Caring for one another in the new normal

 1 August 2021 |

This is the ‘new normal’. The URC is aware that the government will soon be issuing a statement about how we can behave from the 19th July and have released a new set of guidelines for its churches. It will be available on the URC’s website in the next few days, but I thought it was worth mentioning in the mini mag. The document begins:

We remind churches of the Great Commandments: to love God with our whole being and love our neighbour as we love ourselves. All our actions must therefore be aimed at glorifying God and showing continuing care for others. We cannot cast off all restraint and still fulfil those commandments. It is therefore fully appropriate for us to continue some of the practices with which we have become familiar.

We all want to get back to how things were before Covid but the document reminds us all of our responsibilities and informs the elders’ meeting to continue reflecting on ways to ensure everyone who comes into our buildings is safe: reviewing the risk assessment regularly and the points raised actioned consistently; ensuring that issues around face coverings, regular handwashing and social distancing are discussed. We need to remember at all times those who remain clinically vulnerable or anxious and make sure we know what measures we might put in place for them – hybrid worship, separate services where current restrictions are maintained, “safer zones” in church (with social distancing and face coverings), or something else?

The URC believes hymn singing will be allowed although there is evidence to suggest that it increases the risk of the virus to vulnerable adults and young people, especially if good ventilation is not possible. We hope to welcome new people into our services in the coming weeks and, as we do not necessarily know if they are vulnerable, we will need to take extreme care to make them welcome and not give them cause to be anxious.

These are some of the practical issues facing us all as the restrictions are eased. It would be a disaster if some of our older members became ill because we have rushed to throw off the restrictions without due care. I hope we will all take responsibility for one another and look after those who are vulnerable, as is our Christian duty.

Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)