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Using the Great Outdoors

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Jul, 2020 12:01 AM

The temporary closure of our churches for worship, and the necessity for people to stay at home or isolate, has been very difficult for everyone. As the restrictions are gradually being lifted, many church congregations and local communities may be looking for opportunities to safely resume some activities.

Government guidance is clear that outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones. This can be an opportunity to notice and be thankful for God’s creation; noticing the trees, plants, birds, and insects around you, and feeling the sunshine and wind (or refreshing rain!) on your face.

Our Local Prayer Spaces initiative is one way that many of our churches have adopted to allow you to do this, in an outdoor space reserved for prayer and reflection, and there are more details here.

Churchyards are also often full of fascinating monuments which tell the story of your community over the centuries. Sometimes they contain imagery and poetry and express joy and faith, as well as sadness, even perhaps unease, for example monuments of people related to the Slave Trade. These can offer opportunities for reflections on life, remind people of their shared past, and encourage discussion about our place in the world, and how we might prayerfully work towards creating a better one.

Click here for a range of National Church resources that you may like to try out in your churchyard, local park, or (if you are fortunate enough to be able to) on a walk in the countryside. You may also be able to find joy and wonder from your armchair looking out the window, viewing nature photos or videos, or in your garden.

Remember, the guidance produced by the government and the Church of England on keeping safe, and also the instructions of the Bishop in your diocese, should be carefully followed. You can read the latest guidance here.

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