Reflecting on a first Sunday back in Church for services

With services in Church recommencing today we have had quite an emotional experience, as we have come back together and have read and prayed as one.   Attendance has been very good, considering that many people have been unable to come, and, whilst our restrictions are preventing singing, we managed well.  Top marks go to our churchwardens and other volunteers who have done all the hard work to ensure that we are kept safe and legal, and, simply, sensible.

We tried both in Studland and in St Mary’s with a hymn printed in the order of service that Simon then played for us, with his usual attention to the phrasing and wording of each verse to ensure that we got the best out of the humming of the tune, or quiet contemplation of the words.  The feedback was that it worked.  Maybe we shall try two hymns next week.

As for Holy Communion, this remains a challenge, but there are ways in which it can be managed and its full restoration around the team of churches is possible.  There is much to unpack and reflect upon from our experience today.  We shall dwell upon these thoughts in the coming days.

After the 11.00 a.m. service in St Mary’s, a group of the choir walked round to the millpond and, socially distanced, they sang the hymn that we had read in church, and other hymns too.  Visitors stopped and took notice, one even photographing the scene, as a little, carefully planned, but unofficial, singing worked for them.  

Sunshine, a light breeze, the coming together, and a realisation that zoom has its limitations, brought a happy smile to faces that, after four months absence found themselves beaming widely in our churches once again.

John Mann