of a church full of people than just my computer screen! Then this afternoon I have been calling some of the people in our benefice, checking how they are and offering prayer: every call has been delightful, even with some parishioners I have not yet had the privilege to meet. The optimism and resilience of some of our older congregation, who are far more concerned for us than themselves, is humbling!

"Finally, my walk today was a real prayer walk, as I chose to take a different route around my neighbourhood, passing the houses of many people who are part of my sending church, and praying for each by name as I walked past.

"I even got to have a doorstep chat with one of my friends, and the delight of hearing a miniature fairground organ being played. The owner was dancing, but stopped as I turned the camera towards her!

"So many good things, so many blessings. God is good!"

While over in Beaminster the Rector, the Revd David Baldwin, reflected on another sad aspect of the present crisis:

"A mixed day. We held our weekly staff meeting via Zoom planning what we are going to do for Holy Week. I then had to say prayers over the coffin of a much-loved man of Beaminster. His family and friends respected the requirements to stay away. Somehow it seemed wrong, but we all knew why it was the fourth funeral in five years I have led for this family.

"Phone calls and emails before prayers and a quick call to the father of the deceased to check in with him. I think that I earned my daily exercise walk with Mrs Rector."

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