Pubs opening after the lockdown has been one of the big events in the last week. It starts to give a feeling that we are coming out of the other side of the crisis and some of life as we knew it is returning.
Another milestone in returning to our former life is the gradual re-starting of church services. Not all of our local churches will have re-started services immediately last weekend. There are safety plans to be put in place carefully
Most churches though will be making a real effort to re-start services as soon as possible. Coming together in church means a lot to many people and it has been greatly missed.
In a church service we are with our neighbours and friends as we give thanks to God and pray; we can share joys and sorrows with them. It is a shared experience in the same place at the same time.
For all its brilliance a video conference call cannot completely replace that. During the closure period, churches have realised how valuable services in church are. They help people feel connected to one another and part of the wider community.
But we know also, like the pubs, not everyone will be able or feel safe to come back to church services yet.
So, most churches will carry on putting services online too. Everyone included is an important value for Christian churches – no one should be excluded.
Whilst we are rejoicing that services in church are starting again, we are also mindful of those who must still stay at home and we will not forget them. Everyone must be included.
The Revd Canon David Hodgson, Rector of All Saints Church Wokingham, on behalf of Churches Together in Wokingham