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At the time of writing this letter it is unknown when and how we can resume church services, activities, gatherings and let out the premises again. It needs careful deliberation and wise planning to adapt to the government’s and the URC’s “New Normal”. How could we comply with social distancing, rigorous cleaning regimes after each gathering, keep services without singing, hugging, handshaking, fellowship without tea, coffee and biscuits? These are important questions. Because of their complexity and the difficulty of the situation the Elders have decided not to reopen the Church for at least another month. Although 4th July is a sort of “Independence Day” for Britain, it is still a sort of. Science often clashes with the economy regarding what is safe to do and what is not profitable to do. Your safety is paramount for us Elders and Minister. In addition, it seems we need to use our common sense to manage everyday and church life in our community, which consists mostly of people aged over 70. Using our common sense, however, is not a bad thing. Contrary, it is one of the good things that Covid-19 gave us. There are many (please think of the positive effect of the lock down on the environment e.g.).

Another good thing that has come out of this strange, unusual (partial) lock down is that our fellowship has strengthened over the last few months. It is valued greatly in our temporarily isolated existence and we long to be together again. In our prayers, emails, telephone conversations or at occasional meetings (with strict social distancing) we keep repeating: We Will Meet Again. As the beautiful song “We Will Meet” by John Bell from the Iona Community goes (please note we have included the whole song in this Connect, as it gives lots of food for thought for our fellowship, and you can try to sing it at home), We will meet; when the danger is over, we will meet when the sad days are done… Until then may we always discover faith and love to determine our way. That’s our hope and God’s will and our calling for our lives and for every new day. May we always discover faith and love to determine our way… May the love of God, our fellowship with the Holy Spirit and each other, our love for the church and for the life that God gave us to enjoy (certainly the good weather over the last 3-4 months has helped us to enjoy nature, garden activities, outside daily exercise) keep us going until we meet again safely.

May we rediscover faith can and will keep us from dangers that are even bigger than Coronavirus and keep us in spiritual relationship with God as we journey through these difficult times with courage and optimism. May we discover what Church really is, the strength of our fellowship when some of us need our continuous prayer support in their illnesses. May we rediscover the joy of worship we long to have again. When we meet again our differences will not matter much any more as we unite in Christ and enjoy the fellowship of the believers. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1). This fellowship is truly a gift!

Love and prayers, John