Often when parishioners are having a hard time I will end by saying something like, “Hang in there, keep the faith, and breathe!”
Now I am wondering if in these unusual and uncertain times I should simply be saying, “Take a deep breath and pray. “
That’s what I say to myself often these days. It is not a time to panic, but it is a time to be prudent and prepared. We are in uncharted water. Leadership in faith communities, educational institutions, hospitals, government, and our local community face difficult choices about how to address the complex challenges that the COVID-19, corona virus brings. Please pray for wisdom and courage.
Our anxiety rises with the spread of the corona virus and we worry. We are concerned about the impact of this disease on healthcare workers, vulnerable adults, the physically fragile, and the livelihoods of people. Our world feels uncertain, and it grows smaller, lonelier as we follow health protocols, practice social distancing, engage in self-isolation, and exercise necessary quarantine measures. I also want to acknowledge that we all have things we are grieving, large and small, life-altering or inconvenient. It all feels uncertain and unsettling.
Take a deep breath and pray.
In these uncertain times, we can, at this moment, recognise how connected we are to one another – a body of many members. Do you recall the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:26 when he says, “If one member suffers, we all suffer together…”? This realisation shapes our actions in ways that foster goodness and compassion to expand our caring networks. Another realisation is our faith community isn’t found in a building but grounded in the love of God found in Jesus Christ. So, even though we can’t gather in-person, we will discover new ways to worship and minister together.
To that end, we are working to have an online worship Service available as soon as we can – we can’t worship in-person, but we can worship in Spirit from our collective homes. Information will be placed on our website (www.springfieldcambridge.org.uk). You can expect a short worship Service with prayer, Scripture, and a message. I look forward to worshipping with you, and yes, there may be some funny, perhaps awkward moments as we learn how to worship in this new way. I hope we will be able to add music and additional elements to our online worship experience in the coming weeks.
With the help of the Kirk Session, I hope to set up small caring groups. These groups will stay in phone contact to share words of care and encouragement and let me know about concerns or needs. We also are starting conversations about safe ways to deliver needed groceries or medicine to church members or neighbours.
The circumstances around this pandemic are ever-evolving. We have not been through anything like this before. We will need your help along the way, please – the way forward will take all of us.
Since I can’t physically be with you on Sundays, in your home, nursing homes, hospitals, etc., I will try and communicate with you more frequently through email messages, newsletters, our website, and other social media platforms – keeping Springfield Cambridge’s community connected.
· Based on the current recommendations of the Church Offices at 121 George Street, Edinburgh, the Church building is open Monday – Friday from 9am -1pm, as is normally the case, to provide a place for people to come and pray, if they wish and this is permissible, subject to all visitors observing robust hand hygiene.
· Worship Services are suspended until further notice. Limitations relating to Weddings and Funerals are likely to be applied in the near future, but this is an ever fast changing picture.
· Payment for all staff and steps for their health and safety will continue.
· Our Church membership is encouraged to continue to support Springfield Cambridge with their giving and offerings by mail or ideally standing order.
So, please take a deep breath with me and pray and act as though you bear the love of Christ into the world for others—because you do.
Rev. Ian Taylor.