Recently I was working at a document with Solveig, and I found that I had typed in the word, “Parishioners” and must have missed the ‘a’, which caused my computer to change the word instantly to “Prisoners” - which caused us a degree of confusion first, then hilarity, as it is not quite the same thing, though many people feel locked in their own homes just now.
There have been other examples that have appeared in printed services over the years; some, mistyped words that the computer hasn’t underlined in red, because it is still a legitimate word. One of my favourites was in the course of a prayer or hymn (I can’t remember which) where the word ‘Satan’ became ‘Stan’, making him sound like a friendly face to share a pint with down at the pub.
Predicting how things are going to move with regard to opening churches, and gradually managing services, is speculation in which we may have all engaged. The desire to move towards some sort of normality is strongly counterbalanced by a fear of what releasing our somewhat shuttered existence may bring in terms of a greater spread of this deadly virus.
Yesterday, the Bishop of Salisbury wrote to clergy and churchwardens by email to outline the latest thinking of the Church of England and a revised, if only slightly, set of regulations. The things that are being allowed from today are: for the clergy to access the churches for private prayer, and for them to ring a bell if they wish, and for those who stream services to use the church building once again.
In themselves these official relaxations from a totally locked church are small enough, but they are indicating how we may gradually move towards an open church once more. We are not quite there yet, but I hope that within a short space of time we shall be able to turn the key in the morning and the door will be open for everyone to come and go freely - with a daily rota of cleaners, of course……. But what are my predictions worth?