Today is the last Sunday that we shall have no services in the churches, provided, of course, that they are not closed again at some stage in the next few weeks. We are not thinking about that, but of the re-opening for worship on 5th July. The Bishop of Salisbury wrote to us on 25th June, reminding us that, we were, “[…] grateful when we were able to go into churches again for private prayer but it was achingly apparent that these buildings are primarily for worship and communities. For those who can do so, it will be good to begin the provision of services.”
On-line worship has proven to engage people beyond our usual congregations, and for this we are blessed, but has excluded those who either cannot access them, or find that they don’t fulfil their need. So the step forward that we take next Sunday is a very significant one. Though on-line provision shall remain for those unable to attend, I hope that we shall think of our new situation from the beginning of July being that the norm is, once again, to attend Church physically - with the on-line version as back-up, rather than the other way round.
That said, it will not be back to normal, as there will be no singing and no Holy Communion, for the time being. This will seem very strange, but doesn’t everything, at the moment? The pattern of worship throughout the team, with everything continuing on-line, is to be:
At 8.00 a.m. in All Saints’ and in St Mary’s
At 10.00 a.m. alternating between St Mark’s and St Nicholas’ (Studland on 5th)
At 11.00 a.m. in St Mary’s
During the week ahead, I shall give more information as we prepare for this important progress next Sunday.