The Congregation of 2

Welcome to Church Without Walls, which I hope will keep people updated as we travel through this season together.

I’ll be saying a little about why I have chosen this title for the blog in my next post, but I wanted to fill people in on the last couple of days.

On Sunday morning, I celebrated Holy Communion as I usually do, with the difference being there was just myself and the Lord there. After the service I tried to take a selfie (you will see I’m not too skilled at the technology just yet!).

Jono in church – Sunday 22nd March

I also said Morning Prayer, I sang 2 hymns from our current magazine, which has some devotional resources for this time we are all living in.

While it felt a bit strange to be doing these things in this way, I also was working through our parish lists trying to identify the names and numbers of those who may live alone or be in the older age bracket and also identify a team of people who might be willing to phone 1 or 2 people regularly.

I’m very mindful of those, like my own mum, who will be isolated for quite some time and the value of hearing another human voice is immense.

It was Mother’s Day on Sunday and, when I phoned my mum, I was thrilled to hear my cousin, who lives about 10 miles away, had stopped by to leave a dinner on the doorstep and chat from the gate. Other neighbours and members of her church had left some flowers and had a chat from the gate and it’s a wonderful thing to see how people are trying to look out for one another.

Sunday morning was a great opportunity to pray for all the wonderful people on our parish lists and, while we were not together physically, I felt incredibly close to all of you and full of love as I prayed for situations I know so many people are dealing with. I feel enormously strengthened by your prayers for me and for our family, too, and it’s like the walls have gone down as we all try to reach out and help one another through these days. More about that soon!

I’ve started to phone people asking them to phone a couple of others and Linda, our secretary, may be calling some of you tomorrow. Alison published our Lenten Challenge to try to phone 2 people every day. This would be a brilliant thing we can all do together.

Here, at home, we have been juggling home school for 2 children with very different needs and Vicky goes back to work tomorrow as she works in the NHS.

If you have children, could I recommend a YouTube channel called the Body Coach. I heard about Joe Wicks, the body coach, offering free PE lessons for children from Monday to Friday at 9am for a half  an hour and, while it was exhausting, it was terrific fun, as we tried to do it as a family this morning. 

All this technology is hard to keep up with and I was very grateful for Peter’s help as we recorded a message for Sunday past. Alison and Gillian managed to get it onto our Facebook page and the website with some advice from Chris, and Mike has been making CDs for people. These may have to stop with the new restrictions on movement,I suspect, but we hope the phonecalls will help those in isolation and, please, don’t stop telling those without the internet what is happening.

As I close, I’m thinking of an old song that was sung at many Christian gatherings in the 1980’s called ‘An Army of Ordinary People’.

We are called in these days to be just that – an army of ordinary people, as we phone and encourage one another. As we demonstrate this love that is the key, a love that flows from the love God first shown to us in Jesus, let’s keep praying for all our frontline workers doing the most amazing job. Let’s respect the guidance we are being given as far as possible to stay at home, unless you are a key frontline worker. Remember, too, the key guideline about social or physical distancing if you have to shop for essential items or prescriptions. Let God’s love fill us and guide us as we adhere to these guidelines.

Look forward to speaking more soon.

Take care and God bless,

Jono.