The importance of behind the scenes

If you have been reading this blog over the past few months you will be aware of how important PE with Joe has been to our family during lockdown.

Each day at 9 am some, or all, of the family have tuned into these PE sessions with Joe Wicks on YouTube. After 18 weeks, on 22nd July, Joe was joined by his family as he brought this initiative to a close.

Until July, he had been doing live workouts 5 days a week from Monday to Friday. He then reduced it to 3 days on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays until the emotional conclusion. He donated all the advertising revenue from YouTube and the sales of his ‘PE with Joe’ t-shirts to NHS charities, raising over £580,000. His 78 workouts achieved over 80 million views as schools, homes and workplaces participated in these workouts from right across the globe. 

In that last workout he paid special tribute to his wife and family, to those behind the scenes, especially his friend, Don, who had uploaded the workouts every single day to YouTube. He also mentioned his brother, Nikki, who had been on the phone to him throughout each workout enabling him to give ‘shoutouts’ to children and families working out each day across the world.

It was really heartening to hear him mentioning all these crucial people behind the scenes.

As we prepare to return to in-church worship this Sunday, there have been a lot of people working hard behind the scenes to make this possible. There has been a small ‘return to church’ team working their way through the 21 page government document that we have to comply with in order to keep everyone safe. We have had great expertise from those with a background in nursing and medicine, to those who have overseen or been involved in this process in the court service, to those with a knowledge of engineering and chemistry. The Select Vestry, as our trustees, has ensured a risk assessment has been carried out and an infrastructure has been created, which includes an isolation room in the event of anyone becoming unwell and a designated medical person who will attend to someone who might become unwell.

A team of stewards and cleaners have volunteered and been trained and, if you would like to be involved in those tasks, please let me know by emailing jonopierce@btinternet.com. You could email that same email if you would like to be involved in the technology team who will be operating our PowerPoint and webcam and ensuring we can follow the liturgy in the absence of books and hymn books .

Throughout lockdown, another technical team has been involved weekly in editing recorded services and posting them to our church website and Facebook page. I have received assistance twice a week in editing, sourcing photographs and posting this blog. There has also been the setting up and administering of the very successful dial in service which enables people to phone in from their home phone or mobile if they do not have internet access.

The office has been busy on all our behalf sourcing prayers and devotional materials for our monthly magazine and posting it out to those who don’t have facilities to download it on the internet.

A huge team has also been involved in phoning parishioners regularly to check if they are ok or have needed assistance with shopping or prescriptions. It’s only in the past few weeks, as I’ve been allowed to visit people’s homes, I have heard of just how valuable this has been. A woman told me how supportive her phoner has been, phoning two or three times a week during a stressful time for her family and, while they have never met in person, she spoke of the huge difference his calls have made to her. There are many other such stories to be told.

Our secretary and treasurer have kept on top of so much administration, processing correspondence, paying bills. Our grounds and the Garden of Remembrance have been looked after magnificently, as you will see if you can come on Sunday, and our glebe wardens have attended to items of concern in the church building, the church hall, the rectory and the curatage.

Throughout lockdown, our Sunday school has met regularly over Zoom, and those who manage our website and Facebook page are constantly sourcing materials for all ages that may be of help and encouragement spiritually.

In a time of bereavement and loss for many families, the wider church family has come alongside in practical ways while socially distancing. Sometimes it has been letters and cards, sometimes it has been dinners left on the doorstep, but how crucially important are all the behind the scenes people in our church.

The choir and music group have stayed in touch and, while we are not currently permitted to sing together in public worship, they have been keeping in good voice and also supporting one another and looking forward to leading our worship again when that is permitted.

There is another group, also, who have been meeting regularly over Zoom. The parish prayer meeting has happened on Thursdays and has been praying for all these aspects of parish life and, indeed, praying for our missionary links and those further afield. I am constantly humbled when I phone people to hear people say, “We have been praying for you and for your family all through this season. We pray for you every night.”

So, as we encourage those who can come to church at 11 am or 7 pm on Sunday to come early to complete the processes, let’s give thanks for all the background people who are helping to make it happen. Maybe this is a good opportunity to think of the behind the scenes people in your life? Who are they? What do they do for you? I think today of people like my family. I think of our childminder. I think of our children’s teachers. I think of our chemists who supply all our daughters prescriptions. I think of the climbing centre that posted workouts for our son twice a week during lockdown before reopening and spoke with him over Zoom each week.

We will all have different behind the scenes people and the church has more than most. It takes a whole host of people to make things happen and, as you think of your behind the scenes people, pray for them. Give thanks to God for them and for what they do for you. Ask God to pour out His blessing upon them.

St. Paul puts it like this in Ephesians 6 verse 18, ‘Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.’

As our services recommence on Sunday, and it becomes possible to begin visiting in people’s homes again, there will be one blog a week going forward and we thank everyone who has been so encouraging about them.

Look forward to speaking again soon.

Much love to everyone,

Jono.