August 2021 the Impact of Covid on St Mary’s

As with just about every other organisation we are just starting to pick up the pieces after the last eighteen months of total disruption from our normal life. When the Prime Minister said in February 2020 that we would ‘lose loved ones’ he was not wrong. Even now the virus is still taking lives and we are mindful that this is far from over. Our prayers continue for all who have suffered or are suffering as a result of this terrible pandemic.

At the time of writing this article we are working on how we are going to function as a congregation over the next six months. Up until now we have been operating a very tight ship in terms of two metre distancing, limited numbers, face masks, no singing, no communion wine and no coffee! Our online offerings have been well received and we will be continuing with Facebook morning prayer on Sundays. I am pleased to say that it has built up a considerable following including some viewers in the USA. Since January 2020 eighty articles and sermons have been posted on our website, getting over fourteen thousand views. Mandy holds the record on Facebook with a thousand views for a morning prayer service. Interestingly, we probably would never have gone digital in this way without the impetus of Covid-19. There is of course no substitute for meeting together in person and we hope to be opening up for more church-based meetings. Even using Zoom and WhatsApp we have really missed real face to face fellowship. Given our demographic this reopening will be conducted with caution and only after taking appropriate advice. We are hoping to be able to fully reinhabit the Cloisters as soon as we can and it will be a great joy to be able to sing in church again.

We have a lot of work to do in the process of reimagining church in the post pandemic world that we now inhabit. It will be different and church will probably never be the same as it has been in the past. We have many opportunities and challenges ahead of us, but we also have faith. As it says in the creed, ‘We believe in One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ He is the one who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.

Rev. Dr Christopher Noble – Rector
St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo