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Dear all,

As you can imagine, a lot of information is coming flying in at the moment.  We are working in a very careful and prayerful way through this and will be speaking to the PCCs again in the near future with a plan for our churches reopening.  We will then pass this information through to you when it is ready.  Please pray for us as we work through all of the different considerations.

The main thrust of the updates today is that we feel very strongly that having been not only out of the church buildings for some months, but also the normal patterns and programmes have ceased for some months, this is possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to really take stock of where we are, and what God is asking of us in the future.  Making any changes can feel unsettling but as clergy particularly, we feel that God is inviting us to really think about what we have been doing that can be left behind, what we have been doing that is good and needs to be returned, and what we haven’t been doing that God may be calling us to pick up in the future.  And it is certainly true that we have learned a lot during this time about an online presence for example.  It is interesting talking to colleagues who have started to rush back to doing exactly what they were before coronavirus only to wish they had taken the opportunity to pause, to pray, to reflect and to see what God is saying.

So, how are we planning to do this.  Well … alongside thinking about some of the practicalities of buildings, worship etc, we would like to ask you to participate in some congregation wide surveys, one a week looking at a different aspect.  I know that some who see this don’t attend St Mary’s or St Bridget’s regularly, but it would be good to hear your views too if you are willing to take part.  Some of you may remember that last year we did a teaching series on mission, thinking about the 5 marks of mission of the Anglican church.  I have found a really good resource that uses this framework as a basis of a survey, and we are going to use this.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be thinking about the following:

  1. Prayer and worship
  2. How we provide opportunities for growth
  3. Pastoral care
  4. Tackling social justice
  5. Our environmental responsibility

The first of these surveys is on prayer and worship, and you can access it via this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HGQFHQD

I would like to encourage you to be as prayerfully honest as you can be when you think about the questions.  They are fairly open ended in the main part, so you can answer them however you want to.  It gives us a chance to think about the nature, patterns, content etc of our prayer and worship as well as our hopes for the future.  We would like to encourage you to reply in the next week or so, as the next link will come out next Friday.  This gives us a chance to really look at what you have to say, and see what patterns might be emerging as we look forward to the future.

Thank you in advance for taking part if you can.

God bless

Jonathan