So we are nearing the third Sunday of lockdown…. For some, things will be beginning to settle into a familiar routine, while for others they are very much in the ‘getting there’ phase! Some will be energised by the creativity that this has produced, while differing personalities and gift sets may be struggling more. It IS a steep learning curve! Let us continually hold one another in prayer that each might find a contentment in the way they minister at this point. I reiterate what I said last week – well done!!
I was struck by something I caught online from someone I don’t know called Billy Kennedy (a minister in the Pioneer network I think), who commented: “My temptation in the first few weeks of this crisis [and it’s what I’m seeing most others in my position doing] was to take responsibility for my family, church, wider community, city and the nation! I saw it is an opportunity for the church to shine. So, we were planning community groups, live streaming, daily devotionals online, serving those in our immediate community and trying to keep everyone connected. After four days I was exhausted. I was trying to hold on to everything that I knew and was afraid to embrace the uncertainty of what lay ahead. I had to let go, pull back and embrace this new season.”
I thought he named something there – our natural response can be towards activism and to believe everything rests with us. It doesn’t. Many of you have now set up effective ways of working and keeping the community together that are context specific. Each one should be rightly proud of what has been achieved. But we may do well to recognise, as has been said, that this is likely to be a marathon, not a sprint, and we as leaders and ministers need to make sure we don’t burn out.
That is easier said than done, especially as we enter one of the two heaviest workload weeks of the year. I know that many of you are working very hard as you seek to find new ways to approach Holy Week in a context none of us has experienced before. But I also gently encourage you to find timefor you & God, to seek that still place, those quiet waters, where your souls can be restored. Meister Eckhart the 13th Century Mystic said “A person who wishes to begin a good life should be like a man who draws a circle. Let him get the centre in the right place and keep it so and the circumference will be good. In other words, let a man first learn to fix his heart on God and then his good deeds will have virtue....” May your efforts this coming week flow not just from human ingenuity, but most vitally from the deep well from which we all must drink.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT HERE IS A FAIRLY RANDOM COLLECTION OF ITEMS THAT MIGHT BE WORTH LOOKING AT (or not!)
CREATIVE CORNER It is great to see some of our number exploring their creative sides. My feeling is that this is an opportunity for an EXPLOSION of creativity in word, song, art, video …whatever. It would be great for this to be an opportunity to SHARE these things around the churches. Local songs rather than the mass produced, home made videos of Gospel readings, poetry from the people, raps, art for arts sake, photo’s … perhaps we could have an online gallery if someone knew how to host that? …. etc etc. Here are three examples from just this week. Let’s see if next week we can add some more
Maureen Hider“I have really enjoyed the extra time to put my ‘creative side’ into play!! Just for your interest I am attaching the two PowerPoint I have sent out so far - one from last week and another for this coming week. I am trying different ways of saving and sending to see what works best.” In the stillnesshttps://tinyurl.com/wk5n5nz & Ponder Anew (a prayer reflection)https://tinyurl.com/vb26m8e
Can I say I think that Baptists Together are doing a splendid job during this crisis. Credit to them and please pray for Lynn and the team as they seek to respond helpfully to an ever changing landscape.
Each Wednesday and Sunday at 7pm, Lynn Green is hosting a live prayer event that is gathering Baptists up and down the country. This is a great way to feel connected to the wider family at a time when many of us are isolated and under pressure. Please use this link to connect to the event www.baptist.org.uk/prayerbroadcasts
FUNERALS - Last e-news I raised the question of ministers’ experience of funerals. Martin Ceaser minister of Biggleswade BC commented “I did a funeral on Thursday. No contact personally with family beforehand. It was a burial. Coffin wheeled round to grave and lowered in before I could say or do anything. Five mourners. I gave a welcome, a prayer, a reading and a few short thoughts. Then read out some of their memories before holding a minute’s silence and then the words of Committal. One of the family had some music on mobile phone but the volume wasn’t great so we read Amazing Grace together before a final blessing. It really brought things into focus for me and I felt like I had hit a brick wall after keeping going for the last couple of weeks. To me it didn’t go so well but this morning one of the family rang and thanked me for making it meaningful for them.” This is going to be a challenge!It looks like there will be a BU Webinar – maybe next Wednesday 1pm on this topic. www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/338869/Webinars.aspx
Seer Green BC has pointed out the missuse of ZOOM re something that has been called ZOOM BOMBING. They comment as follows:
“This is the online equivalent of gate crashing a meeting and disrupting it. Anyone with the meeting ID anywhere in the world can come onto a Zoom meeting and there have been a few unfortunate cases of very unpleasant behaviour. If you search for Zoom bombing online you will find some of the news articles.
We don’t do all of these yet as there is a trade off between security and ease of use. However we do some of them like not allowing anyone other than the host to share, allowing the host to remove people from the meeting, not allowing file transfer in chat and a few others. If the risk gets greater than we will follow some of the other recommendations.
Anyway I hope that all this doesn’t get in the way for either you or us. We are being challenged to do church differently and its making us consider what is really important, which is good.”